First of all, before I begin, I need to apologize to my friends for being absent this summer. Not only have I been busy with my kids' numerous activities (especially in the evenings), but my sister and her family to Ohio on July 17th. Any free time that I had was spent with them (pool time, Great America, Raging Waves). Pretty much all my free time went to my family. I have missed my friends and look forward to spending more time with them soon.
In past posts, I've mentioned how I struggle with friendships. I want to write about the friends that have had an amazing impact on my life.
1. Lauren and I became friends when she moved to my school in 8th grade. We connected immediately and enjoyed years of singing together, roaming the halls, sleepovers, etc. In high school, our nicknames were Fire (Lauren) and Ice (me). We lost touch some through college, but God works in amazing ways. We reconnected and have been stronger friends since. She is my "kindred spirit" and a sister to me.
Lauren is an inspiration to me and a constant encouragement. She has endured more physical, spiritual, and emotional trials than anyone I know, but her love for Jesus constantly shines through her crazy. I can tell her anything and trust her completely. We have walked together through medical trials, adoptions, death, job changes, marriages, etc. I am so thankful to God for blessing me with such an amazing friend. AND, today is her birthday!!! 23 years of friendship and counting.
2. Brooke and I met at Wheaton College and became friends right away our freshman year. We were roommates our Junior and Senior years. Brooke has a sweet, loving personality and cares passionately for others. Her honesty with me is amazing and she has never been afraid to call me out when I am being a jerk. Even through her struggles, she has a quiet strength that comes only from God and inspires me daily.
This past year, Brooke took inventory of her life, and realized that she has been pushing herself too hard and it was affecting her health. While the world tells us to always be busy, she has decided to take a step back and focus on what is most important -- her faith and her family -- in order to revive herself. I am SO proud of her. It's been six years (way too long) since we last saw each other (she lives in Texas) and I miss her all the time. 18 years of friendship and counting.
3. Debbie and I became friends when my family moved to Illinois and starting attending Naperville Presbyterian Church back in 1985. Yes, we have been friends for 30 years! Our friendship has been through elementary school, junior high (Yikes!), summer camps, high school, college, and adulthood. Our friendship may look different now, but I still hold her dear to my heart. She was always a constant for me over the years and I love when we are able to get together and catch up.
Debbie was my partner in crime throughout our school years and I treasure her always. She is full of life, an amazing dancer, and always a blast to be around. I look forward to the next time she is in town and we can get our kids together to play and talk.
4. Before he was my husband, Walter was my best friend (he still is). From the beginning, I have always been completely real and honest with him...and he has accepted me, listened to me, cared for me, and loved me. To this day, there is no one else I would rather spend my time with and I love just hanging with him, watching sports, talking sports, talking life, etc.
He is an amazing friend, husband, father, and man of God. He has shown me Christ and God's grace throughout our relationship. I am a better person because of him and have grown so much as a person and as a Christian. I am so blessed to call him my husband.
There are numerous other friends who have impacted my life, in the past and now. I don't have the time and space to write about all of them, but know that you are loved. It's easy for me to focus on the ways I have been hurt and write about the struggle (which is real), but I don't want to forget the positive friendships and the amazing people God has placed in my life. I am blessed.