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Challenge: Unlikely Friends

How a Pro-Love Jesus Adoring Ohio Mom Became Besties With an Ultra-liberal Jewish New York Step-Mom

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Okay, so we all know how valuable our tried and true friends are. They fill all kinds of voids in our world with their love and presence. Whether they blaze warm sunshine into our hearts just because, lift us up when we stumble or face plant, make us laugh like blubbering idiots, or give us a good 'ole fashioned kick in the tush when we are riding too long on a personal bandwagon, these types of diamond relationships are priceless.

I've got a crew of tried and true friends spinning around my orbit. Some days I have to pinch myself to make sure this is real life. The gratitude sears through my every vein.

But today I want to call out a special someone, Lisa Leshaw, because our story of friendship is unique. I consider her one of my best friends in the world--and WE'VE NEVER EVEN MET IN PERSON! How is this possible? How on earth can I fall over myself in adoration for someone I haven't even had the privilege of hugging yet?

Only God.

He's got a way, doesn't He? And the way He pulled cosmic strings to connect my heart with Lisa's is beyond. God used a magazine. Yep. A publication that's been around for decades and decades--Guideposts.

I've written several articles for Guideposts, and one day I came across a story in the magazine written by Lisa. Her words moved me deeply as she shared a heart bender about hearing a recording of her dad's voice after he passed away. So, I shared the link on my Facebook page, letting her know in a tag how much I loved her heart and words. This marked the beginning of what has become one of the most enriching and rewarding friendships I've had in my almost 49 years.

Lisa will tell you I stalked her for weeks after first reaching out about her Guideposts story, sharing links to everything she'd ever written, with dates and names of publications. I'd tell you she is full of it, but then I'd be lying. I did stalk her, in a non-creepy way. Which turned into chatting on messenger, emailing, and eventually talking on the phone. Now we video chat several times a week.

One of the most beautiful aspects of our friendship is, I didn't even know until about 6 months into our online friend affair that Lisa was Jewish. She agreed to read the chapters of my memoir as I was writing them, a memoir heavily themed around Jesus and His role in our daily lives. One day she called and said, "You realize I'm Jewish, right?"

"WHAT?! NO, I had no idea!"

That's when I knew Lisa was something of another kind of special. Here she was reading my words and offering all kinds of love, support, encouragement despite coming from a different religious background. And that's the whole point of this post--Lisa and I may practice a different religion or share opposing views on certain topics, but it doesn't matter one iota because, LOVE.

God is LOVE and LOVE is who we ALL ARE---no matter what differentiates us on the basis of religion, race, political view, circumstance, etc. etc. etc. LOVE is what melded my heart to Lisa's. LOVE is what fuels our friendship. LOVE is why we just wrote a book together that was compiled between the cyberspace connecting New York and Ohio.

We just launched this thing last month and have yet to celebrate in person with hugs and tears! We've been relegated to smiling and dancing around like orangutans on Facebook video chats. But it works... LOVE always works.

Thank you, Lisa Leshaw, for changing my world. I know you've changed about a zillion other worlds besides mine--which is a whole story of its own. I'm forever grateful to call you friend. You are a pink star diamond.

If you are dealing with all kinds of momma emotions, download 3 FREE Chapters of Shelby's new book with Lisa Leshaw, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.").

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