Y'all, I Love My Friends

I spent a lot of this weekend writing out thank you's to the many people who have been blessing Kyle and I with gifts for our little girl. Most of them were women, because, well, that's who came to my baby showers. 

Anyway, it got me thinking how amazing and beautiful these women are; and how it'd be crazy if I was friends with one of them, but how really it's the grace of God that I count myself friends with all of them. 

Maybe this is a Southern thing, or a Christian bubble thing, or a Southern Christian bubble thing, but it seems people are often nervous to talk about facets of their lives that are actually pretty freaking sweet, because they don't want to make other people feel bad who may not be in the same place. 

Which is a good and sensitive thing, but I wonder if it also keeps us from really reveling in specific areas that God has blessed us in. It all comes down to approach, I'm sure. 

Like me being clear that I haven't done anything, really, at all, to deserve a community of women like the one I have - especially if you knew more about my backstory; and that I know many women who do deserve one, but don't have one, and I don't really understand why. So the biggest reason I felt compelled to write anything down was because this huge wave of absolute gratefulness hit me - that God's given me this circle of women for this season. 

A circle of women that I feel safe enough with to cry in front of (like, rage-cry), or make inappropriate jokes with, or be angry about something that I probably shouldn't be but am anyway, and I know they won't jump on my bandwagon but they won't make me feel like a jerk either. 

That I can talk about the hard parts of my marriage with, and I know they know my husband and they know I love him even if there are days you wonder, you know, how "forever" is going to happen. And they listen and nod and encourage and send me back to Kyle with a heart full of hope and not resentment. 

That I can vent about how hard motherhood is, and (again) they listen and nod and encourage and know that I love Z even if there are days you wonder, you know, how raising a healthy human being to adulthood is going to happen. And they send me back into the trenches of raising little ones with joy and not bitterness or boredom. 

A circle of women that are at different stages in life, and have walked different paths in life, and each have their own Jesus-story. Being able to watch each of them love Him, and maybe even more so watching Him love each of them, has taught me more about how wide and how long and how high and how deep the love of Christ is than any amount of sermons or books could. 

It hasn't always been scented candles and soft laughter over coffee mugs, mind you. There's been sharp points meeting vulnerable spots and apologies needed and misunderstandings cleared. But these women, they're willing to work hard at friendship and community and connections that are deeper then a quick smile and nod as we pass each other on Sunday morning. 

Because what motivates them is much deeper then a mere sense of sisterhood. 

It's Christ. Christ, who exists in a constant state of community, and therefore as His followers the need for deep connection echoes through our souls. 

These women, I've seen them do it many times, roll up their sleeves and head into the scary world of female friendships, ready to fight for each other. I've had the privilege of watching them on the front lines for several years, and let me assure you that no battlefield can wound like the one of friendship with women. The risk is great, yet they continue. 

And so, I am thankful for these women who have walked before me in marriage, motherhood, ministry, and life, the women I can look at and ask, "How did you make it through?"; and the women who are walking behind me, who I can look at and say, "Come! Be brave, follow Christ, and let us help you as sisters." 

And I soak in each day I have to walk alongside them. 


Every Day Revival

This past Sunday my friend Sarah spoke about revival, and it was good.

Because when you grow up in the church, sometimes all you can really picture when people talk about revival is huge stadiums of people singing worship songs and dedicating their lives to Jesus and crying a lot.

Which isn't a bad thing, necessarily, but it's not an every-day-life sort of thing, either.

She spoke about revival, but more specifically about how revival is really all about bringing about life, again.

And she talked about how sometimes, we lose things - life-giving things - in our every-day. Because of fear, or tragedy, or hopelessness, or maybe even just the painfully average wear that certain seasons can bring.

So we need Jesus to revive these things, things we thought long dead. To send a second wind of the Spirit, if you will, raising our Lazarus hopes when we had counted Him too little, too late.

This kind of revival requires an unnatural amount of trust though, doesn't it? In this sort of revival we wait for Christ to restore and renew hopes with the knowledge that it may not happen for a good, long time. Indeed, maybe not even before He restores and renews all things.

But our hope is that it will happen. Revival will come. Whether it's like a blazing fire or a burning coal - we will be renewed.

I'm learning to stand by the empty tombs in my life, and rejoice in the hopes and dreams Christ has revived.

And while waiting by stones still rolled shut, to remember that no matter what happens, the one I needed rolled away the most was the first He took care of. 


Weekly Favorites

Happy Saturday. 

In Texas, or at least our small corner of Texas, it might be the perfect fall day. The pumpkin on our front porch finally feels appropriate, as did the scarf I wore today. 

Validly wearing a scarf is a very sweet feeling. Not being able to wear my boots because I no longer fit into my skinny jeans is not. 

But do you know what's more important than that? 

Pretty much everything. 

Here's a list of my favorites from this week: 

In books/writings: 

>> The Story of Christian Theology. I have been reading it for eternity awhile, but the fact that I haven't given up on it yet should testify to how good it is. If you like church history or philosophy or are a Christian and enjoy understanding why you believe what you believe, I highly recommend it. 

>> Loving Your Kids on Purpose. I was dreading the day Z hit the age where my husband and I would have to figure out how we were going to approach discipline. It has arrived. Quickly and in full force. We had our first time out today, in fact, by 8:15 in the morning. I've really appreciated (from what I've read so far) this book's perspective on the subject. 

>> [[This interview]] Make sure you read through the whole thing, and click the link to get to the second part of the interview. There's a reason he's one of my all time favorite authors. 

>> [[What if G.K. Chesterton edited your writing?]] A little nerd-humor for your Saturday. 


In Pregnancy: 

>> Chick-fil-a. It is very near to my heart right now. I am talking myself down from waffle fries and sweet tea at least once a day. 

>> Cooked vegetables. Very similar to when I was pregnant with Z, pretty much any vegetable sauteed in olive oil/butter and sprinkled with salt sounds like a dream. I understand this is not as ideal as eating them raw, but (again, also similar to Z's pregnancy) raw vegetables make my stomach and heart sad right now. 

>> Milk. Especially with chocolate chip cookies. 

>> Working Out. "Favorite" might be too strong a word, but I'm enjoying it, at least. Specifically, weight-lifting. Yes, you read that correctly. My husband and I lift weights about three times a week. Having been through labor once, I now understand the importance of building up the endurance of a Titan, particularly in squats and leg presses.  

In my relationship with Jesus: 

>> The Gospel of John. 

All the time I need to be reminded of Jesus. All the time. 

I used to be under the impression that Jesus was an addendum to my life, that I was thankful for but didn't, necessarily, think about all that much - like a safety net or something that existed to catch me during the really hard bits of life - meanwhile I go on living in a way that is largely independent of Him. 

However, I understand - a little bit more, at least - that signing up for Christianity kind of ruins your chances of living any kind of independent life; because, once you surrender your life to Christ, He's the only shot at really living that you've got. 

Which is nice, because as it turns out surrendering your life to anything else kind of leads to not really living. 

Anyway, John. John brings Jesus to the forefront of my heart and mind. When I read John I feel the presence of Jesus as close as my own skin. 


That's it for this week. Anything you've been particularly fond of lately? 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!