I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, February 14, 2011

Friendship and Valentine's Day

Since today is Valentine’s Day I could write about fragrant red roses, romantic candlelight dinners, or even how to plot a romance between our story’s hero and heroine, but I’m not. Besides, Suzie does a much better job at the latter than I ever could. (Check out the 7 Scenes Every Romance Needs.) I choose instead to honor the friends that I’ve had in my life.

In the Bible, Jesus openly wept at the grave of Lazarus. John was known as the “disciple whom Jesus loved." God gives us friends -- some for a season, some for our whole life, and some for a specific purpose.

Here is my list:
I thank the Lord for two very special people who are now with Him. One, a friend since grade school, died of cancer at the of 30, but during her brief time here she stood beside me during some of the darkest times of my childhood. The other, my husband’s brother, the brother I never had, also died very young. I, like Jesus – wept at his grave. I can’t wait to see both of them when He calls me home!

I have two life-long friends, who I met when our girls were but infants. We have walked a long road together, through the good times, through the hard times. We’ve shared laughter and tears, and lots and lots of secrets! ;-) You know who you are – I love you dearly.

To a wonderful friend who I worked with for 15 years – I miss seeing your smiling face. To those I’ve met a church, at writers groups, at work, and anyone else I missed – I count all of you as a blessing in my life.

To the Ponderer’s, a group of women that God has banded together, prayer warriors, encouragers, burden bearers. I love the uniqueness each one of you brings to our group. I thank God for you and the relationship only He could have created between all of us.

To my husband, my very best friend – I love you more than I need to breathe. And to God – my guiding light, my Savior, but most of all my friend – I am nothing without you.

Jesus understood the need for friendship: He loved his friends, prayed for them, wept over them and saved them. He does the same for us.

To all of you - Happy Valentine's Day!

Jennie Atkins

Now it’s your turn. What friendships shaped your life? Touched your heart? Lifted your spirit?


  1. On the day so many loathe, it is good to have a reminder that love isn't just for lovers. I can honestly say that I've never thought to celebrate friends I love today. Thank you, Jennie, for a new perspective.

    I'm thankful for school friends, those with whom I've kept in touch, and those I've recently found again. I'm thankful for church friends who are always ready to bear my burdens. My mom, who became my friend when I was 19; her mom unexpectedly died and we realized life was too short to bicker over stupid stuff. My sister-friends (including my husband's sister), gifts of God who love and encourage me, who laugh and cry and hug and even scold when necessary. Also, I'm amazed and grateful that by God's divine appointment this wonderfully diverse group of pondering women was created. God is so good!

    I'm beyond thankful to have married The Most Amazing Man On The Planet; it will eternally boggle my mind that he wanted me for forever. If I wrote a novel in which the male main character was modeled exactly after him, publishers and agents would reject it on the grounds that he was not believable. UNbelievable, that's my Prince Charming.

    And as always, my loving creator and friend, Jesus. He never leaves or forsakes, sticking closer than a brother. What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. There is no better friend. Thank you, Jennie, for reminding me to thank Him for all of His good gifts, including good friends. Love you!!

  2. Beautiful post, Jennie.

    I'm so thankful for my friend Susan, who has been my best friend since first grade. We are states apart, but we still keep in touch on a regular basis.

    I'm thankful for my Coffee Girls--the 5 of us share similar interests. As colleagues, we've come together over coffee and became good friends.

    I'm thankful for my Ponderers. These girls get me. They've shared my frustrations and joys in my writing journey.

    I'm so thankful for my church family. We're a small church, so those relationships are so much more personal.

    I'm beyond thankful for my family. We love and support each other through trials and rejoices.

    And finally, I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for God's unconditional love and never ending grace.

  3. Thankful for this, Jennie, and for you beautifully and sensitively expanding this beyond the obvious. God helped you make Valentine's Day a day for everyone. Bless you and thank you!

  4. This is great, Jennie! You've turned my mind to thankfulness this morning...I have been blessed with such amazing people in my life. Here's just a few:

    -My parents. They are the best parents ever, such incredible examples to me of how to live life well.

    -My grandparents. Two people I treasure so much!

    -My siblings - Amy, Nathanael, Nicole and bro-in-law Chip. Oh, the memories!! And nephew/miracle Ollie. Oh, such a spoiling you're in for!

    -The best girlfriends a girl could ever ask for: Laura, Maggie, Mel, Ruby. Someday I will convince you all to move to central Iowa!

    -The Ponderers!!!!!!! Really, the exclamation points should say it all. I had no idea when I went to that first storycrafting retreat that I'd come away so crazily blessed with rockin' sweet new friends! The lifelong kind.

    -Jesus. Love-incarnate.

  5. Heidi, I, too, am so thankful you turned my heart and my eyes toward thankfulness on this "Day of Love." God truly has placed so many in my life for whom I am thankful. I start with Jesus, who is ever faithful, and patient with this childish girl. He gave me an incredible husband (one of those who would sound too good to be true in print), two amazing (testing!) children, life long friends and friends for a season. Thanks so much, Jennie, for helping me to choose thankfulness on a day that I needed my perspective re-aligned. :) Happy Valentines/Thankful Day!

  6. Heidi,
    Thank you for your kind comments. I was so impressed that the writer of the story of Lazarus could say nothing more than "Jesus wept." No storyworld, not telling, just heartfelt emotion. He relly loved his friends and what better day to tell the friends he has given us that you love them!

  7. Lisa,
    Thank you. The hardest part was whittling down the list of the ones I really wanted to call out without the blog becoming a trade novel! LOL

  8. Dee,
    I've been blessed so abundantly by the friends in my life. I needed to include them here.

  9. Melissa,
    You have been blessed so abundantly by such a wonderful family. It is no surprise that they are on your list of friends!

  10. Jeanne,
    I'm with you when it comes to having a soul-mate for a husband. I can't imagine what my life would be like if he hadn't come into my life.

  11. This is such an encouraging, open-your-eyes-and-see-the-more-of-Valentine's-Day post. Love is for everyone: spouses, girlfriends, children . . .
    I am delighted that my adult children have become friends. I will always be their mom--but am so humbled that they share their lives--their hopes, dreams, hurts, accomplishments--with me. I anticipate the same with my 10-year-old.
    I am thankful for my writing friends because . . . well, they understand me!
    And I am thankful for my husband who loves me like no one else ever has, and who makes me laugh longer and harder than anyone else can make me laugh.

  12. Thank you Jennie for this post. I am so thankful to so many for enriching my life, for making me reach higher, dig deeper and stretch wider than I ever thought I could. You are my heros.

  13. Beth,
    I too have watched my children become friends. Amazing isn't it?
    And thank you for making me put the "Stake in the Sand"!

  14. Ahh Reba - as your friend I can only say that you give it back a thousand-fold!

  15. Thank you for such a beautiful post, Jennie. One that made me stop and reflect on the people God has enriched my life with.