I wanted to be on Lisa-Jo Bakers Book Launch Team for Never Unfriended because I adore Lisa-Jo Baker! (I mean... Of course, right?)
So I wanted to support her and help spread the word and who couldn't use a book about friendship and a little encouragement to risk and to grow and to be and to find true, authentic friendships, right?
You guys... When I was only on Chapter Two I realized that nearly every page so far was underlined and marked by pen and tears... But we should have known this, right?
This book holds within its pages the tools and hope that can heal you from broken relationships and that can stir up joy and grace to reach out and to hold on and to truly learn how to have and how to be a friend!!!
And who doesn't want that?
Never Unfriended - The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships by Lisa-Jo Baker should be required reading for every woman --maybe even before the teenaged-friendship-drama years take place! #ForReal!
It's no secret how I love this woman... I was honored to be on her first Book Launch Team for Surprised by Motherhood, so I knew that this girl doesn't pull any punches! I knew to expect to feel all the feels and that I would be reading words that my heart had already felt fully but maybe hadn't quite found words for yet. Yeah. That.
Well... for example, this:
I've actually been saying this at our church for a long time now... Let Him love you! Oh how He wants to! (And Oh how He will, through this book, sweet readers!)
As much as I wanted to be on this Team and to read these words... as much as I knew that they would be beautiful and brutal and honest and honoring... I also felt like maybe I didn't NEED them. I mean... friendship has always been a high priority for me and I have been blessed with great friends through out my lifetime. I mean, sure... I have my scars and friend-break-ups... I have my insecurities when reaching out to someone new... I've failed some friends in the past... and I've been left out, edged out, locked out... (Who hasn't?)
I am blessed.
Partially because the truth Lisa-Jo writes out on that page above is a truth I have lived into for years and years now, and partially because of this truth, too:
Listen, I have been leaning in to living the authentic life for years now. I vowed long ago to quit hiding... to quit pretending... to quit running away or building walls, creating buffer zones or letting someone else define me. I have found the power of going first and being real and how disarming and inviting and Me, too-ing that can be!
So I devoured this gift of words and wisdom... this gift poured out that cost the author a thing or two (or fifteen!) This gift, bound up that brings freedom from bondage and old wounds. I found as her words soaked in deep, there was a lifting of burdens that I didn't realize I'd been carrying around and there was HOPE... Hope, dripping with Joy and Love and Possibility.
HOPE for a Continuing in Being Intentional and in Being Love...
HOPE that if we could all get this --oh my goodness! Sweet Jesus, IMAGINE HOW THEY WOULD KNOW US BY OUR LOVE???!?!
Below are just SOME of my (other) favorite quotes... But seriously, most of my copy is underlined and dog-eared (and tear-stained... it's fine!)
"Into us God breathed the desire for companionship. Into us God breathed the gift of community. Into us God breathed all the capacity for believing the best about each other, loving others more than ourselves, and making ourselves wildly vulnerable without fear of betrayal... Friendship was breathed into our DNA at the very beginning. And fear wants to steal it back." ~Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended
"Forgiveness is the beginning. And it's how we find closure even in the relationships that won't ever be completely restored to us. Because forgiveness is like a pair of tweezers picking out the shards of shrapnel embedded in our hearts and minds by people we once loved. Forgiveness removes the hurt so that we can heal. Forgiveness is the gift we give to ourselves so that we can stop bleeding and begin to grow new skin over old wounds. Forgiveness is the first step out of the dark and into the light." ~Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended
"Okay, here it is -- this is the secret to finding and keeping lasting friendships: become women who want to see the women around them flourish." ~Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended
"Open your heart, your hand, your home. Forget making them look perfect. Just invite a friend in. Take a risk. It might be the best kind of worth it.
This invitation is for the hurt women. The wish-they-had-sisters women. The why-wasn't-I-invited women.
This is the for the girlfriends and heart friends and long-distance friends and miss-my-friends friends.
This is for the women who love long afternoons catching up and slow-Saturdays on the sofa splitting the last brownie, the first story, the hard memory.
This is for the sisterhood, the motherhood, the neighborhood, the misunderstood.
This is for the places that got broken by the friends who wouldn't forgive, couldn't move on, didn't hear our hearts.
This is for the old wounds, the fresh hurts, the questions and prayers and midnight pleas; for the women hoping for a do-over, a safe place, a friend who gets all the unique wonder wrapped up in you.
This version of friendship is a true story, an old story, the same story that we've all been living. This is the hard choice of staying committed to our friends, our communities, our dreams, and our God who is the crossroads where all these broken places are connected, mended, restored, and intimately comprehended.
This kind of friendship is a gift. It is the going first. It is the testimony of the brave who chose friendship in spite of fear. This is the loud voice of comparison squashed down, drowned out, overcome by a choice to love, to love, to love because Christ first loved us. This brave choice is the laying down of jealousy, the raising up of encouragement." ~Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended
"The thing about friendship is that it takes work. A lot of work. It takes practice. It takes showing up. But when we keep showing up in the small things, those eventually become the big, life-changing things that can happen in one neighborhood between two streets. Our friends will anchor us and preach Jesus to us simply by showing up, by helping out, by meeting kids at the bus stop, and by bringing a meal. By washing our dirty dishes and inviting us into their mess; friends teach us that we belong to a God who moved into the neighborhood and can be seen clearest through the tangible hands and feet and faces and play dates and late nights with the real-life people He's placed in our everyday lives." ~Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended
And that is the truth, right there...
That is the ultimate message of this book --that the Best Friend you can ever have is Jesus, who is All In with you and for you and who will never, ever forsake (unLike or unfriend) you! And the best friend you can ever BE is to be like Him.
It's a tall order, I know... and every single one of us will fail. But there is even grace in knowing that, right? Not a one of us escapes the wounds of friendship... we're human and we'll let each other down... but the call is to just keep showing up!
Keep Speaking Life... keep Being Love... keep Shining On!
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