This blog was originally created for one reason: to exhort those I love. If you dig through old posts you’ll discover several entries dedicated to one person. I shifted gears two years ago and focused on writing about topics, not people. Energy was spent elsewhere, yes, but my heart has missed encouraging those I love through writing.
Welp, here I go again!
I met Jessie Boo at my Thursday night homegroup this past August. I had been absent for a month and returned to find new faces. Scanning the room I saw Jess and simply thought, “okay who is this beautiful woman who resembles Sara Bareilles AND Sophia Bush!? She could wear rags and still be a total bombshell.” While those two celebrities are beautiful, Jessica had an electric, striking joy that unknowingly enticed those around her. She puts people at ease instantly with her light-hearted, goofy persona. Never taking herself too seriously, Jess can effortlessly diffuse any tension in a room.
Whether she’s around a bubbly, boy-attention seeking girl at church or in a crowd of elderly men, Jess is always herself. She walks with the confidence knowing she’s the only Jessica Freeman in the world and wouldn’t rather be anyone else. I’ve been in situations where she’s met strangers, interacted with parents and with close friends. In each setting, she doesn’t compromise who she is or her demeanor. I’m not saying Jess doesn’t identify with natural insecurities that may arise from feeling out of place, etc., but I commend her for not tapping into altering her personality to be more liked or comfortable in a setting. She’s the kind of person who would literally say, “ha I know I’m being awkward you guys,” or, “to be honest I’m a little uncomfortable right now.” Without a doubt, honesty is tattooed on her soul.
If you take a look at my close friends you’ll see a common thread: great communicators. Poor communicators weave out of my circle because communication is needed in order to have a healthy, ever-growing friendship. I admire Jess’s approach with communication. She’ll swallow uncomfortable conversations because she knows it’s healthy and respectful for both parties. When a friend (or herself) is in the wrong, she addresses the issue in complete truth, no matter how difficult the message is to deliver. Her opinions and advice haven’t always aligned with what my heart wanted to hear, but that’s one of the things that makes her a GOOD friend. In moments I share my heart, she uses wisdom and is quick to say, “I’m not going to say anything, I don’t have an answer.” Her intention is to care for the heart of her friends, which I can’t fully articulate my thankfulness for. Friendships can occasionally look like mirroring feelings: when you’re mad, you want a friend to be mad with you. If you don’t like someone, you want your friend to join the wagon. Jess will validate feelings and say, “I know this is sad and hard,” but if she sees a perspective you don’t see or acknowledge, she’s the first to say, “ok Mare this is hard but look at it this way…” and redirect me to something fresh.
In the short amount of time I’ve known her, she’s a FIGHTER. Describing her as intentional is an understatement and I’ve sat on this section simply perplexed. She’s a friend who constantly checks in, seeks quality time, and is a quick responder to texts/calls. When she chooses to love someone she goes hard and fights through obstacles with complete determination. Sleep is optional for her – if a friend had a bad day she’ll wake up early to fit them in her day, or call late at night to hear their heart. Her heart is relentless. When if comes to loving her people, she stops at nothing.
Unsolicited advice is the worst. The worst thing is when a friend interrupts with biased commentary. Out of anyone I know, Jess is the best at NOT doing this and would never share her opinion unless asked or encouraged. Once she is comfortable with you she’ll know when/if it’s wise to share voluntarily, but I trust those moments because she speaks from such a beautiful place. Moreover, she prioritizes truth. Coddling friends with what they want to hear will not happen from her. Her voiced thoughts come from a well of wisdom, and I always leave our conversations feeling “friend-hydrated.”
People have said I’m easy to read. Some have been SO confident in thinking they can read me they’ve repudiated my voiced feelings if it didn’t align with their perception. Not fun.
Jess, however, is different. I feel in many ways God downloaded the “Mary” software in her and she is able to read me in areas friends can’t. We were in a crowd last week and I was smiling, chatting with several people. Once I got to her she stared in my eyes, took a few seconds to search them (not creepy or anything) and said, with her gracious, cute, pressed-lip smile, “you’re saying you’re fine but you’re not. I love you.”
I wasn’t fine.
I looked at her and said, “GOSH how do you just KNOW.” Without hesitating she said, “you have to accept that I know you Mary Lou.”
We’ve had many of these moments, and I’m slowly accepting that she understands my demeanor in ways I’m not used to friends knowing.
I laugh at her non-stop. Even when she’s being serious I laugh. Jess could be driving saying, “literally I can’t even with this traffic,” and I’d burst out laughing. For the longest time I couldn’t pinpoint why I instinctively laughed, and if someone laughed at me the way I laugh at her I would be creeped out. Finally, I locked down the reason: I take great delight in her. She’s endearing, quirky (in the best way possible), pure, funny…simply the easiest person to love and enjoy. Just as I have an image of God downloading the “Mary” software in Jess, I believe He gave me His eyes for her. God delights in us, and I’m getting a little taste of what that means. I enjoy her in all moods, I deeply care for her, and no matter what she’s going through, I like being there for her.
Spiritually, we’re on the same page. We both stand firm in convictions many, MANY friends of mine don’t. I’ll never forget being at a sleepover with several ladies talking to her and another kindred spirit Caitlin. I was sharing a story and said, “I’m not sure where you two stand on spiritual giftings…prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc. bu-” and they interrupted, eyes wide saying, “YES YES YES girl. We are there.” Giddiness came over us because it’s rare to find people who have a similar foundation as you — ESPECIALLY in Los Angeles. No matter what you believe, when you find someone who wholeheartedly believes and walks out their beliefs similar to you, connection is bound to happen.
Thankful, grateful, blessed, honored, privileged. I think of those words when I think of Jess. She’s truly a diamond in the rough, one in a million person. I was not expecting to walk in my small group back in August and leave with a kindred spirit. I feel like all of last year God was smiling being all, “man, I can’t wait for Jess and Mary to meet.” Her friendship has been one of the best gifts.
Her heart, joy and gifting’s will change the world. She impacts everyone she interacts with because her genuine, truth-filled voice shoots to the heart and people leave feeling truly cared for by her. Being a friend to someone with such beautiful qualities is an honor. I’m regularly inspired, challenged, encouraged and comforted by her. I wish everyone had a Jessica Freeman in his or her life, but there’s only one.
So, safe to say I hit the friend jack-pot #amiright