It began in an online Bible study group that we both belonged to; I learned a bit of her story and she learned a bit of mine. Our group was pretty close-knit, but sharing my whole heart and soul was still hard for me. I was wrestling with powerful not good enough feelings in my current friendships and struggled to be completely vulnerable.
I prayed for her—for health concerns and her children. She prayed for me—for family losses and stress at work. We exchanged messages on Facebook about our work as Small Group Leaders. It felt natural and easy and we enjoyed helping each other. Wendy took the first step toward vulnerability and sharing, and I felt drawn to her; I felt a strong desire to be a part of her story.
Wendy and I met in person for the first time in August 2014 at a book launch event. Normally, she would be a thousand miles away, but she and her son Alex were on a road trip exploring Civil War battle sites and would be able to attend the event in Charlotte, NC. I was so excited to meet her!
So were about 40 other people she knew through Proverbs 31 Ministries.
We exchanged a brief hello and she was whisked away to meet more of the women attending. It was a short, but powerful, first impression. I could see that Wendy had all the friends she needed and there was little need for me in her life. It was pretty much what I’d experienced with every new school I’d entered as a kid.
What surprised me was a series of messages, after that first encounter, leading up to the OBS Retreat in September. Wendy wanted some time to talk alone—apart from the bustle of a crowd of women. I assured her this would happen, but she seemed uncertain I would follow through.
I arrived at the Retreat with a heart tender from the events of the morning. I messaged Wendy to see if she had arrived; it seemed like we would never be in the same place, but eventually we connected! It was important to me that she know I would keep my promise and that I wanted to get to know her better. I asked if she would like to go for a walk and we headed down the path…about ten yards, to the first available bench. As we sat down, I turned toward her and dove immediately into a pretty serious topic we had messaged about recently. As we talked, I realized our connection was just so powerful! We could finish each other’s sentences from the beginning (OK, I might have been interrupting…) and I felt like she could read my thoughts. We ended up sitting together for every meeting and almost every meal, and we went for a ten-yard walk to that bench on Saturday and Sunday, too.
On Saturday, the speaker encouraged us to consider the dream God had put in our hearts. I knew what mine was, but I was afraid to say it out loud. When Wendy and I took our ten-yard walk, she sensed that I was holding something in and she asked me about it. I dared to tell her about my idea to write a series of blog posts about the ways the different people in my life had influenced me; I wanted to share the “songs” they had taught me.
My Mockingbird idea was laid out in full view.
I was terrified to be so open about my dream, but Wendy loved the idea! She made me promise to write it. She asked me to make a weekly appointment with myself, and promised to hold me accountable (and she has). She offered to review and edit my posts and told me she would always be completely honest about my writing (and she has). Because she tells me what she doesn’t like and what doesn’t ring true, I know I can believe her when she tells me it’s “just right”.
We said good-bye on Sunday with trepidation. I know we both wondered if our date to talk on the phone the next Sunday would actually happen. She was afraid I would forget her when she was 1000 miles away. I was afraid I would never be anyone’s first choice. But our fears were never realized. We talked for an hour that first Sunday; we talked for 90 minutes the Sunday after that. Each day and week and month and year have brought us closer together, as we intentionally and truthfully connect and help each other grow.
And that is the song that Wendy taught me and teaches me every single day. The Song of Truth is the bedrock of our friendship; we share our heart even when it is hard. I know the real Wendy, and love and admire her because she shares herself with me. She knows exactly who I am and loves the real me. And then she challenges me to grow. I am more than good enough and always her first choice!