There's a Nicole Nordeman song that says "You make me want to be brave"-- a sentiment I claim for two of my dearest friends:
This is Beth. Beth with Gertrude, the pumpkin we decorated this October, together as we celebrated her soon-to-come 37th birthday. Welcome to the ranks, friend!
Beth and I grew up together--literally, we were neighbors--from 1st grade through 7th grade. Her mom cooked me good food. I swam in her inground pool. I played with her Barbies. We were tight!
And even when I moved away from my very-good childhood chum, each time we would reconnect it was as if nothing had happened in between. We both grew in different ways, but seeing dear Beth transports me back to being seven or eight. Life was simpler then--and we still love to talk about those simpler times.
But life isn't quite as simple now. Beth, who almost has her support raised to be a full-time missionary in Hungary, started coughing last winter. And the cough wouldn't go away. Though she's been healthy as a horse her entire life, we discovered she had lymphoma, the aggressive kind. Da--ed cancer! I remember the day she called me and told me while I was sitting in the parking lot at the grocery store. I forgot what I was doing, and while I had her on the phone, I asked Jesus to heal her cancer. And to help her to live an abundant life where she can live out of His goodness to us.
After chemo, the cancer is currently gone--but meanwhile, we're enjoying the many looks Beth has been sporting. I almost kept the auburn wig myself...
My friend is brave and true, and I am blessed beyond reason to have her friendship through this life and beyond. Don't doubt for a minute that this girl will end up in Hungary serving Jesus. She just got back from a short trip completed just weeks after her chemo ended. Take that, cancer!
Then there's my dear friend, Brenda. What we haven't shared together!
This is us looking gorgeous at our favorite upnorth spot on New Year's 2007. Brenda's journey has been more difficult than most, but I've watched God redeem every bit of it through the amazing ministry she is in helping others process their life stories. This girl is strong, she's smart, and she has wings to fly in pursuing every adventure God brings across her path. I'll never forget the way she prayed over me while I was in a dark time of depression. What a prayer warrior...what a gorgeous woman, inside and out! I love doing life with Brenda.
Brenda also prayed over David and me during our wedding ceremony last year--a psalm of prayer to ground our new marriage in the promises of God. And she was there every time I needed her encouragement as I let go of my dad and embraced the promise of life with David.
Last Saturday, we met up in Michigan to celebrate Brenda's 40th. Life is taking some exciting turns for my friend, and I soaked up all the goodness, just the sheer pleasure of walking by her side on this journey. Happy 40th, beautiful friend. I marvel at God's amazing work in you.
Both of these dear women make me want to be brave. I'll love them forever...and beyond.