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my friend emily’s guest room was featured on ApartmentTherapy.com.  check it out when you have a minute. she’s so crafty!

you can see more of her fabulous talent at her blog industrious emily endeavors. so proud of you em :-)

i was so grateful yesterday and still am today for my friend colleen. her loving husband told her he was taking her out to dinner for her b-day but didn’t tell her that we would all be there. it was wonderful to get to celebrate with her :-)

i love how God works. the same night friends of my donated their extra queen bed to me for my second bedroom, i got a voicemail from a friend who needed  place to stay in june.

so, this made me happy this weekend:

why? because my fabulous friend heather will be sleeping in this room in my house for the next few weeks. hence the title house friend. she’s not really a house guest as she’s such a wonderful woman of faith and has been such a blessing to me. she’s not really a guest, she’s quite a bit more and i can’t wait for her to get here and enjoy some quality girl time–something we haven’t had in quite a few years.

truly praising God for the blessing of beautiful friendships :-)

last weekend peter and i were in NYC for my friend’s wedding and then headed to my parents’ house for the remainder of the weekend. more photos from the wedding to come, but thought i’d share this one of the girls from my school days (minus the bride who was busy taking pics with her groom and family). we took pics in central park, pretty stinkin’ cool!

some small town norman rockwell-esque photos. it’s such a cute little town :-)

my sis and her cute little fam :-)

a little tribute to the ladies i’ll be spending the first part of this weekend with. oh the memories!!

today i choose JOY because at the end of the week i’m going to be with my girls that i’ve been friends with since elementary school. erin (second from right) is getting married and we all are standing in her wedding. the photo below was taken at laura’s bridal shower two years ago. no matter the distance, we seem to stick together. we have to try to set-up phone dates to keep in touch, and when we’re traveling near each other we’re quick to make sure we see one another, even if it’s just a 24 hour business trip. i love these ladies. and i know the Lord has kept us all in touch over these years for a purpose.

can’t wait to see them! love you girls :-)

i have a best friend. yes. i have A best friend. it sounds silly to be 30 years old and mention a friend like i might have when i was 5 and on the playground. but it’s true, i have a best friend. i love all my friends and they stand out each on their own with something beautiful in their own rights, but this best friend is special. i don’t know how to explain her or our relationship. it’s been through a lot the past year and as we embark on different seasons it’s hard to navigate the new course we’re on. but one thing will never change, she’s my best friend.

i heard this song for the first time a few years ago. i thought christy nockels was singing about her husband. my best friend told me christy wrote the song about her very best friend. i didn’t understand how someone could write something like that about a friend, at least back then i didn’t. now i know though. i have a best friend whom i could have written this song about.

if you don’t have a friend like this, i pray the Lord will bring you one. love you shell.

Something brought you to my mind today
I thought about the funny ways
you make me laugh
And yet I feel like it’s ok to cry with you
Something about just being with you
When I leave I feel like I’ve been with God
and that’s the way it ought to be, yeah

Chorus:
Cause you’ve been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies for me
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you’ll never know what it means to me
just to know you’ve been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah

You had faith
when I had none
You prayed God would bring me a brand new song
When I didn’t think I could find the strength to sing
and all the while I’ve been hoping that I’ll
do the kind of praying for you that you’ve done for me
and that’s the way it ought to be, yeah

Chorus

You have carried me
You have taken on a burden
that wasn’t your own, yeah
may that blessing return to you
A hundredfold
oh oh yeah, a hundredfold

Chorus:
Cause you’ve been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies
cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you’ll never know what it means to me
just to know you’ve been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah, more than you’ll ever know
Yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you’ll ever know.

(Watermark – More than You’ll Ever Know)

today I have a super simple but wonderful post. I’m choosing joy because I have the privilege of hanging out with two very dear friends tonight, one of which is from out of town. there is something so sweet and precious when you find friends you can be yourself with but who won’t let you stay that way, if you know what i mean ;-)

proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

colleen and heather, beautiful, godly women that i get to call my friends! (i wonder if they’ll care that i posted their pics… hmm… i think they both look gorgeous in these photos so i hope they don’t mind!)

a friend sent me this verse to encourage me yesterday:

proverbs 31:25: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

and boy did it encourage me!

proverbs 15:23 says: A man finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!

amen!

and then this morning, in His own gentle way, the Lord spoke to my spirit while i was getting ready for work and He literally made me laugh. how sweet is our Lord that He would meet me in such a mundane/routine task and make me laugh.

if you’re reading this blog, have you ever experienced something like that?

i’ve been a huge advocate for titus 2 ministry (let the older women teach the younger women) yet i never really found myself in a place where i’ve seen it in full motion like i did this past weekend. it began friday when i met with a wise and wonderful woman from my church for lunch. she spoke into my life in such a way that only God could make happen. she didn’t judge me or my situation, she just listened, smiled at me as i talked – i could see it in her eyes, that “i know exactly where you are kiddo” look. and she did. she’s been there, done that, has lived to talk about it and is ready to equip me so i don’t have to make mistakes i might have if i were to “go it alone.” the peace and comfort i felt by the time our lunch ended was totally something that can only come from a God-ordained and anointed conversation.

it also encouraged me to see that one day, Lord willing, i will sit where she was and counsel a younger woman in my shoes. for now though, i am more than happy no, delighted really, to be on the receiving end. oh Lord, bring wisdom and courage my way :-)

then on saturday we had a women’s event at my church, the first of its kind we’ve ever done and it was powerful! we began with powerful worship and then my pastor’s wife brought a word and then gave her testimony. both were incredible! afterwards there was a time for women to pray with each other and for each other. i know God moved that day in many, many lives. we then had a time of Q&A with a panel of women in various seasons of life: single, married, single mom. there were so many questions and so much wisdom offered. it truly was a massive titus 2 event.

i am so grateful for the body of Christ, so grateful to be surrounded by such strong and courageous women of faith.

i’ve found there is nothing more beautiful and profound than God’s word. and perhaps the byrds knew that when they used the Bible for their lyrics. i wonder how many have heard their song and felt the draw to the living God…

today this is what the Lord has washed me with. a beautiful passage of scripture that speaks for itself.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

someone very dear to my heart wrote this to me today:

“i really believe that as we accept what He has in store for us in our lives, He can move mountains through us.  i know this well as i surrender more to Him each day.

do your best to walk and talk in the joy of the lord even as He works on you.  not covering up and hiding your feelings and battle but happy to be alive, your confidence will lift and others will know your grace as you battle.”

thank you Lord. that is my prayer :-)

i read this on my friend’s blog today: “we can’t be so focused on last year’s harvest that we forget to plant this year’s seed.” pretty spectacular. don’t have much to say since i’m chewing on this today.

That’s me. I’m an elf. I look around me and I see GIANTS. Massive, strong, solid GIANTS. And I’m an elf. Small, tiny, squeaky. This is how I feel most days. And it’s because I’ve been blessed with this incredible church that is filled with the super godly. I know we are all human and we all fall short of the glory of God. But I kid you not; I haven’t been many places in my short life as a Jesus-lover where there has been such a concentrated group of on-fire-for-Christ people.

This is a blessing. But my flesh and the enemy would have me believe it is a curse.

I’ve been battling this insecurity since the day I came to my church, which coincidentally is where I’ve met most of my amazingly godly girls. But the most recent battle showed me much of what I still need to learn and accept. We’re all different but created for a purpose and this will never be rooted in my heart until I understand just how much the Lord loves me. Jealousy rears its ugly head when I take my eyes off the Savior. Insecurity penetrates deep to my bones when I don’t dress in the armor of God, “forget” to hold my sword high and run instead of just stand.

I’m doing a study (by Beth Moore of course!) on love right now and learned something fascinating. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”

From the study: “Perfect love refers to love which is mature, not lacking boldness or confidence and therefore, not hampered by insecurity or anxiety which is characteristic of immature love.”

You see, I’m the administrative type (ooh, how I hate to even admit that). My brain operates in one mode most of the time, efficient. I know in and of itself it’s not a bad thing. I think of a list of places I need to go to run errands and immediately my brain puts it all in the proper order of how to get it done the fastest based on where I am currently located and where I would like to end up. It’s this weird gift/curse I’ve had since I was little. (Being the oldest of four girls might have a little something to do with it.)

So, often when it comes to ministry things I’m asked to help in areas where administration is needed. And I love to serve in that capacity but I also feel like, “is this it? Is this all I have to offer?” Because in my head administration is so not spiritual. For example, you need a woman to pray over you or with you, I’ve got a friend for that. You need a woman who will open the heavens with the way she leads worship, I’ve got a friend for that too. You need someone to love on you with the love of Christ, I have another friend for that. I could keep going but you get the point, Apple’s got an app, I’ve got friends :-)

Me. I’m practical (not spiritual) to a fault. Visionary (spiritual) I am not. But the Lord is trying to show me something, and if I would just get out of the way, I just might see it. He made me this way for His purposes and loves me just as I am. The visionary needs someone like me to figure out the logistics behind making the vision a reality. I don’t consider myself a prayer warrior, a worshipper or all that compassionate (all things I desire to become). My giftings are much more administrative and communication-oriented. I do have faith and usually it isn’t too hard for me to believe God for the impossible. But my flesh and the enemy would love for me to minimize all that I am and look at my sisters with eyes of envy, allow myself to remain in a state of immature love, living in insecurity.

So I am fighting these days to stay in the Spirit and out of the flesh; to not let that punk we call the enemy steal my love and respect for all the amazing and godly women He’s put in my life; and to truly grasp God’s love for me. This sounds utterly crazy to me, but I even made a list of all the things I am and have it taped to my bathroom mirror. It even includes things I don’t think I am quite yet, but that I know with the Lord’s power I will be. It’s actually really powerful (seriously, I feel like I should be that guy from SNL who looks in the mirror and says to himself, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough and dog gonnit people like me!”).

Okay, so I will conclude my random ramblings with this truth from God’s Word:

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me

and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;

you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake,

I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!

Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;

your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,

and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;

I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

A week or so ago I got this message on Facebook from a really good friend, it’s from the social interview application (I still don’t know how it works and I’m not going to find out).

The question it asked her was, “If Lindsey starred in a TV show, what would her character be like?”

My friend answered: “Adventurous, smart and a little mysterious!”

When I read it at first I thought, wow, that’s pretty cool! I’ve always wanted to be an adventurous person but never really considered myself one. I know I’m not smart but if she wants to think I am that’s totally cool. Mysterious? Really?

Hmm… I think I’ll sit on this for a little while longer.

and this is what happens when seminary students go awry :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFF8Mt7B8UM

i’ve been totally slacking on the blogging front so this post serves as my “this is what i’ve been up to” post for the month of may. Lord willing June will be a different story, although it is already june 8 – oops!

in the beginning of the month two of my girls and i drove down to indianapolis and ran the indy mini (13.1 miles). then we hit up bloomington to check out my old stomping grounds at IU. we had so much fun. road trips rock! i really i hope i don’t grow out of them… although i hear kids make you feel differently, hmm…

Indy Mini 2009 005

the next weekend i hopped on a plane to visit my family on the east coast. i met my brand new niece! she is so beautiful!

CT May 2009 002

and of course played with my nephew… this little man is soo fun :-)

CT May 2009 003

and then, i met my parents new dog. she’s a classic small dog that has no idea how small she really is. crazy millie!

CT May 2009 010

the next weekend i was back in chitown and my roommate and i hosted a little b-day party for my friend jamie. i thought it would be fun to make a cake for her so i did some research. i thought it would be more fun to try to do something that kinda showed her personality. praise the Lord, i found a recipe for a “fun” cake and then i found neon food coloring (who knew they made neon food coloring). so i dyed the icing bright neon colors and found some whacky candles that totally matched the icing – crazy! and anyone who knows jamie knows she LOVES candy, and i found out especially nerds. so, i dotted the cake and some cupcakes with nerds. and the pic below is the masterpiece :-)

Jamie's b-day 2009 003

it was sooo much fun making this. but just as much fun to see her reaction:

Jamie's b-day 2009 005

Jamie's b-day 2009 013

may was a good month… looking forward to a wonderful june!

i’ve been inconsistently, yet in the Lord’s perfect timing, following a recent study of the life of joshua. currently we are camped out in exodus looking at the battle between the israelites and the amalekites. if you can remember, this is the battle where moses commissions joshua to lead the israelites into the battle while he, with God’s staff in hand, watches over them from a nearby cliff/hill. moses must keep his arms raised as he holds God’s staff. each time he lowers his hands the amalekites advance against the israelites, but once his hands are raised, the israelites come back. this is a long battle and hours of fighting, moses gets tired. so aaron and hur some along side him, offering him a stone to sit on and their strong able bodies to help hold moses’ arms up for the length of the battle.

i’ve heard this story many times and always looked at it from the perspective of friendship. aaron and hur were just the friends moses needed at that time to hold his arms for him. after all, he was 80 years old, and that’s what friends do, they help you fight the battles. and while this is true and a great lesson to glean from this story, i was exposed to another angle today that really hit home.

when moses had his arms raised and was offered the stone to sit on, he sat. he didn’t say, “no, it’s okay, i got this one guys.” he wasn’t so caught up in being the leader of this great army below him that he couldn’t recognize when he needed help. he knew, the battle wasn’t being fought and won because of him, he knew it was being fought and won by his God.

i was so convicted of this picture, realizing that in my own selfish insecurities, if i were moses, i wouldn’t want to sit for fear that people might think i am weak. for me, sitting would be weak, would indicate that i can’t lead, would mean people would see i am vulnerable, would open people’s eyes to the fact that i can’t do it all.

but then i remember, it is when i am weak that i am strong, as then it is the Lord’s power that gives me strength.

moses was strong, not weak. a weak man would have said no to the help his friends offered. a strong man says, i need help. a strong man is humble and dignified before the Lord. admitting when he knows he needs help, and humbly accepting it.

i learned a lot from this passage today and this new perspective of it. Lord, help me to humble myself and not be afraid to let the women in my life come along side and battle with me. for then, with Your power flowing through us, will i be strong.

when i moved to chicago and started to find my way back to church my roommate at the time and still very dear friend and i prayed for solid Christian friends. after all, the Bible says as “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

well just as His word also promises, He has done exceedingly and abundantly more than i think either of us could have asked or imagined.

i can say with utter confidence, that each of these women the Lord has blessed me with knowing, are incredible. every single one possesses qualities that challenge me to love my God more and to be more like Christ. all of them have a desire for one thing, to follow-hard after God and stick to His pleasing and perfect will for their lives.

when the israelites went to battle, with joshua leading the way, moses stood on the top of the hill overlooking the valley where they fought. as long as his arms were raised the israelites could take ground, when he got tired and his arms fell, they would lose ground. in comes aaron and hur, right by moses’ side, holding his arms high, and by the end of the day, the israelites won (exodus 17).

i am forever grateful and thankful to my Lord for all my girls. like joshua they will fight the battle for me if i need them too, like aaron and hur, they will give me strength and support when i grow weary, and like moses, they will encourage me and watch over me when i am in battle. truly, they are some of the greatest blessings in my life.

wow! it has been an incredible week and if i tried to blog about it all it would take forever. on wednesday night this past week, the choir at my church, chicago tabernacle, choirled the founder’s week audience in worship before billy kim preached a compelling and convicting message. i could blog all about his message and how incredible it was but instead, i want to talk about my dear roommate and spiritual sister.

i have no idea what it is like to be a mom, but after this week, i can’t even imagine what it must be like. shelly (my roommate) is an incredible woman of God, but this past wednesday, she took it to the next level – or should I say, the Lord took her to the next level. and I’ve been ridiculously proud to say “that’s my roommate!” (cause it is all about me, right? totally kidding!)

anyway, anyone who knows her knows what a prayer warrior she is, and that is an understatement. she knows her God, and knows Him well. and when she prays you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord is listening.

well, she’s the same way on her guitar. she doesn’t play just to play. she plays to bring God glory, to worship Him and usher others into His presence. it’s never about her, it’s all about Him. and wednesday night that is exactly what she did. people have been complimenting her on her skills and telling her how great she was, and she consistently sends the praise back to the Lord.

I’ve never been so aware of how blessed i am to have this woman of God as my roommate. and going through this experience with her, having the privilege of seeing the hard work, prayer and diligence that went into preparing for that night, i can’t help but wonder if this how a mom feels when she sees her child work hard and “succeed” (not that she’s a child, but just that kind of love and adoration that i imagine is synonymous with being a mom). shelly “succeeded” wednesday night, but not because she played well, she succeeded because she was all about God and nothing less. she was focused on using her skills to glorify the King of Kings, to worship Him as best she could despite any distractions, the size of the audience or the magnitude of the event.

i hope and pray that every woman i know has the privilege of having a shelly in her life and i hope one day, when i grow up, i will be like her. i am so blessed to know her.

much like my fear of baking bread due to the yeast factor, i’ve had this crazy fear of cooking a turkey… like it would turn out like the one on griswold family christmas, the one that basically blew apart when they tired to cut it! but i know the best way to conquer my fear is to take it on, so that ‘s what i did and it actually turned out pretty decent!

friends-christmas-2008-012

once the turkey was done (which totally took way longer than i had anticipated) it was time to carve the turkey… hmm… i’ve never made a turkey before, none of my friends have made a turkey before, who’s going to carve it? and how?

friends-christmas-2008-019

teamwork!

it was a wonderful evening with friends and i am so thankful for each of these women. way too much fun!

friends-christmas-2008-001

friends-christmas-2008-035

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