It’s a “Favorite Things Friday” –
Because of my job and how I spend my day, I’m really blessed to “know” a lot of people – I’m pretty much ALL ABOUT relationships. However, if I’m honest, there aren’t a whole lot of people that I truly feel “KNOWN” by. Being in ministry and being “seen” is often a lonely place – feeling like you do more listening than actually sharing about what’s going on in your own life (please do not read this as a “complaint” …just part of the position/work).
So- because of that I’m truly thankful that this past year a group of dear friends and I were intentional about taking our relationship to a much deeper place. We had all been friends for YEARS (actually decades) – were in a small group at church together – and yet we were just going through the motions of doing life together. Our relationship was “nice”, people would think we were “besties” and I knew they would help (and had) when I needed them…but I didn’t feel accountable to them or necessarily led to share the REAL inner workings of “Lori” with them. However, that changed when we committed to meet regularly together and NOT waste the time together with just “fluff” – instead, we would trust each other with the realness of what was happening in our lives – the stuff that isn’t shared without work and a whole lot of trust.
Our relationships really changed when we did a study together called “Fervent” and we began sharing and praying differently with and for each other. We saw miraculous answers to things that had been strongholds for years…we saw our marriages strengthened, physical healing, job situations change, random things happen with our kids, and some much needed character adjustment in ourselves (ok – I’ll speak for ME…I began to notice things that needed to change with ME)…and even when things weren’t answered the way WE thought “best” (like God needed our advice!), we experienced peace that was new and overwhelming.
While we have been sharing the HARD stuff…we have also had a BLAST together. We have certainly shared tears of hurt and sadness…but also crazy fits of pure hilariousness and JOY. My friends are FUNNY people!
We have a text group that is going through the day (and night!)…we send “PRAY NOW” texts as well as “Just checking-in…how is everyone this morning” messages. It’s very, very rare that something isn’t shared multiple times during the day (sometimes hourly!). Two months ago, randomly, someone mentioned, “We need a trip – I want to go to New York” and (I’m not kidding) within about 30 minutes we were all confirmed and GOING! Honestly, it happened so fast that I almost didn’t have time to check with my husband. We threw out dates and ALL agreed, “Yes, I’m available”. Someone checked flights and booked them and another offered hotel points for a free room…and it was DONE!
A few weeks ago we meet for a “planning meeting” at LaMads (if you don’t know what that’s an abbreviation for -you are not a woman in the Dallas area!). Anyway – after having some brunch we talked trip details…we all went around and said what they REALLY wanted out of this trip – things we wanted to see, experience and EAT! We all agreed that the goal was FUN and to really FEEL Christmas. It was a blast to think through the possibilities and work as a team to make the plan. It’s amazing what can be done sitting in a restaurant…Food Tour Tickets – BOOKED…Rockettes tickets…well, that’s another story- but it happened later (thanks Jenn for your perseverance!)!
I think part of the fun of a trip is just thinking about it so – this was JOY to me!
After we talked about the trip and all agreeing that we needed new coats (and squealing like little girls over it), we got down to “being authentic” business. We had just finished a study together called “Uninvited” and in the back of the book (last chapter) the author has you do a “self-assessment” and then instructs you to have someone else do the assessment on you as well (gulp). We agreed that we would ALL do it for each other…that meant all 4 of them spoke directly into my life on true/false questions like: “My friend is easily approachable – it’s easy for me to confront her when she has done something wrong”, “My friend is more oriented towards speaking truth and has difficulty giving grace”, “My friend assumes the best instead of the worst” and “I feel my friend understands and respects my opinion even if she disagrees.” Yeah…it was a “light” and fun conversation…not!
I’ll admit there were a few hard things to hear – but, I believe, we all left there thankful to have women that would speak truth, even when it was painful. We have so much trust and love built up with each other that it was a safe place and time to hear words spoken from those that only want the best for the other. In short – these women are willing to say what’s necessary for MY good. No fluff…just truth.
Do we get it right all the time? Yeah – NO! Are there hurt feelings and conflict – YES! Have we prayed that we come back from this trip still friends…sure – maybe jokingly. We might ruffle each other’s feathers a little and it was probably a wise move that we booked two rooms instead of one (even though I was serious about sleeping on the floor) but – honestly, we are now soul-sisters and at a deeper level. We plan to take New York by a storm…and the city, and the 5 of us, will never be the same again!
So- while these ladies are truly my “FAVORITE THING FRIDAY” today…a close second is “NEW YORK IN THE MORNING!!” We leave tomorrow at 8am…and I couldn’t be more excited (and if I thought we were texting a lot before…it’s CRAZY the amount of texts going this week!).
“Tomorrow, Tomorrow…I love ya, Tomorrow…you’re only a DAY AWAY!!”
#imightnotsleeptonight #newyorkwithmysoulsisters #thankfulformytribe