Monday, October 05, 2009


God has been so good to me. I have moved many times in my life and no matter where I have lived, with only one exception, I have had an group amazing group of friends. The first best friend I remember was Jennifer. We introduced our mothers to each other and they because best friends, so it worked out well. We hung out on the hill in her back yard playing all kinds of pretend. We named it, "Dream Mountain." We preformed choreographed dances, complete with matching outfits, to Tiffany and Debbie Gibson on a regular basis.We spent so much time together our parents had to "ground" us from hanging out for a few days just so we would stop fighting like sisters. They moved away, but our moms were still close, so we got to see them often. I still read her family blog and am so thankful for that first real friendship.
I remember my sweet friendship with two sisters, Jessica and Kym (she used to spell it Kim, but changed it in middle school just because that is something you do in that stage of life:) Man did we have a ton of memories. You know those days when you couldn't drive and had to beg your parents to drop you off at your friend's house? We would spend hours on the phone talking about nothing at all. I remember doing our hair and makeup just cause we were bored. Or even going for walks hoping to run into the neighborhood boys. Silly stuff.
In high school, I met a group of ladies who helped carry me through an absolute hormonal hurricane. Lots of drama and lots of life, I mean a lot! They were as true of friends as you can get at that age, even with the bickers and gossip. We had a lot of fun and even more stories to cherish. I still get to see some of these sweet ladies today all grown up with families and careers. Whew, Alex, Sarah, Gretchen, Erin, Michelle and Mary, I am glad we made it out alive!
Out of high school, I moved to FL for a few years. I connected with my cousins Leanne and Kristen instantly and, let me tell you, there is just something special about family. They showed me Jesus and for that I will be forever grateful. It was there I saw what true Godly women looked, talked and acted like. What a blessing. I learned about the simple life; pure and wholesome. Oh, did I mention the cowboy phase? Yes, I have them to thank for that on.
At Liberty I found some friends to share the most amazing experience of my life with. I have a special place in my heart for Liberty. I grew up there. I changed so much. I learned so much. God used these women to tie my heart to His. Beautiful. That is what I think of Alena, Steph, Angela, Laura, Amber and Jenn.
Lincoln, NE was a bit hard for me. NE is the sort of place where people still have families close by. They go to moms for Sunday dinner, and they are married to their high school sweethearts. They are really nice people, but just just don't have time for new people in their lives. Nor do they need them. It was really good for Shane and I as newlyweds. Coming out of Liberty, we were definitely good friends, we wouldn't have gotten married otherwise. But how close do you have to be when you are surround with such an enormous amount of other great friends as well, which was the case for both of us. So after moving all the way out to NE we had to become best friends. It was perfect. But God made it even better.
I remember being at a vendor fair for local ministries. I was working a booth for the non-profit I was employed by. I saw a girl reading a book on parenting. The second day of the fair we started chatting. It wasn't two minutes into the conversation that my heart was beating so fast at the excitement of a new found kindred spirit. We clicked instantaneously. I have tears in my eyes as I write. There is something so amazing about Natalie. I couldn't even begin to explain it. It might be that we are really just soul mates, or it could be that we share the same passions in life, for our children, our husbands, our desires for our future. It could be that we have so many shared experiences; having babies, ministry, trails, hours upon hours of talking. We have deep, real conversations. Always. We never talk about just nothing. We would rather sit in quiet than talk about something not important. We have not lived in the same state for over four years, and we still talk several times each month, usually while one of us is on the road:) You know, while all the kiddos are car seat bound and you actually have a few minutes of non-productive time. She is the person I run to when I find out I am pregnant, having a major life issue, or even just to ask a quick health question. I love her, and she loves me. Lovely.
She introduced me to my dear friend Sara. Sara taught me how to think outside the box. If it were not for her, I would have missed so much in life. What a crazy, blessed, adventurous, simple, and truth-filled life she leads. These two ladies introduced me to several others. We used to get our husbands together and go on these dramatically planned out date nights, complete with roses and read-aloud poems. That was one thing that was so cool about this group of friends, our husbands were all best friends, too. Thank you Kelly, Kristen, Melissa, Ashley and many more.
Unfortunately, this group moved on. That is what happens as we all began to become grounded at this stage of life. But God, who is always faithful, brought me Kim. We also clicked right away and laughed and laughed together until I had to move away. Not to mention a shared life experience all too real and amazing for words. Kim, I remember the moment on that mountain when you were done, I mean really done. It was together that we walked those last ten steps and made it to the top. A complete victory that made all those 5 am training times worth it. Yes siree! Kim taught me how to laugh and enjoy the small things in life. We spoke the truth to each other and meant it with conviction and love. She was a blessing in my life that only God knew how much I needed, at just the right time. There were others out there in the midwest, too. Sherri, Lenea, Emma, Lisa, the list goes on and on. So much for no-time, family-only NE snobs. Nope, not these ladies. I found the best ones in the state!
That brings me to Fredericksburg. It is here that I have found several friendships I am so very grateful for. Tammie and Mia bring joy to my messy, tired, sometimes downright crazy days. We share coffee and dessert, baby showers and birthdays. We babysit each other's kids and go on double dates together. They have been there for me in my darkest days. They offer encouragement and hugs. It is good to have true friends in my life, even now, after all the good ones, He still blesses me with more.
I have a dear friend whom I have known for years, Julie. Our relationship is not originated in a city, nor is it bound to location. We see each other often, even though we live several hours apart. Her husband and mine have been friends since the second grade. The nature of our relationship allows her to not only be a friend, but a mentor and truth speaker. She has an amazing capacity for patience, seeing the goodness in others and the ability to lead with her heart. That is very rare. We will be friends for years to come and I so look forward to the life we will share together.
Above all, I can say that it has been so fun growing up and sharing life with my family. My mom and sister have become such an intregal part of my days. We spend weekends together. We pick apples together. We shoot wedings together. We do for each other, what others will not do. It is amazing. They have been there all along, but it is now that I can call them true friends.
As you can tell close friendship is so important to me. It really does make a difference in my happiness. I know, God should be enough, but there is something to be said for coffee with a girlfriend. It just makes life better. Thanks to all for making my life richer. I am so very grateful for each and every one of you.
P.S. Sorry to all of you who were friends with me before the digital age. I am in no mood to scan pictures:)


Stephanie said...

So glad I made the list, Jackie! Miss you!

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~The~ Mrs. Ketter said...

Oh Jackie.... You just took me down memory lane! Thank you. I feel the same way. So blessed. I have so many memories of you and me and all the fun things we did together. I miss being young. I miss the east coast. I miss you. I am gonna have to come visit you and your wonderful family someday. At least with the internet, we can still keep in touch so it doesn't seem that we are that far away. :)

Natalie said...

kindred spirits...true. Let me add, walking together while in labor, early morning calls to just check if I'm in labor, knowing that if I am talking with you I will be called out on sin if needed, waiting together for your husband to come home during a tornado, sobbing with you when I found out I was pregnant Again! and have you say,"well, at least we can go shopping for new clothes". I cherish you and every time I see you have called and have missed it I whince and then look forward to my next "driving conversation with my kindred spirit. Praising Him for you and thanking Him that He holds you tight.

Kim said...

i don't know what to say, all i can do is cry. i miss you so much. but God is good and has brought me a friend. and whenever i am with her i think about you, and how i needed her like you needed me. miss you friend.

Natalie said...

late at night, Kris on a trip, and I believe God lead me to reread this post. He knew just how to encourage my heart. How sweet that He can use our friendship even when you are sleeping many states away. Love you, friend.