I was thinking about whether or not I should actually make this a blog post. Sure, I could have easily handwritten her a letter detailing how grateful, thankful, and blessed I am to have her in my life. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the whole world deserves to know the kind of friendship Emily brings to anyone and everyone she meets. And how, quite frankly, without being too dramatic (because I am quite the drama queen) her friendship has transformed my life.

This girl. She did not give up on me, slowly wedging herself into my life, taking every opportunity to love me even though I was extremely hesitant to let her in. At first, I couldn’t see past the “missionary” label she had on her. I thought, “why won’t this girl just leave me alone already….” but something kept me coming back to our weekly discipleship meetings, even if most of everything she told me went through one ear and out the other. I could feel the way she genuinely wanted to know me. To walk with me in faith and to help build me up. So I was a pretty half-hearted friend for a good while; actually I wouldn’t even say friend, probably acquaintance.

I cannot tell you how many things I have learned through this friendship. I had never ever had someone look at me and tell me that I was called to more. That I was better. That I was called higher. 

So Dear Emily, 

“Thank you for showing me that I am forever in the gaze of a loving Father. That I am His precious daughter, and that when my heart aches, His heart aches. 

Thank you for showing me what it means to delight in others; that the Father delights in us. That He sings and dances with us and for us every single day.

Thank you for your authenticity, and how well I can see Jesus in others because you are so clearly yourself.

Thank you for the way that you love. For the way you have shown me how to love and lead others. 

Thank you for showing me how to honor others with the words that I choose to speak about them. 

Thank you for showing me how to pour life back into others instead of just taking.

Thank you for showing me how to sing, dance, and laugh in the presence of the Father. How to rejoice in my suffering and unite myself to Him even when I don’t feel His presence.

Thank you for your example of faithfulness. For the ways that I feel close to Jesus just by hearing you pray. 

Thank you for your contagious joy. For the way you never fail to bring me life and to lift my spirits. 

Thank you for your accountability. For loving me with gentleness, but never failing to speak truth into my life. 

Thank you for helping me to trust The Church again. 

Thank you for introducing me to my own feminine genius. For rejoicing in what it means to be woman! 

I could come up with a million and one reasons why your friendship has changed and transformed my own life, but I will leave it at this — Thank you for taking my hand and placing it back into the grasp of My Father. For leading me to the cross through your own witness. I love you with my whole heart. Thank you for showing me the power of one. 

I am fully convinced that everyone deserves to have an Emily in their life. What a true gift this friendship has been. Friends, if you don’t have people in your life that know the true desires of your own heart, that are not afraid to say, “you are better than this; let’s be better togetherI ask you this: what kind of friend are you?

Are you satisfied with the superficial friendships that surround you? Well guess what… IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY.

I was a doubter. A skeptic. I used to believe that I didn’t need anyone. That I didn’t even like people. But then some crazy girl who does funny accents and loves Jesus with her whole soul stepped into my life by making donuts with me, and I knew that there had to be more to this life than what the world says will fill us.

And now I get to be that crazy girl for some poor college kid out there in a couple of months.

Em, you are a treasure. I am so glad I can now call you one of my dearest friends (AND THAT I GET TO LIVE LIFE ON MISSION AND BECOME A SAINT WITH YA)

True authentic friendship can change the world, one person at a time.

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