#fangirlyourfriends: Kathy + Lindsay

A few weeks ago, my wonderful new friend Corie wrote this great post about how we should be fangirling our friends (it’s friendship required reading so go! read it!). She says why so well:

I promise you your friends are doing amazing things. Whether it looks like it from the world’s perspective or not, they are. They are wiping baby bottoms and cleaning toilets. They’re writing books, serving at restaurants, and making coffee. They’re walking in their own little lanes that God as called them to and they need fans. Fans that know the intricate details of their lives. Fans that will pray them through the trenches. Fans that know when they need encouragement and when they just need a place to turn off their brain, have a margarita, and watch their favorite T.V. show. They need YOU. They need you to be their fangirl.

Starting today, I’m going to be running a series called #fangirlyourfriends. Every Friday (what better way to start the weekend than with a big, wonderful bright spot?!) I’ll post another story from a friend fangirling her friends. Today is the first post of what will be at least through the end of the year.

So without further delay, meet Kathy, who is fangirling her friend Lindsay today. Oh, and PS, Lindsay’s birthday is on the 28th, so share the love! And don’t forget to #fangirlyourfriends.

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When Krista posted the idea of starting a blog series inspired by Corie Clark’s great idea to #fangirlyourfriends, I knew right away I wanted to participate. It was just obvious to me that I had to write about one of the people dearest to my heart in honor of her birthday. So, I said “sign me up!” And then I panicked a bit. I’m not a writer. Things always sound better in my head than what actually comes out onto the paper. And how can I ever even put in to words what my best friend means to me? But it needed to be done, so I’m breathing deep and diving in because the world should get a little taste of just how amazing my dear friend Lindsay is.

This lady is ridiculously talented and creative. She is a photographer, teacher, graphic designer, and creates outstanding chalkboard typography. She joins me in my crazy love of dressing up our families according to a theme and can rock the homemade Halloween costume like nobody’s business.

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Her momma heart for her three lovely little girls is nothing short of fierce and passionate. She models our need for grace by giving and receiving it. She finds ways to encourage each of her girls’ unique personalities and interests. She is intentional about making memories and pointing her girls to Jesus. She encourages me to join her on adventures when taking my children anywhere sounds exhausting.

She knows how to throw magazine-worthy parties, she sends sweet, thoughtful care packages, and she bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie. I fully believe she is incapable of doing anything half-ass. Let’s not forget to mention she is stunningly beautiful, stylish, outgoing and hilarious. She lives life at full volume.

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In a nutshell, she’s who I want to be when I grow up. People are drawn to her wherever we go, and I don’t blame them. I’m her #1 fan. It’s probably a good thing we’re actually friends, because it might be awkward otherwise.

Of all these wonderful things I’ve listed, not one even touches on the real reason I am such a fangirl of this outstanding woman. The thing that really knocks my socks off about my friend is how she sees people, truly sees them, and speaks life into them. I am a prime example. Lindsay knows my story and is continually speaking truth to me. Whether it is to encourage me in remembering my identity or to call me out on something, she invests in me (as she does many others). She has taken the time to know my story. She has dived down deep, to my messiest of places and has not been scared away. She has passionately fought for my heart, my children and my marriage when I have simply not been able. I have hurt her and made choices that should have had drastic effects on our friendship, yet she has extended such grace. And she is honest about her mess too. She invites me in to her realness. She listens when she hurts me and seeks reconciliation. She never pretends to have it all together. This kind of friendship is hard work, people. It can be painful and exhausting to die to oneself, be vulnerable and dive in to people’s messes, but oh, it is so what we need. To know and be known, to risk and experience that deep love and acceptance. It feels like Jesus.

To my dear, sweet, totally kick-ass best friend – I am so glad you were born. You have helped me learn how to embrace my awkward, breathe deep and be Kathy. You have been the hands and feet of Jesus to me in so many ways and I will never be able to fully express what your friendship means. But I’ll keep trying anyways. I love you to forever.

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Lindsay, you rock! Happy birthday, and thank you for making a difference in Kathy’s life and the lives of so many others. What a joy it is to get to honor you in my own little space today! <3

You can find out more about Kathy over at her blog, The Little Things. Thank you for sharing, Kathy aka my own Kristen Wiig!

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78610

“78610” by Krista Wilbur

In this heat I feel my heart beating,
noisy and wild, living loudly and out loud.
My emotions pour down my face and back,
in sweat and in tears,
in chills and the burning
ache of being known and seen
deep inside my very bones.
I am not alone in this great big and wide and heavy
weary world.

In Austin and Buda I labored under love and under
sweet mercy and grace, giving
to others the the same given to me by One greater
than I can ever aspire to be.

In this moment, under a hot yellow sky and
in the dry brush of the hard ground, watching these feet and
faces walking in clusters and
singles,
in the pulse of music that threads this city,
in the noise and the stars,
we find rest and Sabbath in the arms of women
from every walk and season and setting of life.

In this pain prickling down my arm,
skin pinched and pierced, I am reminded again of
hands and feet that paved a way for us to gather,
to worship and weep, to
let down the guard so hard-fought for and
yet so hated.

In our rejoicing and deepest sorrow,
in our groanings and our shouts of joy, these
are the very hands clasped under our
wrists, anchored firmly skin-to-skin,
mother to child,
bearing the weight of tired arms as we strive
to play our one right note for the
glory of God.

In the latest hours, when words and
laughter echo equally across beds and rooms
all over these cities, the
Church is coming to life, being
resurrected in lives once broken and thoroughly
stonewalled from God. Faith is being
reborn, bright and bold, as we come to
feel and realize the heaviest and most
beautiful weight of the last six months:
bear each others’ burdens,
be each others’ advocates,
seek the small,
love fiercely, until you return
to the dust.

In Buda we began to live the
Gospel, beginning
with our sisters, flaming bright the
truth of Jesus.
I shall never walk my own city streets
the same,
will never look at the faces of the
brave and broken,
hurting and healing,
the same.

In my stillest of soul, in Texas
on a hot summer night, I know what
I’ve known all along but so often forget:
God lives among us and
we are known.

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I will be posting one last post this week about what I learned and lived in Texas. Pop back on Friday and read five real-life applications of my great Texas adventure!

You are welcome to repost this poem in your own space, but please be sure to give me credit and link back to me. I love sharing my writing but I work hard on the poems I post here so I appreciate people giving credit where credit is due!

I will love, love, love: reflecting on Texas

Over our hopes; over our fears
God, you are over all
Over our joy; over our tears
God, you are over all

I got a chicken tattoo this weekend.

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It feels a little odd to preface any blog post with a statement like that, but there you go. It happened. It’s a thing. It is, in fact, a permanent thing.

I could leave the explanation of this weekend at that, because to be honest, it totally sums up everything my heart and body experienced this weekend. The story of the tattoo, the sweetness of the pain, the helpfulness of the adrenaline rushing through me — if ever a picture was worth a thousand (and eight hundred and seventy two words), this is it.

It’s been really hard for me, dealing with reentry back into real, everyday life. Leaving Texas was so much harder than I could ever imagine. I thought I’d go to Texas, like the ladies in the #BudaCoop, our henhouse of party planners, meet Jen, have some margaritas and tacos at her house, and leave the next day with some good memories.

I’m such an idiot for thinking that.

Because here’s what happened: I went to Texas. I loved, right away, with no hesitation, the ladies in the #BudaCoop. I met Jen. She offered to hold my chicken tattooed arm like our wedding picture. I had some margaritas. I went to church the next day, cried from the first song until the final benediction, and I wept on the plane from safety instructions until cruising altitude.

Y’all, that’s a very long time to weep.

But it, too, is a thing.

Six months ago, I got a life-changing email in my inbox while I was standing in line at Vons, buying really important things like cookies and flavored water. I squealed in line when I got the email saying I was part of the launch team for For the Love. But I didn’t even know at the time just how life-changing it was going to be. I think it would maybe be this fun thing were I got an advanced copy of the book and some share squares and called it a day.

I am laughing and cringing in equal measure right now at myself and the memory of my naivete in that grocery store line as I savor the aftermath of Texas.

So many powerful, dear things happened this weekend and the initial thing is that from the moment of meeting the first of my girls in the Phoenix airport as we waited for our connecting flight to Austin, I never once felt like I was meeting a stranger. In the last six months, I have poured my heart and soul out to these girls. I’ve shared things about my experience with the church breaking me and the church helping to heal me. I’ve shared about a baby I’ll never know this side of heaven, different kinds of abuse I endured at the hands of adults who were supposed to care for me, struggles in my everyday life, joys and good things, and I’ve prayed for and with others over their own struggles and rejoicings. These women were not for a single moment strangers. There were and are world-changers and some of my dearest friends. At dinner at the Hula Hut on the first night, someone joked to our server that we were here for a family reunion and we all had the same father. It wasn’t meant in a Jesus jukey kind of way, but it was true.

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We all have the same Father.

How sweet and how good is that?

I hope you know or will someday know this Father who gives us the sweetest of gifts in connecting us with others.

Whatever may come in this life
God, you are over all

I connected with everyone I met throughout the weekend, but what’s so very special to me are the connections I made with the #BudaCoop chickens. We gathered in the mornings in one room or another, always a room that wasn’t big enough for all of us, but like the fishes and loaves, we somehow fit every time. We drank coffee and passed around plates of bacon (#nomeatscraps) while we crammed 10 women in a tiny room with two twin beds and no extra seats. We shared our hearts. We did grad school homework while we talked. We drank margaritas and worked on coloring books for adults together. We shared the things God has done and is doing in our lives. We talked about the times we walked away from God, hurt by imperfect people, and we talked about the times we fearfully and with reservations walked back to Him, and how we were welcomed by Him so openly.

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We sat in a room and lifted up a friend in prayer and there was no pressure to pray out loud. We talked about the church hurting us and healing us. We lived out what it means to be in community. We devoured queso and fresh chips. We made inside jokes and giggled at each other and were safety nets when meeting two hundred people we didn’t know yet on Saturday evening. We were extroverts whose voices raised above the rest and introverts who we talked to at the outer edges of the group and abmiverts who shifted back and forth all weekend long. We were a group of women whose voices, no matter the volume, we heard and appreciated and so wanted.

We were the Church and we were beautiful because of God’s goodness. On Saturday, we gathered in Jen’s yard and we met her – not a “Christian celebrity,” but a real, beautiful, kind woman who loves God and loves others with the very entirety of her big, precious, wild heart. We met my friend Jen. Our friend Jen. A woman who has taught me so much over the last three years, one whom I respect madly and deeply — not as a Christian celebrity, but as a humble servant of God, mentoring me from afar. I have much to learn from the way she and her family live their lives and the words she shares.

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How do you even start to describe how simple yet profound these kinds of interaction are? It seems like there are no words and yet I might need all the words to make you understand.

From touchdown in Texas I felt known. I felt like every bit of me, from the roots of my hair to the bottoms of my feet and everything in between, was seen and known and loved, even the ugly and angry and hurting parts. Especially those parts. I was precious to others and they were so, so precious and close to me as we labored and toiled and worshiped together. My chickens knew me. Jen knew me. They all loved me and showed me God’s love loud and large and in my face.

To be known that way is exhilarating.

I’m not a thrill-seeker in the traditional sense, but I do love adventuring my way through life. Texas was a great and wild adventure, perhaps the greatest I’ve taken thus far, and it has left me energized and breathless to not let the feelings of passion and the hope of the Gospel fade from my heart and hands as I return to be every day life. It has left me craving that adventure in my current season and in my own city, for however long it is my city.

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I have been blessed in life with many tribes throughout many seasons. Some tribes have been strong and mighty fortresses for my heart for most of my 32 years. Some have been tribes that have taken root for only a short season and have since withered and faded away. I’m thankful for both kinds because they have been the sustenance of my lifetime. Leaving Texas, I am confident I have not left behind something, but have been folded into a new tribe: another kind of lifetime, for eternity, never-gonna-end tribe. It’s two-fold: it’s all of my #lovies, and it’s my #BudaCoop chickens. In the years to come, I will write them handwritten letters, I will send them texts and call them. I’ll celebrate their birthdays and baptisms and babies and beyond. I will love them hard, with my whole, aching heart (how my heart aches in beautiful ways after what I lived through this weekend). I will rejoice in their good times and grieve with them through the hard things.

My life has been full of scattered pieces of hurt. I have been happy but there is been much shame and brokenness. In the last few years, I’ve slowly turned that all over to God and He has said, “Behold, I am doing a new thing;/now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV) to me so many times. It humbles me to no end to trace back all of the steps that have led me to this place, this time, these women, this book, this adventure. This opportunity I have been given.

I will sing, sing, sing
To my God, my King
For all else fades away
And I will love, love, love
With this heart You’ve made
For You’ve been good always

It makes me feel so small and so full of awe and wonder at the greatness and holiness of God in this world. The only reasonable explanation for what happened in Texas this weekend is a great, big God empowering women to be the ones to do the work in their cities all over their world.

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And this is what I’m left with. This is how I want to love and live in the space around me – the women at church, the women at Starbucks, and just the women in my city. I want to look at them in the eye and hear their stories and respond with tenderness and compassion. I want to laugh with them and grieve with them in equal measure, as the time is right, as the days permit, for as long as I can, as hard as I can, as much as I can, with all that I have within me. I want to encourage them and be that person for them, whether it’s for a season or for a lifetime. I want to watch as we live out what I saw happen in Texas over the last four days. We are burning embers, warmed and fanned by the Creator of the Universe and by the hot Texas sun, and we have two choices: fan the embers into giant, consuming flames, or die out.

Over the earth; over the sky
God, you are over all
Over the dark; over the light
God, you are over all

For the love. Lord, make me a flame that does not die, a light that ravages its way through the darkness. Thank you for setting this girl alight.
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A few things:

  • If you haven’t yet bought For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, you are missing out. I get zero perks for telling you this. No kickbacks, no royalties. But I have seen and lived first-hand the changes it’s brought in countless women from so many different seasons of life and walks of faith. You can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book Distributors (the cheapest at the time of posting), Indie Bound, and more!
  • The two songs quoted here are “Over All” by Phil Wickham and “My God, My King” by All Sons & Daughters . Links take you to iTunes. Again, I get nothing from you using these links to download the songs. We sang them at ANC on Sunday and they were and are so deep and simply wonderful to my God-hungry heart and I’ve been listening to them on repeat.