Two of my favorite people in the world had birthdays this week.
Here are 6 things I learned from my two pals:
1. Faithfulness in the details matters
My friend Rachael is a mom of three crazy boys, (I’ve written about Ben, the middle kiddo, before). Here’s what I know from watching her life: motherhood is hard. But, if the heart is faithful, there is glory in every detail.
From her, I’ve learned to set my hand at whatever is in front of me and trust that eternal significance is found in faithfulness.
The task may seem mundane, but the radical life I long for is found in faithfulness in those details.
2. Be a freedom friend
The first time I heard the phrase ‘freedom friends’ from Theresa I was baffled, but I gotta tell you, there are few things I love as much as the concept of freedom friends.
Freedom friends means that we trust each other.
When I forget to respond to a text or cancel a lunch date, Theresa doesn’t read into it. She trusts our friendship is good unless I say otherwise.
I sat her down the week before we were set to lead 20 women to Italy and London together and with tears coming down my cheeks I told her I didn’t know if I could go. My dad was dying and my world was falling apart and she looked me in the eye and told me that we would do whatever I needed.
When we landed together in London and I heard the news that my dad had died, she sat with me while I cried and then got me on the first train to my sister’s house. Never once did she consider the cost to her; the burden it would be on her leadership.
She comes to our friendship to give, not to take. That kind of freedom is only possible with someone who finds their security in Christ.
3. Seeking to understand is better than seeking to be understood
I’m not a great question asker, but both of these two gals are. When they sit down with someone their instinct is to assume don’t have all the information. They ask questions. They seek to understand.
My instinct is to assume that I have someone pegged the minute we start talking. I use questions as an opportunity to try to get them to understand what I think is going on.
From these two I’ve learned that I want my default in every conversation to be humility: assuming that there is more going on than I know and seeking to understand rather than seeking to be understood.
4. Trusting your community is hard and necessary.
These women aren’t perfect. They feel anxiety. They experience sin. They fail. But they have mastered one great tool in the fight: linking arms with godly people and trusting them.
When sin and emotion takes over, it’s really hard to tell up from down, and in those moments when they know they can’t see clearly – they look at me and they ask me to help them navigate what’s going on. Even if the council I give makes them uncomfortable and anxious – as long as it’s biblical – they trust my discernment over theirs.
From them I’ve learned that trusting community means trusting them even – or maybe especially – when you don’t agree.
5. Relationships take work.
These gals fight for relationships. They are intentional. They don’t bank on an organic connection.
I have been friends with Rachael for 8 years. I have been friends with Theresa for 5. Both friendships exist and have endured because they are willing to work hard at relationships.
Theresa pursued me when I was in a dark spot. Our friendship wasn’t organic; the rhythms of our lives didn’t natural align. She was getting married and I was falling apart, but she kept working for the fruit that we have now: the sweetest partnership in ministry I’ve experienced and one of the greatest friendships I’ve known.
Rachael made decisions for her life – intentional ones – in hope and trust that our friendship would grow.
After meeting me once or twice, she made the decision to move near to my apartment. She chose to invest in our friendship in the same way I watch her invest in her marriage, and her kids. Her investment doesn’t ebb and flow based on season of life, convenience or even emotion. She’s set her mind to be my friend and she does it faithfully and gloriously.
And thank God she does. Because God has persevered me through her.
Happy birthday my friends.
I think it is the sweetest kindness that when God set to designing our days He ordained them to intersect the way He has.