I didn’t want to write today.

Because I was afraid I wouldn’t give God the proper glory. Because I was afraid that maybe He made a mistake in asking me to write about real stuff and maybe that he was too trusting of me.

Because I have big huge levels of insecure and inadequacy running through my veins today. I got some sad news. I heard some bad news. And I am exhausted. None of those things are a good combination for hope…but then I heard from my friend Brendan.

My first friends in the world were my siblings, but my first EVER friend was my friend Brendan. We met in Kindergarten in Havre Montana, and I was smitten with him. I remember once when we rode the bus and he sat on his sisters lap and pulled on her tights until they had a big hole, and I thought he was the boy of my dreams. My siblings made me call him on the phone…we were in first grade then and didn’t go to the same school. But he said he couldn’t talk long because he needed to watch Transformers. I couldn’t even hear him say goodbye over my brother laughing. I didn’t know much about love, but I knew one thing; I loved Brendan.

And then I moved away. I got his address and sent him a letter.

In second grade we became pen pals. We wrote faithfully for the next 11 years. We talked on the phone a couple times a year. We would meet up every few years. I watched him swim in swim meets when he’d swim at meets in Billings. We’d talk about everything and nothing, and we were friends. The real kind of friends who don’t do small talk, we were always completely ourselves with each other- we talked about our fears about siblings, about being grounded, I told him I was worried about my Dad’s health. The last time we got together he was in Billings for work and I was visiting my Dad. We drove around in his truck for hours. We were 18 and had our entire lives in front of us. We sang Dave Matthew’s, wore our matching hemp necklaces, and laughed for hours. We were so young and had so much life to live…

And then we lost touch.

We both had lives happen. Love, relationships. I got married and I had my kids. He had his beautiful daughter Marley. We didn’t speak for years as our lives twisted and turned and changed. We both went through big seasons and one day after I had been thinking about him off and on for months I searched on FB and there he was…

I wrote him a message and asked. “Is this You?”

And he replied, “Is this YOU?”

And there we were again.

Life has been good, but life has also given us stuff to deal with. BIG huge stuff…

You all know my stuff.

But Brendan…his was in the form of a diagnosis. ALS, Lou Gehrig’s…remember that ice water challenge everyone did and half the people had no idea what it was for…mine was for Brendan. My first real friend.

ALS is a wretched bitch. And has taken much of the things that gave Brendan independence. The kind of stuff we all take for granted. But even the most wretched bitches can’t steal a beautiful spirit. ALS has done nothing to his resilience.

My friend Brendan lives his life…

He is damn funny, even after being released from the hospital yesterday- his sense of humor intact.

And so is his sense of appreciation…he says everyday should be National Caregiver Day, he appreciates his wheelchair and beer, and was so appreciative that the nurses took him to look out the window and watch the Fireworks on the Fourth. He loves his family.

Back a while ago I wrote a post during a week where I was struggling in my own stuff and he sent me this…

Those words meant so much to me…not only because they were unexpected- but because even in his own life and seasons he is still such a good friend. A true friend.

He is so strong. So much stronger than he probably gives himself credit for. And because of his strength I know that no matter what kind of battle I’m facing Life is worth making count.

Even on the days I am exhausted and feel inadequate, those are the days I need to write the most. Because beautiful things can come out of the imperfect.

The past few days this Bible verse has continually been running through my head and resting on my heart…

“Therefore, so that I should not get above myself, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to batter me and prevent me from getting above myself.

About this, I have three times pleaded with the Lord that it might leave me; but he has answered me, ‘My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.’ It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…

And that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and distress for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Those words:  power is at full stretch in weakness…are strong words. They are words of a warrior. And I am in awe of the Warriors that Fight every damn Day.

As I read these words again today, I thought of the Warriors in my life. They were the people I prayed for. They remind me to cling in hope…to hold tight to faith…and never ever give up.

Thank you Jesus for calling me to write the real. Even on the days where all I see are the imperfections. And thank you for the gift of life long friendships…the kind of friendships that remind us that true friends exist.

Thank you Brendan for never giving up. I am proud to call you friend. And as always My family promises to pray for you every single day. You and I, We still have so much life to live!

So much love my dear friend of 30 years…❤️