Getting Built by Encouragement

There is so much to learn.  It comes from deep.  It comes from wide.  Learning comes from choosing compassion, connection and sometimes pain.  It comes from being humble, bold and brave.  I am constantly encouraged and inspired by great men and women around me.  I hope to become more of who I am by God’s truth and by the path others are walking.  I am getting built by Encouragement.

What I Learned as a Friend: It feels like the stars have come out when you share with your closest friend what God puts on your heart for this season of her life.

What I Learned as a Parent: It is essential to treat your kids equally and to teach them the value of equality.  That way, they will know that nothing is impossible by their own experience and by definition.  Inspired by my own mother and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Malala Yousafzai.

Verse:   Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 

Deep Thought: Driving on the expressway a few weeks ago, I pushed back on making a phone call.  I finally made a deal with myself that I would make the call when I got to my exit.  The call stretched me and caused a certain amount of relational tension.  Later, I see that change does not happen without connecting.  Without bringing about a certain amount of tension with the eyes of compassion. Change does not happen without being bold and brave.  Thanks in part to Seth Godin’s keynote message at Leadercast 2015.

Quote: You don’t have to be an extrovert or fearless to be a bold leader.  You don’t have to have a specific gift or talent.  You don’t have to be ultra smart or resourced.  You need clarity around an unreasonable commitment to what should beParaphrase from Andy Stanley’s keynote message at Leadercast 2015.

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me: Roarke Denver, US Navy Seal Commander, I love the way he speaks about his family with gentleness, shares his combat experiences with humanity and the way he defines the path to bravery.

My Prayer to You: I pray that we would trust the way God speaks to us and that we would share His insight when He calls us to.  I pray that there would be no sweeter moment than putting words into God’s Book of Remembrance.  I pray that we would remember that all of us are conduits of bravery and capable shaking fear.  I pray that we would remember the call on humanity to equality.  And, that there is no greater cause than laying down your life for your friend.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Christie A.

Abby A and Christie A

By AbbyA

We walked into each other’s lives at a dinner party.  Her work colleague was my best friend N.  N’s last gift to me before moving far away was the promise that Christie A. and I would hit it off perfectly.  Towards the end of the party, we sat down at the long dinner table and confirmed the few things we both already knew.  Yes, we went to the same church.  We were both lawyers and fairly newly married.  That’s it and we were off to the beginning of one of the sweetest friendships I have ever known.

Christie A. is a tough cookie.  She flings words around like – See you later, loser or You’re a dork – like it’s nothin’.  Me, on the other hand, I have a medically confirmed non-existent level of testosterone and surplus of estrogen.  In other words, thin skin and sometimes fluffy.  Christie A. finds all of this hilarious and tells me that it explains a lot.

Christie A. and I share a seriousness about the things of God.  We have sat on her plump couch snuggled in blankets sharing our souls over conversations that I think must be in His Book of Remembrance.  Malachi 3:16.   She is the kind of friend that I get so excited to see – – so much so, because I know we will get a chance to talk about God and spiritual things late into the night.  She will undoubtedly offer for you to sleep over.  And, most of the time, you can’t resist the comfort or welcomeness of her home.

Christie A. loves things like Pepperidge Farms cookies and red wine.  She loves orange and blue together for some incomprehensible reason.  She loves her boy N.V. and her man.  She follows rules, breaks them when necessary and stands up to fight when she is called to it.

She’s undergone pain and loss.  First through almost losing her boy N.V. shortly after his birth.  Later through almost losing her marriage.  But this woman doesn’t clam up or give up.  Even when she is lying broken on the floor, she grasps onto truth and life.

God has plans for her beyond her wildest imagination.  I think she is in a place where she can see that now.  I am the friend who found just enough favor with the Lord to see just a glimpse of what is ahead of her.  I am the friend who at times has been able to share with her what I see in that glimpse.  God has made me one of the many vessels in her life.

And, she has been a vessel to me by leaning away from her tendency to be opaque.  By being transparent.  By choosing to trust me.  By telling the truth.  By being steadfast.  By prospering out of the pit.  By going against her grain to wear her heart on her sleeve just to be my friend.  That is my friend, Christie A.