Thursday, January 29, 2015

Are you Friend #3?

Recently, God has shown me that in order to have meaningful relationships in my life, I need to overflow. I need to overflow in order to have deep friendships and connections. 

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

The following "story" is an extended metaphor for what I believe classifies our friendships in this world.

There are three types of friends in this world.

Imagine you’re in a house.

You’re sitting in the living room on an old wooden chair. From your chair, you have a clear view through the window that overlooks your front lawn.

All of a sudden, you smell something burning. Before you can detect the source, smoke quickly fills the room.

You come to the realization that the house is on fire!

Your eyes catch the bright, orange flames growing by the second. Panic wells inside you and fear takes root. You decide to take action!

But for the sake of this metaphor, you can not move. You’re stuck, unable to leave your chair. You physically can not leave your house. It is your house. It is your problem, your issue. Your burning life.

You can see Friend #1 on the front lawn. They are waiving at you frantically, trying to get your attention. “Don’t worry!", Friend #1 says. “I’m going to call 911! They will be here soon and they can help you!” You give them a weak smile knowing that they could have done more to help you.

Friend #2 is on the front porch. You can see them jogging back and forth from the house to the hose, filling up a small bucket. Each time they empty the few gallons of water on the house, a single flame is extinguished, only to quickly be replaced by another, three times its size.
Back and forth they go. As they douse the flames, they look at you and smile. They even give you a thumbs up. But as they turn away to fill up the bucket, you can see their smile drop and their eyes lose emotion. This tasking is tedious to them.

And then there is Friend #3.

Friend #3 walks through the front door and heads straight for you. They quickly understand that you cannot leave the house. They do not try to distract you from what is happening or offer you fake comfort.. Friend #3 does not try to push you out the door and abandon your pain. 

Instead, Friend #3 pulls up a chair beside you. 

They see your face covered in sweat and tears, and soon their face mirrors yours. They take your hand and sit with you. Surrounded by the flames, Friend #3 endures the fire with you, until the flames subside and all but embers remain.

I know what you’re thinking, shouldn’t Friend #3 have dragged you out of the burning house? Why did they sit there, so useless?

Well, that is the thing about this burning house. It is a giant metaphor for the problems we encounter. Losing a loved one. Financial crisis. Terminal diagnosis. Business failure. All of the situations that cause our life to crumble, or burn away. More often than not, we are unable to “leave” our situation. We may try and pretend that it is not happening, but sooner or later we must deal with it. We have to sit there, with the walls being swallowed up in flames as we trudge through our current blight.

We all have many of Friend #1. I know I do. They let you know in a Facebook post that they are praying for you and they promise to help you in your time of need. They propose that the two of you should go out to dinner or coffee and catch up, but the invitation never sees fruition. Friend #1 is not a bad person, they just tend to avoid a deep relationship with you.

Friend #2 is easily spotted, for there are many of them. This friend catches up with you from time, offering you an ear to listen and sending you Bible verses of encouragement when they get the chance. Again, Friend #2 is not a bad person or a bad friend, but they only put in a little effort. More often than not, they meet with you or help you when it is only convenient for them. 

And Friend #3 is a rarity. They see you in your disaster. They recognize that you are drowning in sorrow. They see the flames swallowing up your life and they do not run away. Friend #3 does not offer petty help or pretend to feel your pain. They are real with you, emotionally available, true, and honest. Friend #3 will pull up a chair and sit with you. They go through the fire with you, right by your side.

It is hard to come by Friend #3. Aside from family, my Friend #3 List is a short one. But those friends are wonderful and they last a lifetime. They lighten the load. They help, not from obligation or hope for recognition, but from unconditional love and friendship. They overflow into your life.

I myself am guilty of being Friend #1 and Friend #2 in many of my relationships. I know that I need to overflow in my relationships as a friend, daughter, sister, and girlfriend. When you live a life that overflows, with joy or God, kindness, and compassion-you will build a connection with the people in this world.

To my Friend #3s, you know who you are. Know that I am utterly grateful for you and that I hope to be your Friend #3 as well.

- Happy Thursday! -

~Nicole <3

Photo Credit:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Most Embarrasing Moment

It was 2002…

At eight years old I was a spritely young thing. With bangs, my hair cut right below my ear lobes, freshly pierced ears, a HUGE gap between my teeth and at a whopping 60 pounds, you could say I was quite the dork.

Although I already considered myself an avid soccer player, my parents signed me up for softball.

It was a whirlwind of a season, filled with crying girls, sunflower seeds in my hair, and red dirt caking to my cleats.
Every so often, my team, The Hurricanes (we were bright orange...) would go to the batting cages for practice.

On this particularly hot day, I was guzzling water like a camel. No amount of water seemed to quench my thirst from salty snacks, too much Big Chew, and my nervousness about going up to bat in front of my older teammates.

As we stood in line to bat, my anxiety reached its tipping point. I asked a girl on my team where the restroom was. She gave me a look of terror and said, “I went in there earlier. It was DIS-GUST-TING. You really shouldn’t go in there…”

I trusted my friend. She said the bathroom was gross! I wasn’t going to risk the filth and unimaginable bathroom horrors. Not only was I afraid of the unknown, I also didn’t want my friend to know that I went IN THERE. Seven year olds get made fun of for all sorts of reasons, and going into a nasty bathroom seemed like a good one to me. I could only imagine the possible nicknames. Sicky Nicki. Stinky Nicki. Bathroom Birkholz.

Well, I’m sure you can see where this story leads.

“Nicki! Your turn to bat!”

I slowly walked towards the cage. Focus Nicki, focus. I put on my helmet, grabbed my bat and straddled the side of home plate.

The first ball released.

And that wasn’t the only thing that released.

My brain went from focusing on holding my focusing on trying to hit the ball.


I peed myself. Yep, that’s right. I peed myself in front of my friends, my coaches, and intimidating older teammates.

I heard the whispers from my team as they realized that the growing stain on my pants wasn’t from sweat. I instantly burst into tears.

My Dad was there (thank goodness) and he quickly led me to the car. He threw a towel on the seat and we drove home.

I was mortified! Embarrassed beyond measure. I wasn’t a baby or toddler venturing into potty training, I was eight years old for goodness sake! And not only did I pee myself in front of everyone, I would have to continue to encounter them on a weekly basis at practices or games.

Sighhhhh, so there it is folks. When I was eight years old I peed myself because I was scared of a dirty bathroom and insecure about what others would think of me if I entered said scary bathroom.

I had other embarrassing moments in junior high and high school, but this one ranks in the top three. Maybe I'll blog about those later...

Moral of the story: If you avoid the bathroom when you have to go, then urine trouble!

…Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. :)


Nicki B. Pee Pee