My sister Melissa is one of my favorite people in the world. She is also one of the most funny people in the world. I mean, maybe this doesn't sound funny to you, but if you could only hear her say it, I promise you would be laughing and you would be in love... with her that is. Here is an excerpt from her blog today:
"Sorry for the long delay! I'm sure most of you thought Tim and I fell into the ocean and were eaten by angry dolphins, or maybe you thought Hawaii doesn't receive internet connection, that it is really like the TV show LOST and some evil weird guy named Ben is jamming all the satellite devices on the island. Well, the sad truth is, I've just fallen behind on life and I'm only beginning to catch up."
Angry dolphins? This cracked me up. Melissa has a great blog up today about Esther (and yes, my sister is like the most beautiful person in the world, so don't hate her, she can't help it). Check it out and leave her a comment if you get a chance. That will make her happy and it will surprise her (cause Lord knows she's about 6 months behind on this blog, so it really will be a surprise! Oh yay, I love this idea. Surprise Jenny's sister day! Lets leave her like 100 comments! I can't do this with my other sister though... she actually reads what I write! Thanks Miguel :)
I am sitting on the front porch of our recording studio in Franklin, Tennessee. The part of Franklin I am sitting in is part Pleasantville, part Bridges of Madison County, part Fried Green Tomatoes (please tell me you have watched this), and part Horse Whisperer. Beautiful. Wealthy. Classy. Refined. Lots of moms gathered at adorable tea parlors and pastry shops having coffee and then heading out, in their Range Rovers, for yoga class together. Not exactly the picture of middle class America. At least not the middle class America I come from.
And low and behold as I am taking in the richness of this beautiful moment two ghetto, souped-up, low-riding, bass thumping cars pull up at the stoplight in front of the studio. One car is red. One car is silver. They both rev up their engines, which is totally impolite to do in front of such beautiful fall leaves and refined lady folk in their fancy cars. Totally impolite. I worry these two cars are from opposite gangs. I worry they are about to spill their red blood into my very beautiful, black and white, Pleasantville movie scene.
Then in an unexpected moment of ghetto chivalry, the low-riding thugs who apparently did not know one another exchanged polite waves to each other. It was so cute. Even the thugs are classy here. I love this place.
One of my best friends, Kim, has a great blog up today. I have been wanting to tell you guys about Kim and I for some time now. She showed up out of no where like a long lost relative, made herself at home in my life, and pursued me with the intensity of a Mark Kay lady. (No offense Mark Kay ladies. I love ya. I'd love you a whole lot more if someone could get me a sample of that lip stuff that makes all the dead things go away and promises to make you the bestest, most kissable lipped person in the world).
Kim has four kids, a smarty-pants husband (who, by the way, is a really amazing husband), three sisters, a mom, and a cat. Ok. No cat. But it sounded really good right there. The truth is, Kim and I technically shouldn't be good friends. She is older than me and has a 12 year old. I am younger than her and barely know how to keep my newborn alive. We live in different cities. We go to different churches. We have different circles of friends. We have different hobbies.
But one December, after I was ready to give up on music, my marriage, and my faith I sat down with God and told him I was tired. I asked him for help. Begged him for a friend. A mentor. A spiritual counselor. Someone who had enough time to keep up with me on the road, who had enough energy to encourage me and love me, who had enough courage to confront me, who had a desire to pour into me the same amount of time and passion I was pouring out on those around me. Someone I didn't have to hassle or please or beg or do anything for... they could just step in and be something for me because they wanted to. It was a tall order. But I needed tangible, sacrificial love from someone down here on earth. I told God it was a deal breaker. Among many other deal breakers, this was at the top of the list.
And a few days later this (lady/girl/woman, I wasn't sure how to define her?) that I vaguely knew from an old church I led worship at wrote me an email. I still have it printed out and saved in my forever box. Out of no where she wrote and said, "Jenny, this sounds crazy, but I think I am supposed to be your friend." She went on to say she thought I needed support, love, prayer, a mentor, an encourager, someone who would pour into me the way I poured into others and someone who just did so without even being asked to. Y'all word for word, out of NO WHERE, Kim wrote me an email that, methodically and in-detail answered every single thing I had begged the Lord for.
We have been amazing friends ever since. The first year she sort of nursed me back to health. And hopefully the second year I have just been her equal and been able to pour into her and give her a few of the things she has given me. Had you asked me three years ago if I would ever have good, lifelong, life-giving friends I would have said... "nobody likes me, everybody hates me (or uses me or doesn't know that I even need anything or they are just lazy friends), I guess I'll go and eat worms." I would have never said, "Yes, I am going to have amazing people in my life and be best friends with a mom who has four kids."
Let's be honest, I would have thought that might be sort of lame. Nope. It's just the way it is supposed to be. I am best friends with a mom who has four kid. She sort of feels like my sister. Sometimes my mom. Sometimes my friend. Sometimes my pastor. She wears a lot of hats.
And that whole long story came up just because I wanted you to know that she has a really good blog up today.
Kim and Leon have started a Sunday morning breakfast club for the kids in their neighborhood (kids who really need the love they are not getting at home). This blog details her journey.
Kim might not ever live in Africa, she might not ever adopt orphans, she may not do the things you or I would associate with someone who is on a completely selfless, monk-like, Mother Theresa journey, in some foreign land... but she is one of the only moms I've ever met that just takes her kids, on a regular basis, to find homeless people so they can give them water, blankets, and some extra clothes from around the house.
Kim is one of the only ladies I know that stuck with a church that was literally dying; not because it was the place that best met her needs or provided the greatest programs for her children, but because they felt God calling them to stay... calling them to be a part of making it better.
Kim sits outside, during her precious free-time (which means she has to wake up earlier or go to bed later to get things done) so she can play mom to a bunch of girls in the neighborhood who really need the love of a mom.
Kim give me her extra shopping money so I can go buy "concert clothes." She could be using it for herself, her house, her kids, any number of things, but she gives it to me because she wants me to feel confidant on stage (and knows I'm too broke to get new stuff!).
Kim reminds me, and hopefully she will remind you, that if you seek to live each day thoughtfully, it doesn't matter where you are or who you are (or how flawed you might be as she will attest she is not a perfect lady), God can use you to be a part of what He is doing. Through her simple story of starting a breakfast club and inviting the neighborhood kids over for pancakes, crafts, and dance time I was convicted.
It's just so simple.
Living beyond yourself. Pouring into others. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a saint. If you choose to partner with the nudgings of God's very spirit you can make a lasting difference in people's lives. You can be a catalyst. God can use you.
Four kids in the suburbs and all.