I have these amazing friends . . .
Brave, strong women who are doing generous, amazing work in places like Mali, Haiti, Indonesia, Central African Republic . . . they make me want to be strong and brave.
I have these kind, generous friends who have this amazing ability to sense a need and meet it while the rest of us are only talking about it.
I have this wonderful, sweet, kind friend who is sincerely sweet and kind to every single person she ever meets. She has never met a stranger. She gives to anyone who asks her, and many who don't.
I have this authentic, strong, wise friend who sincerely walks with God, and every morning she sends a text with the verses and honest things that God is teaching her. Every morning it speaks to me, too.
I have this creative, enterprising, godly friend who decided to do something more than just weep for Somalia. She and her kids are setting up a Lemonade stand for Africa this weekend . .. maybe you would, too?
I have this friend with such a pure, childlike heart who is one of the safest people I have ever known.
I have this beautiful, peaceful, humble friend who would never suspect how she carries peace and beauty with her wherever she goes.
I have this funny, independent, crazy-smart and adventurous friend who lives this admirable balance of humor, adventure and contentment; and because of her my life is more of these too.
I have this wise friend who thinks about things- really thinks about them- and then lives with sincere compassion and authenticity and this is who I think of when I hear the word integrity.
And as I write my brain is flooding with faces, so many people I could list here but however I may try to describe them to you- to really tell you about the greatness that is in the soul of these friends I have known- this post would only become sentimental and sappy and eventually you would not believe me . .. though they are true. Every single story I could tell.
When I count my richest blessings it has always been and will always be the people I know or have known. I am crazy-rich.
I have been thinking about how much these friends have blessed and continue to bless my life, of the ways that they unknowingly make me better or stronger . .. quiet, unsuspecting people who are simply living authentically and humbly, the best they can, before God . . . I have seen God and love Him more because of them.
And then I think about how afraid we are, how reluctant to think of ourselves as someone God can use . . . . we only see our failures and just maybe that is because our failures are all that has been shown to us. There are plenty of critics in the world. Plenty of cynics and scorners, plenty of people who feel they need to correct and advise, who have an opinion about everything. Who can survive those voices?
Nope, no one is perfect, it is true. But everyone is great, I am convinced.
Everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be.
I hate orthodox criticism. . . . the small niggling, fussy-mussy criticism, which thinks it can improve people by telling them where they are wrong, and results only in putting them in straightjackets of hesitancy and self-consciousness, and weazening all vision and bravery. . . . And because the most modest and sensitive people are the most talented, having the most imagination and sympathy, these are the very first ones to get killed off. It is the brutal egotists that survive.
(I got to see some friends this weekend . .. beautiful, amazing women whose paths I crossed years ago . .. and it has me thinking about how blessed I am by the people I have known).