Friday, March 8, 2013

Friendship

I love to travel and explore new places.

And, I love things that remind me of beautiful places, like this painting I found at an antique store down the street! (For only $19.95!!)


It reminds me of St. John of the US Virgin Islands. David and I spent a day exploring a corner of this island while we were on our honeymoon.

Since traveling and exploring is something God's hard wired into my being, I'm so grateful that the husband He created for me shares the same passion! When there are opportunities for me to travel and David can't come too, because he understands the desire to go and explore, he's super supportive of me going, even if he has to stay behind.

Last weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to head South to my birth city (SAN ANTONIO, TX) to visit friends and family. 

It was such a beautiful weekend spent with friends and family; there's just so much to share about it. But, one of the biggest take-aways I have from the weekend is of how much love can exist between friends. 

I got to spend all afternoon on Saturday with one of my best friends in the whole-wide world, Ashley. 

Ashley and I met in biology class in high school. My first impression of Ashley was that she was pretty cool because she could pull off wearing a red sweater jacket over a yellow shirt with green pants and look like she stepped out of a GAP catalog. (To this day I don't see how those colors can go together, but she did it!) 

I'm not sure if the fact that we both came from families with deep roots in San Antonio played a part in the development of our friendship, but sharing an understanding of that glorious city and our families' loyalty to it definitely created an extra bond between us. 

Ashley is one of the very few people who knows what my complete heart looks like. Not only has she been there to celebrate my victories and accomplishments, but she's walked with me through my hardest struggles. 

When I was 16 years old, Ashley came over to visit me shortly after the bandages came off of my leg from it's first surgery. Sitting in that doctor's office staring at the purple, eight inch scar up and across my knee, I was horrified. The staples, the shriveled calf muscle, and the leg hair that hadn't been tended to in a loooongg time made it so much worse. It looked hideous.  

But, I showed it to Ashley that evening after I'd gotten home. As I fought back tears while opening my leg brace, Ashley didn't bat an eye. She didn't wince. She didn't purse her lips or tilt her head. She excitedly smiled and said, "You've got a battle scar! It's cool!"

In that brief moment, she taught me how to trust a friend when you're feeling vulnerable or insecure and fearing judgement. Ashley did not judge me, but instead accepted and affirmed me. 

That set a precedent for the rest of my life of what true friendship requires. In place of judgement, within a friendship, you have accountability. A friend says, "I'm not going to judge you because of your flaw, I'm going to help keep you accountable so that your flaw doesn't consume you."

"AS IRON SHARPENS IRON, SO A MAN SHARPENS THE COUNTENANCE OF HIS FRIEND." Proverbs 27:17

Ashley's getting married this summer, to a young man whom I truly believe God created to be her husband. And, sitting in her apartment last weekend, I couldn't keep the tears back. Not this time. These weren't tears of insecurity, but truly tears of joy.  

I didn't expect to be so emotional, but having been on this adventure of marriage for the last 2+ years with the man God created to be my husband, I was overjoyed to know that my best friend was about to embark on her's. 

Leaving Ashley's to meet up with my mom and her best-friend-Roxanne only perpetuated the weekend theme of friendship. Listening to my mom and Roxanne tell stories, watching them talk to each other, seeing how much they care about each other - it's not just because they've known each other since they were teenagers. It's because at some point, someone made a choice to be vulnerable, and the other reciprocated with acceptance and accountability. 

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Ashley and I are notorious for always forgetting to take pictures of the two of us together, so here's a favorite throwback from Mr. Still's Honors Chem Class. 

Fall Semester 2003

Congratulations to Ashley and Andrew on your engagement! 
Soooo happy for you!!!!

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And Praise the Lord for my-mom's-best-friend-Roxanne!

March 3, 2013

We're praying for you, beautiful fighter! Claiming that soon we'll hear the cancer is gone!!

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To me, those photos above are even more beautiful than the destination in my painting. : )

"A friend loves at all times." Provers 17:17a