Happy Tuesday, friends. I thought I'd make today all about friends.
When I was younger, I always struggled with friends. As a kid, I didn't have this problem, but as I grew into a teenager I quickly became aware of how mean girls could be—so I started hanging out with boys. I've always been drawn to them, I guess and maybe that started when I was a teenager. (Maybe this is why the Lord Jesus saw fit to make me a boys only mom.) I did have friends in high school, but I was also hurt by several of my closest friends and it seemed I was always the only one who contributed to the relationship, so for those years it seemed I didn't hold on to any particular friend. I went to a Christian school, but I mostly hung out with people from church and that is where I met my husband.
I shared all that to say this—the Lord has more than made up for the lack of friends I had as a teenager and I feel that He restored to me what was lost in friends: an abundance of them and the lack of trust I used to have in women. He has given me the greatest friends, so I thought I'd share about a few of them—I will try hard not to leave any one out.
I'll start with church friends. All of my life, I have known and loved my oldest and dearest friend, Stacy. Her birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I sent her these pictures on social media.
We always went trick or treating together and one year I was the clown and she was a baby. This bottom picture of us is at my birthday at my dad's house, she was always right there beside me.
We did grow apart a bit as we grew older, but not completely and we always kept in touch. We keep in touch today even and I was sending her snapchats a couple of weekends ago when I was in Nashville.
Another friend from church was Mandy. She moved here with her family from Georgia when we were in middle school and she quickly grew into my favorite person. We did lose touch when they moved back, but I went to visit her several times and about twelve years ago, she moved back here with her family and all my middle school dreams came true again. We quickly picked up where we had left off. I am sad to say that they moved and I haven't talked to her in at least two years, but I knew if I called her right now, we would just pick right back up. I adore her and her family and her daughter lives here now with her husband.
There was also my friend Phaedra. I think she came to our church after Mandy moved and she moved here from somewhere up north. We were at a church potluck one night and this lady asked Phaedra who she was kin to—and Phae had to ask me who Ken was. 😂 We were friends in high school, but we grew apart once I changed to a different church. We talk these days through social media and she's a farmer girl! I love social media for this reason.
There was Elizabeth from my school who was my best friend for a while. She went on church trips with me and introduced me to the world of haute couture. I will say this about my friend EB—as girls are, we were terrible to one another in high school and lost touch, but she accomplished every single thing she ever said she would do. She always said she would move to New York after high school and work in fashion and guess what? She did every bit of that. She is a brilliant and talented fashion designer and has lived all over the world. These days she calls San Francisco home and she resides there with her husband and daughter. We "talk" on social media. Also, we did apologize for our ridiculous behavior as high schoolers and I can honestly say that we genuinely love each other and seeing each other's families on social media. I'd love to see her in person someday and for our families to meet.
There were my supper club girls— Rene, Tammy and Lisa, from our old church. We went to a bunco party one night and weren't all that impressed, so we started up our own supper club and started meeting for girls night out once a month. I still love them all and two of them have kids getting married this coming year! I last saw them over a year and a half ago, but we're do for another girls night! Rene, Lisa and I all have kids who grew up together. Tammy's daughter is younger than mine and Lisa's kids.
There's Marcia and Brad, whom Todd and I still consider our best friends. We went to church with them and our kids grew up together there and we always went to their house for game nights. Sunday night church usually ended with us at Taco Bell together and when Todd and I went to Iceland, they were our people who would have taken our kids if anything had happened to us. Marcia and I used to have a Christmas cooking day every year—though we don't see them often, we know that we will always be the best of friends and we will always pick right back up where we left off. One of these days, we WILL go glamping with them in their camper. They asked us to a while back, but we couldn't make it work because of church commitments we had already made. We scheduled a rain check with them, so maybe this spring we can do that. They were the first people we ever camped with, which leads me to my next best friend.
Katie and Travis lived next door to us and our kids grew up together. The golden years were the years that we lived next door to one another and a path was worn from our house to theirs. If we weren't there, they were here. We swam together, ate dinners together weekly, played cards together every single weekend and we were closer than friends—we were FAMILY. We camped with them several times and we have memories to last a lifetime. The day they moved to somewhere near Nashville was one of the worst days of my life and Katie and I couldn't even say goodbye to each other. We just hugged and smiled and walked away. We do see each other occasionally, but never often enough. We text pretty often, which is better than nothing at all and we still love one another.
There was Tarin, who was my prayer warrior and partner and who taught me how to pray Scripture. Our sons Drew and Canon were best friends, but Tarin lost her second battle to cancer and is with Jesus now. Tarin is my friend who literally drug me to her church to hear Priscilla Shirer one weekend at a free event. I am so glad she relentlessly persued me about going, it was one of the best weekends ever, and one I'll never forget. We were very close for a time and she helped a few of us local moms start a prayer group at our kids' schools. That was born out of a tragedy—my friend Sharon (who was a first grade teacher at my kids' school and the same school I worked at for years) tragically lost two of her three sons in a plane accident in Florida and we met to pray for her in the parking lot at school often. Moms in Touch (now called Moms in Prayer) came from that tragedy and that's how I became friends with Tarin. I am telling you, if you want to grow close to someone, pray with them. I have several relationships like that today that were born out of a prayer partner friendship.
There was Kari, who felt like my sister from Bible study. She was in my small group at Renewed Moms for a few years and for a time, our kids were either at her house or hers were at my house. When we stopped going, we lost touch, but I always loved her and we knew we would be there for one another in seconds, should we need something. She is my friend who dropped off a giant stock pot of her chicken noodle soup when the six of us were stuck at home with the flu, and I am one of the only ones with her recipe. She was known for her cooking and once when we were taking dishes to our car after Bible study, she told Drew, "Drew, don't break that dish. It's my favorite." Famous last words—he took the dish out and what do you think happened? It slipped out of his hands and shattered in a million fragments. We were cleaning up glass with brooms and on our knees in the parking lot at that church for what felt like hours! I'm smiling as I write that. I loved her, even when she sometimes intimidated me. I am thankful for how she encouraged me to homeschool ALL FOUR of the boys. She grabbed my face between her hands one morning at Bible study and told me, "Jennifer, you pull those babies out of that middle school and you bring them home for school and to this Bible study." I did, we did, but she affirmed and encouraged me. She was my friend who shared her gift of exhortation and who taught me to do the same, because it's one of my top three spiritual gifts (faith, exhortation/encouragement, discernment). I am so thankful for the gift she was to me from the Lord Jesus.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day she died two years ago. I have such comfort knowing that both she and Tarin are with Jesus.
There is Andrea, the sister of my heart that I met at the same Bible study years ago. She has helped me in my homeschooling journey and though we both stopped attending that Bible study, she and I meet once a month. She is one of my best friends on this earth and when I know I'm going to see her, I am always so excited.
We're going to call ourselves the covid sisters now, because we both got it right after this picture was taken. I'm rolling my eyes. I got sick with it the next day and she got sick two days after that. We're not sure who gave it to whom, but it doesn't matter, we're fine now and we still love each other. We will see each other again in January, when things have settled down after the crazy of the holidays.
There is my Missy. The good Lord knew that I needed a Missy and that she needed a Jen.