Tag: Friendship

Sitting in the Meantime

When we saw TobyMac in March, he said something that resonated with me. He commented about the length of time between his album releases and said that’s because he needs to live life between albums so that he has something to sing about.

When I wrote the one and only song I’ve ever written, I told God that I was okay with never writing one again because it took sending Tori to Heaven to have the inspiration and ability to write it. If that’s what it takes, I’m good now ūüėČ

I’ve been mostly quiet on here for a while now because life hasn’t given me much content lately – which is perfectly okay! I am completely satisfied with life going smoothly, which it mostly has been (normal mother-of-twins ordeals aside).

However, as I blogged earlier this week, I’m now in a situation providing me with content…a situation I sincerely wish could be resolved but it’s out of my control at this point.

I’ve been sitting in silence, not pressing this friend to reconcile or respond, not offering further explanation as to my intent or my heart. Just waiting.

Someone recently used the phrase “sitting in the meantime” and I loved it. That’s where I am – sitting in the period of waiting for resolution. I’ve relinquished control (difficult) and am being still before the Lord, waiting for His guidance and for my friend to reach out IF they choose to do so.

And it’s challenging.

Because, in the meantime, I just want to fix things. I want to talk. I want to meet up for coffee and explain, yet again, that my words were not said out of anger but love. That there has to be a huge misunderstanding because I thought everything was good between us, but clearly there was some harbored resentment that caused this to blow up. That everyone makes mistakes and grace should be offered abundantly. But I can’t. Not until the other person reaches out.

I don’t like being in the meantime. There is no defined timeline, no rule book, nothing for me to accomplish except to wait and to pray, to work on my own heart and to ask God to use this to grow my own character.

Life will go on if this friendship ends, but not without some grief on my part. Unresolved conflict is so very hard for me to live with especially when I feel I’ve done all I can to live at peace with others (Romans 12:18).

If you find yourself – now or in the future – “sitting in the meantime” with no end in sight, run to the Lord. Read His Word. Trust Him. Remember all the great things He has done in your life and in the lives of others.¬†He isn’t just watching from the sidelines – He is right there in the meantime with you.

The Power of Words

I was in sixth grade when I realized the power of words for the first time. 

For whatever reason, I decided to write a letter – a very mean one – to someone who was a friend of mine, a friend who had done nothing wrong. To this day I have no idea why I wrote it, but I have never forgotten the lesson learned. That girl and I were never friends again and because we had hung out in the same group of friends, it made my life so awkward. I still feel shame when I think back to how I made that girl cry.

It happened again in high school with my best friend. I decided that I didn’t want to be friends anymore (eye roll) and wrote a letter. Sigh. My parents kept telling me to stop writing letters and that was the last time, THANKFULLY. She and I are still friends to this day (31 years and counting) and our friendship is stronger because of it, I think.

I can’t go back to sixth grade or high school (THANKFULLY) but I’ve tried to be very careful with my words ever since. While I certainly still make mistakes, I do what I can to avoid having difficult conversations via text/email because of the inability to read tone. I choose my words carefully and use abundant emojis to convey my emotions.

Everyone has a lens through which they perceive and process life, and we all have our own “settings” and filters through which we process information; because of that,¬†I also do everything I can to assume the best when others write to me and never assume that they are being rude, mean, or angry. I read the tone as being friendly unless proven otherwise. I don’t know what may be behind the words, I don’t know what mood they are in or what is happening in their life, so I choose to believe they are being kind.

This week I was reminded that I can only control my words and my responses. I was reminded that, as well-meaning and good as I may think my words are, they are up for interpretation by the receiver and the result may be less than ideal.

I have, yet again, found myself in a situation where I may be losing a friend because of words (but NOT with a mean letter like sixth grade or high school!) even though that is the complete opposite of what I want. And it has been devastating.¬†Looking back, I can see why this person took what I said the way that they did, and I can also see how this could have been avoided entirely had I done it in person. It was just easier to text, so I did. And now we’re in a mess.

I don’t write this for pity (I made the mistake). I don’t write this for gossip (hence the lack of details). I write this to encourage you to stop having difficult conversations with written words. Pick up the phone. Get together. FaceTime. Hear the person’s tone. Assume the best. Be willing to accept feedback and constructive criticism from those who love you. Offer abundant grace to your imperfect friend/family member. Don’t allow friendships to be destroyed because of misunderstandings that could have been avoided.¬†

I clearly still need to learn this lesson. Maybe this is why the Bible is filled with verses about using your words wisely.

I’m still praying that things will resolve and that we can grow stronger because of this conflict. But, I also know that we live in an imperfect world with imperfect humans and that may not be the reality. So, while I am grieving this apparent loss, I’m also renewing my determination to be careful with my words and to never have discussions via writing when they can be better resolved in person.

Friendships are too rare and too valuable to be lost over misunderstandings. Be wise with your words.

Day Eighteen: Brennan is Thankful For…Loyalty.

Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This was originally posted on 11/18/12 (with slight changes made today).

Since I (Lesa) wrote the first seventeen, I asked Brennan if he’d like to contribute anything…and he said yes! ¬†So here’s a post from him…

As I think of some of the more significant times in my life, a lot of them revolve around the aspect of loyalty: people loyal to me and me loyal to them. It is often an overlooked¬†character¬†trait. I know for a fact that if it weren’t for some very loyal friends and family in my life, there is no way I would be as successful or even as happy as I am now.

To start, I would say that my best friend Jeremy has been by far the most loyal friend I’ve ever had. This is not to say that I haven’t had other very loyal friends, but Jeremy takes the cake. He has been as good a friend as he has been a mentor to me for over 18 years. There were a few occasions where I was in a tough spot, whether it would be spiritually, emotionally or whatever, that would send people running for the hills leaving me to figure it out and endure on my own or fall flat on my face. Jeremy was there to lend a hand, pick me up, listen or whatever I asked until I overcame. I, in turn, have done the same for him which I think has¬†strengthened¬†our friendship. Some may think this is a “duh” statement, but I mention it because I have seen too many people engaged in friendships where both parties think they have each other’s back only to find out this is not so. That has never been the case with Jeremy. No matter if we were 15 minutes or 6 hours apart (yes, these distances are accurate), we have always made ourselves available to talk or simply hang out. Aside from our wives, we are each other’s “go-to” people.

Speaking of wives, mine is simply the best. Yeah, I know, all husbands are somehow obligated to say this…except that I actually mean it and believe it. My wife, Lesa, has been by my side from Day–1 no matter how much of a bonehead I’ve been, no matter how grumpy I’ve been, and definitely no matter how crazy I’ve been (good crazy too ūüôā ) She always values my opinion and respects the decisions I make, even if it can possibly end in failure. She is the epitome of a godly wife that I have always longed for and she daily shows me the loyalty that we both swore to each other on our wedding day. I in turn show the same type of loyalty, and one part of that is by resisting the temptations of this world that I’ve seen other men fall into. I simply won’t allow it because of the love and respect I’ve promised to show her all the days of our lives.

In a world where loyalty is a lost¬†character¬†trait, I value it at the top. This is because of the importance of it and the impact it can make in people’s lives. It’s made incredible differences in my life and will continue to do so, I’m sure. Like most other things in life, you get what you put into it. It’s a give and take trait. All give and no take, and visa a versa, leads to heartache and disappointment; and that’s something I do not wish to deal with or do unto anyone else.

Day Eight: I’m Thankful For…Friendships

Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This was originally posted on 11/08/12 (with slight changes made today).

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts that God has bestowed upon us. In the past twelve years, He has brought the most incredible people into my life–some for a season, some for a lifetime…all for a purpose. I am SO very thankful that He has continually provided women (and men) who are willing to live life with me…to laugh together, cry together, explore together, and worship together. This post is fairly lengthy because God has so richly blessed me…and I didn’t even talk about all of¬†my friends! I decided to focus mostly on the women¬†who were in our wedding.

I had 22 roommates before I got married, and each of them impacted my life in some way. While I don’t keep in touch with all of them, I do think about them all often because of the memories that we shared.¬†Allison, Sara, Leslie, Jessica B., Alli, Katie, Rebecca, Johanna, Jen, Brianna, Kori,¬† Jessica E., Erin B., Courtney, Kait, Erin, Ananda, Mindi, Molly, Christy, Laura, Lena.¬†I learned so much about living with others and I became a better person as I was sharpened by each one of these women in different ways. We made so many memories together–especially my freshman/sophomore year… ūüôā

There are so many other women in my life who I spent hours and hours with though we never lived together…¬†Cara,¬†Christina,¬†Amberly, Jessica B. and Kim,¬†to name a few.

In Northern California, there are several friends from camp years who are still some of my dearest friends…too many to name. We try to see at least a few every time we visit NorCal, but it doesn’t always happen unfortunately. So thankful for all of my years attending church camp with these people.

In Southern California, I was blessed to have two friendships that will last a lifetime: Kevin and Dannylle. The three of us hung out all the time between September 2006 and July 2008 (when I moved). We watched The Office and 24, we cooked/ate, we went on adventures (sailing to Catalina was the one that started our friendship), we celebrated holidays together, and we spent hours talking. Hours. Dannylle even donated some of his hair along with me when I did it in 2007 for the first time.

Those two men are two of the most godly men that I have ever encountered and I love how they sharpened me. There was such freedom in our friendship to be honest and to confront when we saw an issue. We walked through rough times together and we walked through great times. We served the Lord together through missions and youth ministry. They were like the big brothers I never had. Now we all live in very different places, but we will always be family. When I moved to Pennsylvania, the hardest thing about leaving was knowing that I would be leaving those two.

But, God was faithful and He has brought me incredible friends here in Pennsylvania, as I knew that He would.

Before I moved here I met¬†Ashleigh¬†through a mutual friend and our friendship deepened even further once I moved here. She helped me so much with applying for jobs within the House of Representatives and offered advice during my job search. When we both worked in downtown Harrisburg we would meet for lunch at least once a week, and we still try to get together regularly. When I began dating Brennan she was always there to offer wisdom and advice, all biblically based and practical. She is someone with whom I can be completely honest (and she with me) and she has been by my side through so much since I moved here. We are so alike in so many ways, yet very different in others…and both have worked to¬†strengthen our friendship.¬†Ashleigh was a matron-of-honor in our wedding and I was so thankful to have her by my side throughout that process and the years that have followed.

Through the same “young adults ministry” where I got to know Brennan better, I also met¬†Shannon. From our earliest meetings I just knew that we’d become great friends…and I’m so glad that the Lord has brought us together. She has taught me so much about things ranging from autism to jewelry, and I have helped her with various things as well. We NEVER have a dull moment together. We share a love of photography and I have loved watching her grow in her God-given ability to capture moments. I know that when I have a problem, Shannon can help me solve it. Her counseling background is invaluable as she always knows the questions to ask to get me thinking. Shannon also stood by my side at our wedding and I know that our friendship will be lifelong.

Shannon, Ashleigh and I met regularly for coffee until they both moved (Shannon moved to Texas, Ashleigh moved 45 minutes south of us). I am very thankful for the discussions that we have when we can get together (though it’s hard to get a word in sometimes!) and for the ways that God is using us in each other’s lives.

I met my “sister”¬†Cheyenne¬†in June 2002 when I lived with her family in Williamsport for two summers. It has been so amazing to watch our friendship grow, and I am so thankful for her. We don’t see each other as often as we’d like (we are both TOO busy! :)) but there’s always a sense of picking up right where we left off. She was instrumental in my decision to move to Pennsylvania and was so excited about me being only a little over an hour away! She was a matron-of-honor in my wedding and I am so thankful that she was there for me throughout the entire wedding/marriage process. I have learned so much from her in the past few years about marriage and love. She introduced me to the “Love Languages” books years ago and she has offered many other words of wisdom over the years. She is always encouraging and challenges me to be a better person through her example. I am very thankful that this woman (who I met on a dark, stormy¬†night with no electricity ūüôā ) has become a sister.

I gained a sister when I married Brennan, though I actually met¬†Kelly¬†before I met him. I had always wanted a sister, but God gave me a brother instead ūüėȬ†Now I have two sisters! Kelly is a blessing to me, and I am so glad that I get to live life with her forever as family now. She is so kind, patient, funny, and loving. From the very beginning she welcomed me into the family with open arms. I loved having her by my side during the wedding process, and I was so honored to stand by her side as she married Angel. I really look forward to deepening our friendship as the years go on!

Kristin¬†is my first cousin, and we have always had a special bond. Out of seven grandchildren on my mom’s side of the family, we are the only girls. We also grew up a mile apart, so we spent a great deal of time together until I moved to Southern California. Whenever we are in our hometown at the same time (she lives in San Diego now), we get together and go on photography adventures. It was actually on one of those adventures that I shot my “famous” truck photo (the rusty truck with the mountains in the background). I love spending time with her and I’m very thankful that God made us cousins. ūüôā

My most uniquely formed¬†friendship to date is with¬†Victoria. She and I have been friends for over¬†20 years¬†but we didn’t actually meet in person until 2002. ūüôā In fourth grade (we think…it might have been third), we both happened to write in to be matched up with¬†pen pals from¬†American Girl¬†magazine. We were matched up–me in California and her in Ohio…and we’ve been writing ever since that time! Granted, our methods have changed over the years (I really should write more letters these days), but she is still a dear friend. We have spent time together in person five times now in the past ten years (in Ohio/Kentucky, Pennsylvania, California, and Tennessee), and I can’t wait for more adventures with her. We are so similar and have the same love/passion for music. She is a talented singer/songwriter and I love watching her grow in that!¬†God uses such amazing ways to bring people together. I was so thankful that she was able to stand by our side at our wedding…she has definitely enriched my life over the past 20+ years.

(Shannon, Kelly, Cheyenne, Lesa, Ashleigh, Victoria, Kristin)

So many other¬†friends that I could mention…but I’ll just leave it at that since this post is so long already. These women¬†were not only¬†by my side for my wedding, but they have been (and will be) my friends for life. ūüôā

God is SO gracious in His blessings to His children.