It all started a year ago. I was at SCORRE Conference in Colorado with a friend. We were having a wonderful time and I hesitated to ask if she would join me for Women of Faith that weekend when we returned home to Minnesota. I wanted to attend and didn’t want to go alone. It turned out to be life-giving for both of us. The first thing she said afterward was: “We’re definitely coming next year!”

A few months went by and I decided to be a Group Leader for the 2015 Women of Faith Loved Tour in Saint Paul, Minnesota; which meant I chose to sell 25 tickets. I’m not a natural organizer. I hate checklists and I have difficulty keeping track of who did what when it comes to collecting payment for anything. I bit my nails and lost sleep about lodging, food and transportation. What I do know is that it’s in my nature to invest in people and pour hope into their life. That is what I do best, so I disciplined myself to organize the weekend in order to share a life-giving experience with dear friends.


It turned out to be a great success. The speakers were inspiring, the music and worship were uplifting, the company was exceptional and 23 of us got to share a special time together. One of the highlights of the weekend was having my husband and children drive 40 miles to provide a meal for us. Not just ANY meal. An AMAZING meal. Hot soup, salads, sandwiches, gluten-free bread and chips, donuts, cookies, cold drinks…

I was surrounded by the love of my friends, the love of my family and the love of God, all in one big package.

Among the many aspects on which I reflected after the weekend, I found three powerful reasons why I love my girlfriends:

  1. Connection: These people get me. We share inside jokes. They don’t care that my kid is five years old and I haven’t lost the baby weight. They don’t run away when they walk into my kitchen that has not been mopped in ages. They have cried with me and laughed with me. They’ve seen me in my pajamas and have changed my kids’ diapers. They drop unexpected thank you notes in the mail and remember my birthday without looking it up on Facebook.
  2. Support: I got texts and Facebook messages when I was waiting to hear back from the doctor after that scary biopsy. I could share with them how scared I was. I can tell them about the latest fight I had with mom. They let me know I am beautiful and loved. They hold me tight and offer chocolate when I’ve morphed into the Wicked Witch of the West during that time of the month (which in middle-age women can last a few years). 
  3. Truth: They know my many flaws. They listen attentively as I rant about my frustration with my lack of housekeeping skills, my struggle to lose weight or my mommy guilt episodes. They still speak truth. “You are doing a good job” “Nobody has it all together” “Me too”.In a world of “mommy wars” they allow me space to be myself without questioning or criticizing my choice to be a working mom.

Girlfriends are a treasured gift. We have granted each other permission to see behind the curtain and share what happens behind closed doors. There is no comparison or competition. There is no tearing down of each other. Just life-giving companionship and unconditional respect.

I am thankful for the gift of friendship and I encourage you to nurture and treasure your people.

How do you nurture friendships? What do you love about your friends? 

Love Fest 2012

This past Memorial Weekend we hosted three families for the whole weekend. We had a total of eight adults, ten kids, ages 2 to 12 and a Great Pyrenees dog. It was exhausting, but it was a blast.

Love Fest
Our Love Fest crew for 2012

Our friendship with these families runs both deep and wide. We met them three years ago when we moved to Wisconsin. They all attend the same church and participate in many activities, such as Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), Christian Experience Weekend (CEW) and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). They are the kind of friends we want to be associated with; people of faith who believe in marriage and family. We have shared with them many meals, birthdays, picnics, prayers, laughter and tears. Each one of my fourteen guests has a special place in my life.

Our weekend together was dubbed Love Fest, because some time ago we participated together in an exercise called Love Circle. It’s a series of six meetings designed to build faith-centered friendships among married couples. Love Circle allowed us to get to know each other at a deeper level and build an environment of trust among us. We had some difficulty with bad weather forcing the kids to be indoors more than we expected. However, they all found something to do and someone to play with. The food was awesome! It was a three-day potluck experience. We played family games like Guesstures and dominoes, watched movies and watched the kids run through the slipping slide. We had a costume party and face painting on Saturday and we attended church together on Sunday.

On Sunday night we went around the table saying what we are thankful for and what we liked the most. The best answer came from one of the older boys, “I’m thankful for Love Fest!”

Here are the lessons I learned about family, friendship and faith:

  • When you open your heart and your home to those who love you, you will receive many more blessings than you can give.
  • It is true that it takes a village to raise a child. Be thankful for friends who you can trust to be a positive influence on your children.
  • You know you have close friendships when your guests make themselves at home… And help you do your dishes!
  • Relationships can be as simple or as complicated as we want them to be. If you cherish the time you spend with your friends, regardless of what you are doing, be thankful for that moment.
  • Teach your kids that marriage and family are a blessing and that they are worth fighting for.

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