A friend of mine posted this today. Exactly what my heart needed, at the exact moment it needed it.
“All of us have fears and dreams and perhaps the two of them are not too far apart. Perhaps they’re at the center of who we are.” -TWLOHA—
Yesterday I spent time with one of my favorite people on earth - Denise Janell Murphy. Sadly, I never made it to Cleveland because of car problems. But happily, Denise and her family came to the rescue and I got to spend time with them before heading back to Michigan this morning.
Denise and I have been good friends since college. Before we even really knew each other, she offered to come keep me company while I drove down to Cleveland for a job interview (this was back in 2007). We made a weekend of it - eating at trucker diners, meeting strangers, stopping at the side of the road to pick flowers and singing along loudly to the songs on the radio. We’ve been friends every since.
Denise is my dreamer friend. God has filled her heart with crazy dreams like raising orphans, ministering to prostitutes, and starting a church in a slum. Most recently, she just returned from the World Race with her husband, Mike - a missionary journey that spans over 11 months in 11 different countries. Together, they traveled with their squad to places like Cambodia, Egypt and Kenya and told people about Jesus. She wants to save the world, one person at a time, and God is already using her to do that.
Denise is also one of the most encouraging people that I know. She looks at you and sees you as Jesus does. She speaks out of her heart and doesn’t censor herself. She isn’t afraid of what people think. She doesn’t judge, but is bold about speaking truth in love. Our conversations have always been real, vulnerable, uplifting and fun.
Denise lives life with a spirit of adventure, even if she’s just going to the grocery store. She’s always ready for God’s surprises and tries to live in a way that is open to them.
When I think of words that describe Denise, these are some of them: whimsical, creative, loving, encouraging, wise, prayerful, dedicated, joyful and selfless.
Here are some pictures of us throughout the years:
Sometimes we get lost together and stop to pick flowers. Seriously.
Sometimes we climb trees together.
Sometimes we go out and listen to bands play.
Sometimes we work on crafts together. Outside or inside, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes, there are picnics involved.
One time, we led a Kairos group together.
Sometimes we explore the Midwest together - so far, we’ve road-tripped to Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland..
And sometimes, we just like to sit on the couch and talk about what Jesus is doing in our lives. This is from last night. (Notice the super adorable baby bump - Baby Boy Murphy is almost here!)
I love Denise, and I’m so happy that God brought her into my life “for a time such as this.” I think that we have a lot that we can learn from each other - we’re in different life seasons, but somehow, God always brings us back to learn things together. I’m really thankful for that.
She also has a pretty great blog. You can read it by clicking this link.