This is a Valentine one of my sweet friends gave me for fun. It sits in my desk at Branches. I am the kind of grown-up woman who still enjoys getting a good “school exchange” Valentine. You know, the kind with the little heart sticker you fold over either side of it to keep it together?

I love this card for two reasons: it says we’re the best of friends, which is precious. I realize that even as a grown-up woman, I still have insecurity with my friends from time to time. “Do they really like me or are they just being nice?” It’s funny how hard those little lies are to outgrow. In the past, I felt more confident in relationships where I thought people “needed” me but when I perceived us to be on equal footing, my insecurities surfaced. (This is called codependency by the way, and one day I shall blog long and eloquently about this subject as I know it well.) Since I no longer allow myself to “rescue” people, I currently have women friends who I respect, think highly of and realize they in no way “need” me- they just see value in me and chose to love me. It feels good, and occasionally exposes those cracks of insecurity from years of believing unhealthy things. Still it is such a blessing to be loved by my friends, warts and all.
The other thing I love about this Valentine is it’s characters from the Wizard of Oz! I grew up loving that movie!!!! A. Somewhere Over the Rainbow is just so fabulous. Martina McBride has a recording of it on her album that I find it utterly impossible to not sing along with. B. Glittery Ruby Slippers. (double love) C. Such a great story about friendship and following dreams and how cool short people are. (This is a loose interpretation, but if you know me, you’ll get that part.)
But primarily I relate to this movie. I have been foolish. I have been cowardly. I have been unloved. I have been lost, and in need of someone to point me in the right direction. I have had a mask on to fool people into thinking I was something I wasn’t because I was sure who I was wouldn’t be enough. And, in truth, I have been wicked. So I connect to all the characters. (Except Toto.) And I will tell you, in most of these times God has used my friends to give me the courage I needed to face the day. Or to tell me the truth so I could grow in wisdom. Or to love me when I wasn’t sure I had anything to love them back with. And on and on. The one thing my friends couldn’t do for me was exchange my wicked self for a lovely one, so He sent Jesus. 
If you are my real life friend, thank you. I love you truly. If you are my blog-friend, thank you. I share a lot of “real” on here and I find it surprising that people are reading this. By the way, if you are the kind readers from Germany, United Kingdom, Russia or the Netherlands- hello from America and just so you know I imagine you reading this with your cool accents!

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