When I was fourteen years old my mother decided it was time for us to come back to church. The one she chose was on the other side of town with more white people than I had ever been around. I was like a black eyed pea that fell into a bowl of milk. The music was different, the money was different and I felt hugely out of place. I think that’s when Catrina found me. I told her things I had never told anyone and she poured good into me until I was overflowing. I think of her everytime I think of forgiveness.
Mrs. Cass was my highschool choir teacher. She spent hours teaching me how to sing. She also spent hours talking to me. Really talking to me about my present and my future. I knew that she wanted the best for me but what I didn’t know is that I would have a friend for life. I didn’t know that as a young mother I would still get the benefit of her care. Imagine my surprise and absolute delight. I still sing songs that she tought me to my children.
On my fifteenth birthday my best friend Cookie threw pebbles at my window to get my attention. When I looked down into my front yard she was standing there holding a chocolate cake with cookies and cream icing topped with fifteen glowing candles. She stood in my yard and sang happy birthday. I don’t remember eating that cake but the memory of her standing outside my window is something I will never forget. There is not much that Cookie and I did not laugh about during the seven years we were next door neighbors and when we moved away I felt like the earth shifted. She was my first best friend and I have known her for 17 years.
When I was eighteen I met Mary and I don’t even remember how. It was like she was always there and after that day she was. We were inseparable. We had a lot of the same struggles and we seemed to be able to fight them better together. Even after her parents were not so sure about this hair dyed, pierced and tatooed girl their daughter brought home, she was a faithful friend. Even after she went away to become a missionary and I got knocked up before I got married she never judged me. She is the David to my Jonathon and I love her very much.
Paul and I decided to go to premarital counseling before our wedding. Well, we half decided and half had to or else we couldn’t get married at Riverview. My friend Lisa and her husband were teaching the class. I had no idea that I was signing up for a marital support group. Lisa is my girl who is never, and I mean NEVER, afraid to tell me the truth. Even when I tell her I’m not taking her advice because I would rather chew my own arm off than say something nice to that man I married. She is a fearless confidant and an honest answer everyday of the week.
Today I baked granola using the recipe written on a scrap of notebook paper titled “Tiffany’s Granola”. Tiffany and I met at MOPS and discovered (over a bottle of Oberon) a deep need to discover what God meant for Christians to do in response to human suffering. We both found our answer and began working together to help the people of Darfur and those that are victims of human trafficking. Everytime I bake granola for our family I think of her faithfulness….and how we sometimes joke about her nickname being Granola because of her hippy-ness.
Last week my friend Nichole painted a picture to put on my wall. Still, patient, gracious, loving, inspired, giving and fierce (not the fashion kind but that is a topic for another blog) hanging from a tree. I have it hanging in my kitchen so that everyday I can look at it and be reminded of the woman I want to be. Every Tuesday morning, I have coffee with a group of woman who are helping me get there just by being in the room.
That painting is a reminder of who I will become because of all of the greatness that I am surrounded with and I am grateful.
* I hope it is obvious that all of the ladies I am grateful for are not listed on this page. If I tried writing about all of you, I would probably never get up and I have kids to raise. I think ya’ll know who you are.