It’s been six years since my last post about homeschooling. (You can see everything on the subject here.) In the summer of 2014, we made the decision to enroll our kids –then 4th and K/1st graders (with a tagalong preschooler) — in school for the first time. Over the years since that enrollment, our family has experienced private Montessori schooling, private Christian schooling, and public schooling.

In every environment, my kids had teachers who loved them and who loved education. In every environment, my kids made friends and learned a lot.

And then the early spring of 2020 hit, and everything went crazy in the world and in our nation and state… and in my kids’ schools. I’m sure yours had a similar experience as administrators, teachers, and staff pulled off the most amazing pivot ever to bring non-traditional instruction to every family. I have nothing but kudos for both schools we were enrolled in!

However, this fall brought a few changes to our family.

Our 6th grader, 10th grader, and 3rd grader. On a first day of school where no one leaves the house, no one wears shoes!

Our son is still at the same school — now a sophomore, he’s been told to plan on distance learning at least until Fall Break, and that’s 100% okay with him. (It turns out that he really likes NTI. Managing his workload from home really appealed to him. An introvert by nature, he hasn’t been too rattled by the social shift — as long as he can text and in-game chat with a few buddies a few days a week, he’s fine.)

Our older daughter finished up her 5th grade year with a very mature appeal to her father and me. She wanted us to consider a switch to public school for 6th grade, because she has a long-range plan that includes an engineering degree (which she wants to work toward starting in high school at our county’s engineering academy, for which she’ll need to take the ACT in 8th grade, for which she thinks she’ll be better prepared by the public school. Plus, our county school offers a number of STEM classes and electives. It was pretty hard to argue with that! We took time to pray about it, then toured the school in January and made our decision). It wasn’t ideal, starting at a new school with digital learning, but at least all the 6th graders are in the same boat. And our district is sending K-8 back to in-person classes next week, so she is over the moon to be headed to school! However — that will only be 2 days a week. The other three, she’ll still be at home doing NTI.

And our youngest is a 3rd grader this year. For a whole variety of reasons, we decided to pull her out for a year of traditional homeschooling. I am so looking forward to spending this time with her. The years I spent teaching her older siblings were so rich and rewarding, and still number among our fondest memories.

We have a little spot upstairs that is perfect to use as a schoolroom. Susannah has a station for her Chromebook and supplies, and Abigail and I have stations that are nearby (in case Susannah gets stuck with homework, or has a technical difficulty during her class times).

For 3rd grade curriculum, we are using:
*BJU Press Math 3
*HMH Trunity Science Dimensions 3
*Vocabulary from Classical Roots 4
*Zaner-Bloser Handwriting 3
*Tapestry of Grace: Year 2, Unit 4 through Year 3, Unit 3 (literature, history, geography, fine arts) — Upper Grammar level
*Writing: mom-created curriculum
*Spanish: Duolingo 3 days/week
*Typing: Mavis Beacon 3 days/week
*Law & Debate: mom-created curriculum 2 days/week
*Logic: various sources 2 days/week

Several of these resources were chosen because they are what her private school used last year (and our current plan is for her to return there next year for 4th grade, so with transitions in mind I kept her in the same math and handwriting curricula). However, some of what we’re using is because she has a very particular interest right now. Did you notice the less-common-for-a-third-grader materials on her list?

Right now, she says she wants to be a lawyer when she grows up; she wants to be a lawyer so she can become a judge, and work in family court, and help kids. I’m honestly not sure where this particular passion came from, and I don’t know much about it myself. So we are going to be learning a lot together this year!

One thing I do know: lawyers need excellent reading, writing, and research skills. A familiarity with Latin and an ease with logic and debate couldn’t hurt, either. So I’m cobbling together a special interest corner of our weekly rhythm to help her explore those areas. Eight-years-old feels a long way off from taking the bar exam… and you never know, she could change her mind a dozen times between now and heading off to declare a college major. But no matter what she ends up doing, I think the skills she’s covering this year will stand her in good stead.

How does school look at your house this year? Do you have kids doing virtual schooling, in-person school, hybrid options, traditional homeschooling, or some combination of all of the above? I’d love to hear about it.

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If you’re like me, hospitality doesn’t always come easy. 

Maybe it’s hard for you because you’re introverted. Or because your space doesn’t feel big enough to bring more people in. Or because your kids are young (read: loud and messy and take up lots of your time) or because someone in your household has special needs. Or because you’re single, or a single parent, or because you’re new to town and don’t know many people yet, or because you work third shift.

I hear alllllll of those objections and reasons, and I first want to say: there is nothing but grace for you here. There’s no condemnation.

And there’s also no single right way to “do” hospitality. In fact, I’d say that the misguided notion that there is a single right way is probably the biggest obstacle of them all.

I’ve been feeling God prod me to do more in this area, so I started–as I start all things!– by reading on this subject. Over the last few years, these titles have been super helpful in re-arranging my presuppositions about hospitality (not affiliate links, just wanted you to be able to find them and add them to your cart or wish list ASAP).

But, hey, even if you’ve been thinking about hospitality and DOING hospitality for a while, what do you do when there’s a pandemic afoot? How can you welcome others into your home or around your table when it’s not safe?

First of all, we can remember the point and the purpose of hospitality – it is to make folks feel welcome, right? To feel seen and known, to feel safe. The definition of hospitality is “generous and friendly reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” How can you approach that same end-goal if the usual avenues aren’t available?

Here’s what’s been working for us, at various phases of the shutdown.

In “phase one,” when our state was fully shut down, (aka ”Healthy At Home,” some states called it Shelter In Place) we could only go out for essentials and all gatherings were stopped.

  1. Like many of you, Zoom became our go-to way to gather with friends. I used Zoom to continue hosting Bible study. Instead of women sitting in my living room, we were all on-screen together, but at least we could still read and pray together & encourage each other. I also set up a couple of evenings to gather online with friends for fun – one night we played Bingo and another night we did trivia! We weren’t physically together, but I made a point to set aside time for these women and to welcome them into my life.
An open Bible, notebook, and a coffee cup sit in front of a computer with Zoom open on the screen.
  1. Postcards! I somehow had accumulated a big stash of postcards in a drawer, and I mailed a bunch out each week. The size of a postcard means you’re naturally limited to only a line or two of cheer and encouragement, but what a joy to get something bright and pretty in the mail (that’s not an ad or a bill!) Again – I know it’s not the physical hospitality we are used to pursuing, but it’s a small way to let someone know that they matter to you, which I think is a vital part of being hospitable.
The author's hand holds four brightly colored postcards, pointed into an open mailbox.
  1. Front-yard neighboring. Back in March, when everyone was out taking daily walks, we chalked our sidewalk, painted a front window, and posted a teddy bear in an upstairs window. Lately, when my kids ride their bikes and rollerblades on the dead-end part of our street, I’ve been sitting out on the front porch so I can wave at passing neighbors and chat a bit. I haven’t had any mind-blowing new connections come from this, but I really loved the example that Kristin Schell set in her book (linked above) and am praying that the Lord will use it, at some point.
A front porch with two chairs and a French door.
  1. Calls and texts. I tried to think of folks who I’d normally see once a week or so and make sure to reach out. It was a strange sensation, because we were all using social media more than ever – so it may have felt like we knew what others were going through – but in reality, those one-on-one conversations were more valuable than if I had relied on their public postings on FB or IG.
  1. Caring for the stranger. Like lots of families, we felt like we were using Amazon Prime shipping more than ever before, so for several days I set a small cooler beside our front door with drinks for delivery workers. 

Our current phase (I think we’re in Phase 3 at the moment?) allows some gatherings (up to 10 people, but outdoors is preferable to inside) so hospitality might be an in-person experience again. . . with some adjustments.

  1. I shifted to hosting my Bible study group outside in our side yard. There’s some shade trees and our fire pit out there, so we have plenty of room to spread out in inexpensive plastic chairs (and I have a few of those collapsible camp chairs, too, if a bunch more women suddenly show up). We have all been so happy to see people’s faces that after our official study time, we sit there talking until it’s totally dark. You need to have frank conversation about your expectations if you’re going to do this, about how you’ll space the chairs and whether you’ll require masks, but if the numbers in your area are allowing small gatherings, use your outdoor space to be there for people.
A gravel fire pit area is shown with a pair of plastic Adirondack chairs and a wooden bench seat.
  1. Caring for the stranger. With retail and restaurants open, we are choosing to make our trips short or arrange for pickup/takeout as much as possible, to lighten the contact load that essential workers are bearing. We are also committed to wearing masks every time we go out, and when we are in a checkout line I’ve tried to find at least one opportunity to thank and encourage the worker who’s assisting me. No, this isn’t how we traditionally think of hospitality because we aren’t receiving these folks into our own home – but we are, I hope, giving generously of ourselves and being friendly.
The author is shown wearing a yellow face mask.

I know that we are used to framing our expectations of hospitality around the pillars of “being cozy inside our home” and “feeding the people,” but if we are willing to accept the challenge this pandemic offers us to create new pillars, I think our hospitality muscles will only grow.

Tell me, how are you experiencing hospitality during this strange new season — either by hosting/welcoming, or by being hosted/welcomed? I’d love to hear about it!

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Promotional Image for "Planning Together" Live YouTube show where we'll chat about planners Wednesday August 18 at 9pm Eastern. Visit

I’m so excited, friends! Tonight at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central I’m going live with my friend Darian on her YouTube channel to talk about planners and perspective. We share a love for Jesus and for paper planning — it’s a kindred spirit kind of friendship — and I can’t wait to chat with her and with all of YOU in the comments!

If you can’t tune in live, you can catch the replay anytime:

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The other night, I stepped out into the backyard with our dogs after dinner. The evening air was still warm, and they romped and gamboled around the grass, barking and nipping at each other’s heels as the sun set behind our neighbors’ houses. I didn’t even hear my youngest daughter slip out the back door.

A sunset in shades of purple and pink silhouettes the rooflines of neighboring houses.

But there she was, suddenly standing at my elbow, wearing her little pink-and-white-striped pajama set. She heaved a deep breath and her words tumbled out like blocks from a toy chest.

“Mom, there’s something I have to tell you and I’m afraid you’re going to be mad at me but I just have to get it off my chest.”

I turned to look at her and give her my full attention. “Okay. It’s okay. Whatever it is, you can tell me.”

“I took a book off the downstairs shelf.” She looked at her feet. “I took it up to my room, and Susannah saw it and said it’s one of THOSE BOOKS and I’m too young to read it.” She glanced back up at me and her eyes were glistening with tears. “I didn’t know, though! I thought it was just, like, a science book.”

I was trying to keep up with this revelation, but I had to interject. “What book are we talking about, honey?”

She gulped. “The Girls Body Book.” 

Not Bad, Just Not For Right Now

I smothered a laugh. Okay. So we aren’t talking about anything bad here (because I was wracking my brain when she said “one of THOSE BOOKS.” It’s not like I own smut or erotica that she could have accidentally grabbed. We have a few books with mature themes I’d rather the girls not read until they get a little older, but nothing that would be truly out of line) –but the thing is, she really felt like this was serious, and I didn’t want to blow her off.

I opened my arms for a hug and said, “Hey, it’s okay. Come here.”

She crossed the space between us, and while we hugged I reassured her that she wasn’t in trouble and she hadn’t done anything wrong by taking the book off the shelf. In fact, if she was curious and wanted to read the Girls’ Body Book, she could – I would like to read it with her, or at least discuss it with her after each chapter or so. But there was nothing bad or wrong in that book. It was just meant for older girls, and so Mom kept it on the downstairs shelf so that we could read it together when it was a good time for it.

She was so relieved. And her tears flowed, and she told me, “I have been hiding it in my room for a really long time.”

“Hiding it?”

“Yeah. I took it off the shelf weeks and weeks ago and then Susannah said that, so I didn’t read it. But I was going to sneak it back downstairs and put it on the shelf so you would never know, but I never woke up early enough so I could do it in the dark. And when you helped me clean my room last week, I was afraid you would find it. And I felt so guilty. I had a stomachache every day.”

So we talked a little about guilt. And how guilt and shame are different, and how when we feel guilty then confession is the right thing to do.

What Comes Next

Her little mouth quirked from side to side, lips pressed together, thinking hard. “So. Um. What is my… punishment?”

I took her hand and we went to sit at the patio table. “There is no punishment.”

She started crying again. “I have been trying to come and tell you for days and days. But I was scared of my punishment. Tonight in the bath, I decided, ‘I just have to do it tonight.’ So I told myself, I would put on my pajamas first and then I would come and tell you and I would say, ‘I understand I was wrong and I will go put myself to bed until you decide my punishment.’

That’s when I started to cry, too.


Do y’all remember the story of the Prodigal? Oh, sure, we know that boy. He wanted his inheritance and he squandered that inheritance and there was a part about pigs. But that’s not what I’m thinking of right now.

When the Prodigal realized he wanted to go back home, he didn’t think he deserved home.

He thought he’d have to earn it.

So he thought of exactly what to say to his dad, and he rehearsed it and rehearsed it. Then he set off for his dad’s house, planning to say it just so and convince his dad to let him in.

But you know what? He never got the chance to deliver his rehearsed speech. 

He didn’t have to earn his place at his Dad’s table.

The minute his dad saw him, he hitched up his robe and took off running to embrace his boy.

That’s grace.

We’ve All Been Prodigals

And every single one of us has, at some point or another, been a Prodigal. We’ve been stuck in the mud of a far-off country, longing for home, but maybe half-believing that home will never let us back in. Thinking we’d have to earn it. Practicing our return speech and hoping if we say it just right, they’ll accept us.

And every single one of us, if we’ve repented and come back home to our Father, has been embraced and celebrated simply because we belong to Him.

Back to the patio on that summer night. I told my daughter that story, how she’s not the only one who ever practiced a speech and thought they had to work really hard or suffer a punishment to get to forgiveness. And then she had another confession, although she didn’t know it was a confession.

“I keep a list,” she said.

“What kind of list?”

“Every day, I keep a list of the things I’ve done bad. And I try to make them right. But this–” the book she took and hid, “has been on my list for weeks and it made me feel really terrible. Every day I would say, ‘I’ll fix that one tomorrow.’”

My heart broke a little, learning that my sweet girl keeps a list of her own wrongs and works so hard to make them right. The way she’s been holding herself to an impossible standard of getting everything right, always, every day – and writing down every mistake along the way.

And I started thinking. . . a lot of us probably do the same thing.

Keeping A List

Your list might not be scrawled in big second-grade printing on loose-leaf paper and tucked under your pillow.

Maybe your list reverberates in your head, in the voice of someone from your past. Or it could sound like your OWN voice, condemning and berating you.

All the things you’ve done wrong. All the ways you’ve let someone down. All the ways you didn’t measure up, dropped the ball, couldn’t manage, said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing or kept silent when you should have spoken up…

So I want to tell you the same thing I told her. Picture us at my patio table, bathed in the pinkish light of sunset.

“If making a list works like a prayer, where you write down the things you want to confess to the Lord, then go ahead and make your list. If some of those wrongs might have hurt other people, and you can go to them and talk or take action to help make amends, then you go ahead with that.”

“But, honey, if making that list only gives you a stomachache and a headache… if that list makes you feel crummy… if that list makes you feel like a terrible person and if it makes you believe lies about yourself, like that you’ll never get it right or that you don’t deserve forgiveness or that you aren’t worth very much around here then, sister: rip that list up. Burn it. If it’s inside your head, you talk back to it and tell it some truth.”

“When the Holy Spirit prompts us, pokes us, convicts us about sin, we feel motivated to confess and to turn and walk away from the sin. But when our Enemy whispers in our ear about our sin, he just wants us to wallow in it and feel beaten up and sick about it. That’s how you know the difference. And if your list makes you feel sick and bruised and yucky and miserable, then the enemy of your soul is using it to torment you, and you have to stop making a list.”

“Jesus said that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and full of justice. He forgives us and cleanses us. He doesn’t look at us and see the stains of the mud and much left behind. He sees us, covered in His righteousness.”

That was in pretty simple language because the first time I said it, I was talking to an 8-year-old. But friend, how I wish I could hold your hand and tell you this same truth over and over until you believe it. 

If you have trusted that Jesus the Christ made the only sacrifice that could ever be enough – that his death on the cross paid the price for your sin and that his resurrection defeated death and offers you eternal life, that his coming return will bring a perfected new heaven & new earth – then PUT DOWN YOUR LIST and don’t let guilt and shame eat you alive one minute longer.

No more impossible standards. No more berating self-talk. No more never-ending list in your head and your heart.

Confess and release, because your Father is waiting with open arms. He loves you just because you belong to Him, and you don’t ever have to earn that.

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Several years ago, I did a little blog series about contentment. I had this idea that contentment is contagious… and I wanted to spread it around. I still believe that those building blocks are a good basis for contentment, but I wanted to come back to the topic to expand a little as my experience and understanding has grown.

For one thing, friends, in a couple of months a very significant milestone is going to occur. We will have lived in this home for five full years, marking the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in my whole life.

Shocked baby with the caption "Oh my gosh!"

(Because of that Army brat thing, which I talked about here if you’re curious.)

This spring, I started to feel a simmering discontentment in my soul. It was honestly unlike anything I’ve ever felt before, and I wasn’t sure at first how to handle it.

Pandemic Blues

For one thing, we were all cooped up here in the house 24/7 with our state’s shutdown measures. Even though I’ve always thought of this house as PLENTY of space for us… once we were all here, nonstop, for months on end I started wishing we had a basement. And a pool in the backyard. And a bigger plot of land where the neighbors were so far away you could barely see them.

That might have been another factor. Our backyard neighbors were… well, not exactly neighborly during the first few months of the corona quarantine. Being able to see a big portion of their home and yard made my blood pressure skyrocket every time they violated the governor’s orders. (And I didn’t say anything or turn them in, because I didn’t want to be mean or nosy. I just thought my thoughts, and wished there was an extra acre between us so I couldn’t see what they were doing in ignorant bliss.)

Ticking Clock

When I started reflecting on what was driving my discontentment, I realized there’s another big milestone approaching. I’ll turn 40 in a few months. Maybe this was my mid-life crisis?

A close crop of an old oil painting. Words are superimposed so the man is saying, "I think I'm having a midlife crisis," The woman responds, "You're 24..." and the man replies, "I might die at 48."

Whatever the causes or motivations behind my discontent, here’s what resulted: I started browsing the MLS. And do you know what happens when a gal starts idly surfing real estate listings? Yup. Eventually she spots a property that catches her eye and keeps her awake at night.

Bored Mom ISO Bigger House

So when that happened, it was a lovely place with 1.25 acres in a tucked-away development of a only dozen homes. The house was older, but it had 150% of the square footage we have here. There was a basement! (No pool.)

Once I saw it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I made an appointment with our realtor to go see it by myself, then told Chris all about it. A few days later, he went to see it, too. We spent about 24 hours feeling worked up about making a decision regarding this property. Should we jump on it? Make an offer? Scurry to get this house ready to sell?

But after a restless night’s sleep and a morning spent in prayer and thought and journaling, we decided to stay put.

Does that sound like resignation to you? Does it sound like settling?

I promise, that’s not it.

Intentional, Not Complacent

Here’s what I felt the Lord leading me to: we have been working hard to become debt-free, and moving house would move that needle in the wrong direction. Furthermore, if my restless, angsty feelings about this house are based on my Army-brat itchy feet, there’s no cure for that but tincture of time. If the problem is my looming birthday and some sort of age-related crisis – there’s nothing to do but wait it out. And if the primary problem is my unhappiness with my neighbors, well: Scripture has a lot to say about loving our neighbor, and I probably have a spiritual lesson to learn there – which I wouldn’t learn if I run away.

Sometimes standing still is the most obedient thing to do.

Investment for Contentment

What’s more, we decided we wouldn’t just “stay put.” Rather, we decided to get serious about allllllll those little home projects that we hadn’t gotten around to yet. We started a list, and shopping online for new fixtures, and have made a few calls to pros to get quotes on the work we can’t do ourselves.

Will we need to spend money to invest in these projects? Yup.

But will it be less expensive than moving? OH, most definitely.

Baby at the beach makes a fist pump with caption "totally"

We want to be good stewards of our home, and right now that means investing both time and money. We have a few little projects to fix –I’ll post pictures of the woodworking I had to learn to do when our dog decided to eat a wall!—and some new paint and fixtures to pick out. There are a couple of furnishing upgrades that will make a big difference, and some new storage built into a closet should help that space be both more functional and more pleasant to the eye.

I started an Instagram @kentuckyhome.and.cabin to track our progress and share pictures, so be sure to go follow if home improvements and DIY is your jam.

Beyond Home Improvement

But even if home decor Insta isn’t your thing, don’t miss the bigger message (like I almost did).

There can be many different factors that contribute to an underlying sense of discontentment. It’s good and healthy for us to examine those, and it’s important for us to take all of those things to God. He’s the giver of every good gift, and the one who gives us wisdom and understanding.

Maybe you’re in a stage of life where you DO need more space, more land, an extra bedroom, a garage – and browsing the real estate listings and daydreaming about different houses and neighbordhoods is perfectly appropriate. I’m not at all trying to say that any of those things are wrong or sinful.

The lesson I’ve learned this week is that stewarding the material goods we have looks different in different seasons. For the last few years, we have regarded good stewardship as just saving money and paying down our debts.

But investing in our space is a different way to be a good steward – taking care of this house helps all of us to enjoy it more, helps us to make even more great memories within these walls, and goes a long way to ensuring this place will be a safe and beautiful home for our family for 30 more years.

“In this house, you always have permission to:
ask hard questions * read * play together * give hugs
learn * express all your emotions * worship * ask for help * pray
share something you’re proud of, even if someone is having a bad day
talk about the people who have passed away”

Having a heart of contentment may require investment. Do you struggle with discontentment? Do you think an approach of investment could help change that?

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Confession: I’m afraid that I’m bad at long-term friendships. I know people who grew up with friends from the time they were Kindergarten clear through to their 30s, and they still spend time together and know everything about each other. That amazes me. My brain cannot wrap around it at all.

Go ahead, call me a brat.

We moved a lot when I was a kid. My dad was in the Army, so every few years we packed up and headed to a new place. I got pretty proficient at being “the new girl.” I became an excellent pen-pal. (Do y’all remember back when long-distance landline phone calls cost an arm and a leg? Letters –on paper, with stamps– were the only way to stay in touch with your friends when you left town!)

Me (holding a book of course) and my kindergarten bestie, Jacob in Anderson, South Carolina.

The four years we spent in Texas were my first taste of longevity… my bestie from Fort Sill, Oklahoma had moved to Fort Hood, Texas the year before we did. It felt like a miracle to move into a new home and already know somebody! Plus, our moms and brothers got along well, so we got to see each other once a month or so.

I’m in the center – this is my going away party in 1992 when we left Fort Hood.

Our base housing in those years was on a street on base that was filled with kids. The girl across the street was just my age, bookish and quiet like me, and we spent nearly every day together for three years. (Then her family moved to Corpus Christi, and we became pen-pals. Our moms let us make one long-distance call a month. And then, I got to go spend a week with her in the summer, which was an amazing adventure in my twelve-year-old world. But I digress.)

Julia and me, standing in my front yard in Fort Hood.
Her house is right behind us, with her mom waiting on the carport.

In high school, we had moved again, but I made a new group of great friends. Remember, I was pretty good at making friends. But maintaining those friendships? I’m Facebook friends with a few folks from those days, but really only in contact with one of my high school chums beyond social media.

Me on left. This was an Acteens celebration at First Baptist Church in Hinesville, Georgia

Sisters at heart.

My college years were another chance to pack up, move, and play the “new girl” part. The difference was, we are all new girls. My roommate and I were randomly assigned, but we got along amazingly well and became fast friends.

Me on left with Holly, plus some sweet scrapbooking stickers from the late 90’s

She’s the one who convinced me to rush and pledge our tiny (local, Christian) sorority, and that opened up a world of new friends and sisters who made up most of the fabric of my days in those years.

I’m on the third row, right. This is our “family photo” – my big sis is above me, my roommate is beside me because we “adopted” her when her big sis graduated, and my littles and newly-initiated grand-littles are on the rows below me.

Unfortunately, because I moved after college — and moved again, and again, and again — I really don’t get to see any of those old chums anymore, either. We exchange Christmas cards and keep up on Facebook, and that’s about it.

It’s not you, it’s me.

When I think about it that way, I worry sometimes that I’m deficient. I worry that I don’t have what it takes to keep friends around me for more than a few years. Maybe I’m too much of something off-putting, too little of something important.

It’s a negative spiral when I start thinking that way.

But then, there’s Jesus.

The best of friends.

For one thing, He’s the best comforter when I start feeling blue, when I’m being hard on myself. (That’s not to say He goes easy on my sin — oh no, He convicts me when I’m in the wrong with a friend, and prompts me to make amends and restore relationships. But there’s a difference between conviction and shame, and my Enemy sure loves to whisper words of doubt and shame into my ear. Jesus reminds me of the truth.)

For another thing, he’s the only friend I’ve ever had who laid down his life for me.

I want to be clear: I really, really, really can’t stand the “Jesus is my homeboy,” casual approach that dominated my youth group culture of the mid-90s. I’m not saying Jesus is my friend as if that’s all he is — just a buddy, a pal, a compadre through my crazy life.

No. It would be heretical for me to think or speak of Jesus in only those terms. He is absolutely, without question, a King returning to claim his kingdom; he is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” (Heb. 1:3) He is the only Savior of humanity.

And yet, shockingly, extravagantly, Jesus calls me his friend.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:15

Friendship for eternity.

What have I learned from friendship with Jesus?

  1. There’s an element of self-sacrifice and servanthood to real friendships.
  2. True friends can speak a word of rebuke or correction to each other, and can do so with love.
  3. Friends weep together, celebrate together, and laugh together. No emotion is off the table or too messy to share.
  4. A friend can sometimes see when you’re listening to fear, shame, or other whispers of the Enemy — and counter it with a word of truth.

I’ve never seen a human friendship that gets it all right. (We’re human, we mess up and we let people down, even if they’re our dearest friends.) But I feel like the longer I walk in friendship with Jesus, the better I get at being a friend to the women who are in my life right now.

No, they aren’t the same girls I knew in Anderson, South Carolina when I started Kindergarten, or the young ladies from my Acteens group and color guard in Hinesville, Georgia. But they’re the women who are here — in Owensboro, Kentucky — right now, who I get to share walks and coffee and sushi dates and shopping trips and meme-filled text threads with. And it’s my hope to be a faithful friend for as long as God keeps us in each other’s lives.

What about you?

So, what do you think: do you have a few of those known-em-forever friends or have you collected different groups of friends through the years, like me? How many friends is enough, or too many, at this stage of your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts on friendship through your own years.

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Meet the author


I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!






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