Golden Girls.

I am seriously behind on my thankfuls because of the long weekend.  So, here you will get Day 10, 11, 12 and 13 all in one.

Over the past couple of years, I have found myself exceedingly grateful for my friendships.  Recent years have come with plenty of ups and downs and my friends have been there to support me, especially during some of  the worst times.  So, all of today's post is about my different types of friends.

Day 10:  Friends of embarrassments past. These are my friends who I do not really keep in touch with in any significant way, but they are woman that I am so thankful for because they were a huge part of my life at one point or another.  A lot of these people loved me during some very unlovable seasons of my life, and they probably hate me for it now... but, I still consider them friends because they shaped me, tolerated me, refined me, or yelled at me when I needed it.  These are childhood friends, or college roommates that had to know me during some rough stuff, and while I was the ugliest, most broken version of myself.  These are people who I think about all the time (usually with total shame and embarrassment) but also with deep gratitude.

Day 11:  Friends from a distance.  These are friends who live anywhere but Rochester, NY.  Some of them are in Philly, some in Michigan, and others in Arizona, Kansas City, Boston, and Portland.  How much we keep in touch is usually determined by some wave of influence, like an impending visit, or need for advice, or some announcement about a major life change... or spontaneity and/or desperation to talk with someone who loves you, understands you, and has for a long time.  If I say that I am behind on laundry, most people think "yeah, sure... that makes sense, you have a lot of kids."  Only my long-distance friend, Heather, knows and understands what laundry failure really means for me.  Even though these women are far away, most of them know me better than the friends I see on a regular basis.  Some things, you can only learn through laundry freshman year.

Day 12:  Friends that are family.  I am lucky to say that some of my best friends are family first.  My sisters are also my best friends... all my sisters (biological, step, in-law) are some my closest and dearest friends.  There is something comforting about being loved by people who really don't have any other choice.

Day 13:  Friends who do life with me. These are women who I discuss books with, who I study the Bible with, who I cry with, and cry for.  These are women who have heard me sing (which I do loudly and constantly, despite having once been told by a college roommate that "even Jesus does not like my voice.")  Some have seen a baby come out of me, some have seen me throw up, some have seen my house (and my person) in a deplorable and unsanitary state, and they have all seen me cry.  (And dance.  If you haven't seen me dance, we really can't be that close.) They have forgiven me for a world of shortcomings, and still do life with me, pretending that people like me are normal.

It is a beautiful thing to have friends that have seen me at my worst and at my best.  They are one of the purest and most tangible ways that I can trust and believe that God exists.  He is the God that sees, and He has given me a slew of crazy friends throughout the years... all who have seen me, for better or worse, and have loved me in spite of an absurd amount of flaws, with a grace that only a merciful and very forgiving God could give.

*My challenge is for you to call one friend from each category and thank them for seeing you at your worst, and loving you anyways.