me. a leash. and a bag of ham. And why we all need friends who open up the roof.

I had no idea that the wind had blown my front door open, until I heard my two dogs barking...from my neighbors yard. Thankfully, my neighbors are the best. They bring us baked homemade goods every Friday morning, and always check in on me and the kids when Nick is away on business. Actually, that is a lie. They have never spoken to us or made eye contact. But back to the dogs.

If you have dogs, who like to run away, and do not respond to you when you call their name, then you know the feeling that boils up inside of you when you realize that they got out. It is like all of my belief and deep rooted faith in a good God disappears. Yeah. I'm rock solid like that.

I left a voicemail for my friend, who also has dogs who escape, and so she gets it. And it went something like this: "me. in my slippers. a leash in one hand. a bag of ham in the other. running through the neighborhood."

These kinds of friends. They are everything. The ones who get you. The ones who listen to you. The ones that desire good for you. The ones where you do not need lots of words to explain your heart. The ones who completely understand where you are at by simply saying "leash and bag of ham."

And I wish I had the time to write beautifully right now, but I don't. So in short, what I hope to say today is this: the last few weeks have been tough. Christmas in Newtown is tough. Seeing your first born turn 18 is tough. Managing family and work is tough. Setting the coffee the night before to wake up and find that you never added water is tough. The school calling you all of the time is tough. Running through the neighborhood in slippers with a bag of ham is tough. Trusting in Gods plan for you and your family is tough. And what happens to me, and maybe to you too, is that when things get tough, I get overwhelmed. And when I get overwhelmed my head gets crowded with lies. And when my head gets crowded with lies, I can not see Jesus. And discouragement sets in.

In today's Gospel, Mark 2:1-12, friends bring their paralyzed friend to the house where Jesus is staying at, only they can not see Him, because of the crowd. And so they do what only makes sense. They open up the roof, and lower their friend down. And Jesus heals him.

My ham and leash friend called me later, just to hear how I was doing.

I have another friend who texted me a picture of her Mary candle lit and the prayer she was praying for me.

I have another friend who in the midst of our texting, picked up on my self doubt, and called me, and called me out on it, reminding me of who I am, because I had forgotten.

These friends.

They saw the crowd I had built up in front and all around me.

And so they carried me.

They broke through.

They opened the roof.

And they lowered me down.

We all get blinded by the crowd.

But do we all have friends of true faith, who go out of their way to bring us to the truth, when we are paralyzed by the lie?

If you do not have friends like this, pray to God and ask that He send you them.

If you do not have friends like this, let me know, and I will pray for you.

Pray that God sends you friends who know you so well, that they recognize your pain, and do not have to think twice about coming to your house, picking you up, holding you over the crowd, and carrying you to Jesus.

I pray this for all of us.

Because this life can be tough.

And it can be overwhelming.

And it can leave us so discouraged, that we are unable to move.

It can leave us so lost in the crowd, that we lose sight of Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus. You are good. You are so faithful. And you have gifted me with more than I ever deserve. I praise you for the beautiful friends you have placed in my life.

Friends who will open up the roof and lower me down.