A FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES. (Proverbs 17:17)
July 31, 2019– About 17 years ago or so, my oldest son Nick started kindergarten at a nearby Catholic grade school called St. Louis de Montfort. In a matter of days, nearly all his updates from school were about a boy named “Christian” who he clearly thought was totally the coolest. A few weeks passed and there was a kids movie night/parents night out offered by the PTO. Shortly after I arrived to drop Nick off, we ran into Christian and his mom, Lisa. Before I even properly introduced myself, I blurted out something like, “Oh my gosh please tell me you’ve heard the name Nick at your house because my kid is clearly crazy about your son!” Those two boys will graduate from college next spring and are still the closest of friends, and I have them to thank for bringing me together with one of the greatest blessings of my life…my friend Lisa Houze.
Some folks enter our lives and make us smile a little bigger and laugh a little harder. Others encourage, pray, include and respect us. A rare gem will ask how we are and then wait to actually hear the answer, and occasionally an angel will appear that lifts us when we have trouble walking at all. Lisa has been all of those things for me.
We’ve raised our boys side by side. We’ve giggled, sunned, and cheered on countless teams…WAY too loudly. She’s looked me in the eye and delivered truth I need to hear but is hard to share, and I’ve done the same for her. We’ve prayed for each other– A LOT. She understands my strengths and weaknesses and still cherishes me for who I am and forgives me when I royally screw it up. Lisa is one of the most brilliant and articulate women I have ever encountered with the most dreadful case of FOMO.
Lisa is the wife to a handsome guy named Tim, as well as a UD grad, and the “Flyer” moniker fits her perfectly! This mama bear to 2 high-achieving boys is an athletic and fiercely competitive Louisville native who loves her some U of L football and hoops action, too. God knew what He was doing gifting her with boys, because all that comes in handy when your guys are hard core sports lovers! Christian and Malcolm are incredibly blessed to call her mom. She loves them to the very center of herself.
On a couples trip to Phoenix with Lisa and Tim several years ago, Lisa and I became obsessed with a book called “The 5 Love Languages”. We were having so much fun taking quizzes and diagnosing our mutual friends and family members (loudly and while drinking adult beverages on the pool deck) that other people started coming over wanting us to tell them what THEIR love language was. Our men came back from golf and were very underwhelmed when we tried to engage them in our activity! Ha?! It’s POSSIBLE that the wine-aided hilarity made us SEEM amazingly gifted and prophetic to each other…but not as much to sun weary, sober people? I’m not sure. I think my point in telling this story is to establish that it was then I learned that both of us have the same love language– WORDS OF AFFIRMATION, of course! It is SUPER helpful to have a dear friend that speaks this particular love language if you happens to be afflicted thusly. Let’s just say I keep her notes and re-read them when I start to think I am just the absolute worst kind of human.
Several years ago, Lisa shared that a co-worker described her as “charmingly abrasive” and I nearly fell on the floor laughing. He wasn’t wrong. Here’s the thing. My friend Lisa is also a big-hearted woman of grace and integrity. She loves the Lord and it shows by the way she is the face of Jesus for others, very definitely including yours truly.
Countless are the times Lisa has gone out of her way for me or one of my guys. Her hugs are the kind that hit you so hard it’s impossible to miss how much you matter. I’ve known Lisa a fairly long time, but there are others I’ve known longer. She’s someone who has walked into my life and grabbed a chair as if to say, “I’m here for you.” Then, she’s backed it up– again and again– by being oxygen when life knocked the wind out of me.
Today is Lisa’s 50th birthday. Did I mention her love language is words of affirmation? I have no doubt she was aware this post was coming today. I hope she hears in it just how much she is cherished and appreciated. I love you beyond what I can express, my dear friend, but I sure as heck tried. HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY, LISA!!
Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure. (Sirach 6:14)