I doubt that I would be actively taking the steps I am today and enrolled in the Lay Counseling Certificate program at the Allender Center without the encouragement and support of my friend Angela. It’s time to write about her.
We first knew of each other seven or so years ago. Occasionally we would engage in small talk before or after church or smiles while on worship team together. She made sure the right words were projected up onto the screen while I was on stage singing with the others. There were conversations ending with, We should get coffee sometime!
It was early fall of 2014 when we exchanged glances during a ministry fair at church. I was representing Stephen Ministry. We talked, and this time set up coffee for real.
This interaction fell on the heels of a painful, yet honest and healing, conversation with another friend about how she had felt hurt by me. That came to a positive resolution, but I still felt gun shy and hesitant about entering into any new friendships. The last thing I want to do is hurt, disappoint, or let someone down, yet I do all three really well.
Coffee was safe and non-committal.
We talked and shared and connected.
There was much going on in my heart at that time. Dear friends that had walked with me through a prolonged difficult life season had moved away, and I had not fully processed the grief that I felt upon losing their close-by friendship. Other close-by friends had moved on into different life stages, as had I, and the way our friendship looked in real life was now different.
I was weary.
Friendship takes time and effort and energy, all things in short supply. I was not prepared for the disruption that was about to take place.
Angela reached out further, inviting me and another friend away for a weekend together at a cabin with her. It would have been easy to have lots of reasons why it just wouldn’t work out. At the same time, I recognized and was touched by her concern and care. I risked reaching back.
We had a great weekend followed by other times of her opening her home for respite. Being neighbors, this was especially convenient.
When she invited me to a To Be Told conference in the spring of 2015, making all of the arrangements, I agreed to go. I had attended the year before with a different friend and wanted to be supportive of her, as well. At the same time, there were things stirring around in my heart that began to trigger another season of disruption.
Oh, beautiful disruption.
I began to call Angela my disruptor, as things had settled into a period of status quo for me after the great upheaval of 2007-2012! I had done lots of personal heart work, moved into a healthier place, and was doing pretty well for myself.
Pretty well isn’t too bad ~ right?
At the conference, I voiced a desire to attend the certificate program. Out loud. She immediately affirmed my dream. You would be great at that!
As one who is used to encouraging and holding dreams for others, it felt odd having someone encourage mine. Even as I type this, I’m sure there are many of you who have offered encouragement, and I don’t want to minimize that. At the same time, something about her words and the timing caught me off guard.
After the conference we worked on the writing assignments and shared our stories together.
I was even more caught off guard last fall when she gave me a handmade card affirming her belief in my skills and support of pursuing the certificate along with tangible ways that she would help it happen. I was overwhelmed.
This is half of the inside of a card created for me by Angela in fall’15 to encourage me to pursue the Lay Counseling Certificate.
It all felt too big and too real.
It is too big. But here I am a year later, enrolled in the program with the support of Angela and many others. She is the one who said, I can set up a GoFundMe account for you! when the cost factor felt overwhelming and was one of my cons.
She did just that, giving my funds a boost, allowing me to see that this was, indeed, a possibility. She is also the one who gathered these words in that process.
Meanwhile, I am grateful for Angela’s friendship just because. Moments of her walking over on snow days for coffee in my corner with me or smiles at school where she teaches PE to my daughter or hugs after church are precious and priceless.
I am grateful for the gift of her disruptive friendship.