I love love love having coffee dates where you forget to look at your watch.

I stinkin’ love the lunch dates that make you forget to eat your soup and salad or burrito bowl.

I love random phone calls and FaceTime chats and texting conversations that never end.

The reason I love all of these so much is because I love people. I love the conversations you can have, the vulnerability that comes when you just sit and talk with someone, and the encouragement that comes from those raw, open times of opening up your heart with someone who wants to listen.

I have been beyond blessed with one or two coffee/lunch dates every week while being back home, a time with friends new and old. I have been invited to 3 different bible studies, and partnered with two of my best friends to study The Word together and man did The Lord know that I needed all of this after leaving my college life behind.

“Adult-ing” is still a new thing (as I’m sure you’ve gathered from my last few posts), but my relationships and loved ones surrounding me have made such a weird, awkward transition into a beautiful, glorious time of growth.

But here’s the thing: I chose to surround myself with those people. I chose to be more intentional with my girlfriends, planning Panera dates and movie nights. I chose to dig into the word with my girlfriends because I wanted to grow in my relationship with The Lord. And I chose to sit at the hospital and talk with my Grandma late into the night . I chose all of these people because all of these people leak Jesus. All of these people pour into me, people who are honest and open with their lives, telling me the hard stuff, pointing me to The Truth, and holding me in the times that I fall apart.

I chose to surround myself with the people who love me and lift me up because who I surround myself with is who I want to be. I surround myself with people who laugh at me because I want to take my life lightly, finding joy in every moment. I hold myself close to my friends that push me to pursue my relationship with The Lord because I want to be a woman of God, diving into a life that breathes and leaks Jesus. I soak in my time with wives and mothers who love The Lord because I want to be a Godly wife and mother someday.

I pity the fool!

Okay, honest moment here, my post’s title isn’t my own, BUT it was too good not to take it (from a church sermon, which may make it better or worse that I stole it…). In church this past Sunday, the pastor talked about surrounding yourself with the people who lift you up and lead you to Jesus, quoting Mr. T “I pity the fool” after a few Proverbs verses that talk about just that- verses that are pretty darn clear that if you want to follow a healthy, good path in your life, surround yourself with people who are doing that same thing.

Here is one:

Proverbs 13:20 The one who walks with the use will become wise, but a companion of fools with suffer harm.

And another:
Proverbs 14:7-9  Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. The wisdom the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.
 Pretty hard to compete with the kinda truth that hits ya where it hurts, right? If you’re looking for more of this good stuff, go the Bible. It’s everywhere.
Anywho… Real-ationships. The word speaks for itself, huh? If you want people who are real, who are honest, who are broken but redeemed, surround yourself with those people.
I want to love Jesus with everything I have, so I am choosing to pursue friendships that encourage me to do just that.
I want to laugh more than I cry (unless its a happy cry, which is okay). I want to lift others up in my words, I want to leak Jesus. So I am choosing people who make me laugh until I cry. I am choosing people who cover me in His grace and Truth.
I am choosing people like my mom who, as I was recently told, that when you see her, you just can’t help but smile and think of how great of a woman of God she is.
If you want that too, I promise you, it ain’t out of reach. There are people out there who love you for you, who love you because you are a child of God, and who want to lead you straight into His arms.
Choose those people, and see how your life changes. He blesses that you know.
See ya soon,
Stephanie Lynn

And I thought I’d share a few people who have made me who I am. There are SO many people in these photos, yet there are so so many people that I missed. Thank you Lord for such wonderful people in my life.
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