Being a Good Friend DOESN’T mean:

Hey, I know you want to be a good friend.

I know it’s something you think about and weighs heavy on your heart, especially when your friend is going through something hard.

I also know that sometimes you take on too much.

Sometimes you try and carry things that aren’t yours to carry.

Sometimes you do all the work, and it’s not yours to do.

Sometimes without realizing it, you confuse being a good friend with being superhuman (and you’re not).

Being a good friend does mean loving and serving. It does mean being there. It does mean holding hands and walking through tough stuff.

Being a good friend doesn’t mean:

Trying to save someone who really needs more help than you can give them. If you are not a trained therapist or doctor, I’m looking at you.

Working harder (and caring more) about someone’s health and wellbeing than they do.

Never saying “no, I can’t”.

Being the constant giver and never receiving. Friendships are mutual by nature.

Trying to fulfill someone’s expectations that are too high or unreasonable.

Not taking care of yourself and your needs.

I know sometimes boundaries make you feel guilty and mean, but listen, they’re not. Being a good friend is a gift that you give someone, not something you owe anybody.

Love,

Jess

Photo by gravity

This Friendship Didn’t Happen by Accident

If you see me and a friend out in public having a good time, please know this friendship didn’t happen by accident. 

I know it looks simple. I know it looks comfortable. I know it looks easy. 

And it is all those things, but only because we’ve done the work. Only because we’ve fought for this thing, we’ve shown up for this thing, we’ve valued this thing. 

Please don’t look at this friendship and think it happened by magic. Please don’t think we’re just lucky or special. (Although maybe there was a little of that).

This friendship happened with love and intentionality.

It happened by countless hours of sharing our hearts (and deep gut laughs). 

It happened by choosing each other over and over again. 

It happened by listening and really HEARING each other.

It happened by having honest conversations when it was needed (instead of letting splinters of hurt/miscommunication grow deep and fester).

It happened by making time for each other (even when we were busy and overwhelmed).

It happened by being humble (and apologizing) when we got it wrong.

It happened by giving the benefit of the doubt and having each other’s backs. 

It happened by loving each other well (and our kids, spouses, parents and siblings, because we also chose each other’s family). 

It happened by buying each other random cards and gifts just to show we care. 

It happened by sending a million different texts.

It happened by years of creating history and shared stories (and inside jokes that still make us double over with laughter). 

It happened by being flexible.

I happened by seeing each other at our best and seeing each other at our worst, and loving each other still.

It happened by inviting and pursuing (even when the sink was full of dishes and crumbs were on the floor).

It happened by celebrating and cheering for each other with our whole hearts. 

It happened by learning how to communicate well (and what we each needed to hear when we were having a hard time).

It happened by showing up for each other in the very hardest moments of our lives and sitting in that pain, because there’s nowhere we’d rather be. 

I know it’s easy to see a friendship from the outside looking in and think it’s easy, or simple, or just fell into our lap. 

But it didn’t. 

This friendship was built on choices.

A million different times of choosing each other.

What you’re seeing is the fruit, but let me tell you there is a story behind this magic. 

And if I can have it, you can have it too.

Love,

Jess

Photo by Yanapi Senaud

If you love this, you will love Amy Weatherly and I’s new nationally best selling book I’ll Be There (But I’ll Be Wearing Sweatpants) https://amzn.to/3MJtpKU

You Value Deep Friendship When You’ve Experienced Shallow Friendship.

You recognize when someone loves you for you, when you’ve been loved conditionally and with strings attached.

You know what it is to be able to relax and exhale, when you’ve had to perform in order to “belong”.

You cherish mutual friendship, when you’ve been in relationships where you were the only giver and they were the only taker.

You hold tight to the people you know you can trust, when you’ve been burned before.

You know peace is precious, when you’ve been pulled into drama.

You’re grateful for honesty, when you’ve experienced being lied to.

You value confrontation and talking things out, when you’ve been left before without explanation or an attempt to clear things up.

You’re honored by being included when you’ve been left out.

You can tell when someone truly cares about you, when you’ve experienced the pain of being in a friendship with someone who makes it all about them.

You recognize being built up, when you’ve been torn down.

You appreciate being given the benefit of the doubt when you’ve been hurt by someone assuming the worst.

You treasure friends who have your back, when you’ve been the brunt of gossip before.

You value being seen, when you’ve been overlooked.

I don’t know about you, but I value my real friends so much more, because I’ve done fake before.

Fake hurts.

Real connection heals.

Every broken story has led me cherish the friendships that heal.

Written by Jess Johnston & Amy Weatherly

Photo by Crosby Hinze

This One is for the Givers:

This ones for the givers. The ones who show up and again and again, (even when it’s hard, and even when it’s inconvenient.The ones who love and serve in ways that often goes unseen and unappreciated. The ones who’ve loved hard and with their whole hearts – and sometimes that’s meant being burned.

The ones who try really really hard.

The ones who read a post about being a good friend and their heart hurts because they ARE good friends and they never quite feel like it’s reciprocal.

The ones who do the right thing even though they know it may go unnoticed.

The ones who always pour out, but don’t always feel poured into. You give and give and give and sometimes you get tired.

Sometimes your feelings are hurt because why doesn’t it seem to go both ways. Sometimes your heart hurts from disappointment and it hurts deep. You’re resilient. You’re strong. But sometimes you just get tired. So so tired.We just want to say we see you.The gifts you give leave ripples and make marks and change lives in ways you may never know earth side.It’s not for nothing.And even if no one seems to notice I guarantee God does, and he’s proud of you. And sister, let me say one more thing, it’s okay to rest. It’s okay to put down all those things you hold together for the ones you love. It’s okay to give less sometimes and for some seasons. Take care of you. Because you matter. You really really matter.

Love,

Jess

Photo by Isaac Johnston

Friendships Need Maintenance

Don’t forget friendships need maintenance.

You’re not just getting a coffee, you’re connecting hearts.

You’re not just texting, you’re being a part of each other’s lives.

You’re not just spending money on that trip, you’re investing in your connection.

You’re not just showing up for a party, you’re letting them know they matter.

You’re not just spending a couple hours by the pool, you’re building history together.

You’re not just going to their kid’s birthday party, you’re showing them that what matters to them, matters to you.

You’re not just buying that gift, you’re showing them you love them.

You’re not just answering that call, you’re valuing them in your life.

Its not just big things, it’s the little things over time that build deep friendship.

Love,

Jess .

The Highest Honor of Friendship

The highest honor of friendship isn’t getting invited to “that party” or out on a girls weekend. It’s not clinking champagne glasses at fancy brunches or wearing matching shirts on a beach in Florida. That all is nice and fun and good and special, but it’s not what it’s about, not at all.

The real honor of friendship is being invited into someone’s REAL. It’s getting an invitation into the nitty gritty, the not-so-pretty, the hard stuff, the vulnerable stuff, the weird stuff, the unpolished stuff. It’s being welcomed into a home where the sink is full of dishes and the laundry is covering the couch.

It’s entering the places of heart ache and pain. It’s being invited to the hospital room when your friend is still in her mesh underwear from birth. It’s sitting crosslegged in old sweats on the floor and laughing till you cry. It’s carrying around secrets that you’ve been trusted to keep. It’s listening and hearing. It’s holding space for each other.

It’s answering phone calls just to talk something through.The highest honor of friendship isn’t found in beautifully planned events or brightly filtered photos.

The highest honor of friendship is messy and dingy and real. It’s in unfiltered photos of laughing so hard your double chin is showing. It’s loving each other’s babies and holding each other while you ugly cry. I can’t stress this enough:If you’ve been invited into even one person’s real, you are blessed. Cherish it.

Written by Jess Johnston

If you love this, you will love Amy Weatherly and I’s new nationally best selling book! https://amzn.to/3N1fu2B

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

PSA: Husbands, I know what your wife wants for Mother’s Day.

Listen, this is just my opinion (but it’s right).

I know what your wife wants for mothers day. Ready?

*Drum roll*

Whatever it is she told you.

I know, I know, it seems too simple, but, just trust me:

If your wife tells you what she wants: get. her. that.

If she says she wants you to leave with the kids for 8 hours, get her that.

If she says she wants chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, get her that.

If she says she wants a nap, believe👏 her👏. She really really does want a nap.

If she says she wants to not *think* about what to eat for dinner, do not let her think. Get her a think-less dinner.

If she says she wants a beer at 8am, get her that.

If she says she wants a certain bracelet/t-shirt/flower do not *I repeat* do not overthink it, get her exactly what she asked for.

EXCEPT, (and this is important) if she says “nothing”, do not for the love get her that.

Love,

Jess

Reasons a mom says she doesn’t want “anything” for Mother’s Day

Reasons she says she doesn’t want anything for mother’s day:

1. She doesn’t want to think of what you should get her for Mother’s Day. She wants you to think of what you should get her for Mother’s Day. She is tired, her brain is mush. She would like “not thinking” in addition to whatever you get her for Mother’s Day.

2. She is setting her expectations low because she doesn’t want to be disappointed.

3. She doesn’t want to feel bad or guilty that you went and got her that thing she asked for.

4. She wants you to know her well enough to think of something she will like.

5. She doesn’t want anything monetary, she wants something like a nap and a day off from doing all the things that she does.

6. She really doesn’t want anything.

7. It’s probably not 6.

Love,

Jess

When you’re done having kids (and you’re sad)

When we were deciding if we were going to be done having kids, my aunt told me something profound. She said, “No matter when you stop, whether it’s four or ten, you’re always going to grieve the end of a season.” Her words helped me make peace with my youngest being our grand finale.

For the next couple years, I didn’t grieve. Not really anyway. I was still nursing and diaper changing and hiding in the bathroom with chocolate. The idea that we were done held a certain excitement to it. That season was over, that chapter was closed, my body was just mine and no one else’s. I was never going to go through labor again, or leak milk on my dress, or hear phantom crying in the shower (spoiler alert, that last one never goes away).

I think it was probably when she stopped crawling or maybe when she didn’t need the stroller anymore. Maybe it was when she stopped climbing into my bed in the middle of the night or maybe it was when she started saying “about that” instead of “bout dat”. That’s when the grief started hitting me in waves.

The day she walked into kindergarten I melted into myself. The pain was tangible. Every milestone my youngest hits I am acutely aware of how quickly time is passing me by. When she started reading, I envisioned her interviewing for her first job. When she walked out of her last day of first grade, I pictured her walking the platform and receiving her degree.

I don’t know if I regret being done, I just know I long to go back. I long to feel a baby kick even though I never really felt like myself when I was pregnant. I ache to wake to midnight cries and smell their newborn skin, even though at the time I felt like I was losing my mind.

I miss diapers and nap times and pudgy little hands wrapped in mine and I miss now like it’s already over.Maybe someday it gets easier, I don’t really know. I think my aunt is right that even if I had four more I’d still grieve being done. Today is one of those days though when I ache. I miss what’s past and I already miss what’s present. I already miss pouring bowls of cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. I already miss their bed heads and hello kitty pajamas. I guess that’s motherhood right? Beauty and pain wrapped up in the most precious gift.

Love,

Jess

Being There is a Gift.

I think sometimes we make the mistake of thinking it’s hard for our friends to “be there”. We apologize for our messes, our tears, our rants, our dirty floors, our needs, and our humanity. We invite them in with a mile long disclaimer that basically says “so sorry you have to be here”. The truth is though that it’s an absolute honor to be invited into someone’s real. The truth is that getting to “be there” is a gift.


I’ll never forget the times I’ve gotten to stand along side my friends as they said their wedding vows.


I’ll never forget the honor of sitting with my friends as they cried deep and ugly and real tears.


I’ll never forget the times I pushed open heavy hospital doors to rush in and celebrate the birth of a friend’s baby. (Hi little one, I’m Auntie Jess).


I’ll never forget late girls nights of venting and laughing till everything just felt better.


I’ll never forget the times my friends have asked for my help with something. (Even though sometimes asking for help feels vulnerable and hard).


I’ll never forget holding space during tragedy and loss. (Being there in those moments is nothing short of sacred).


I’ll never forget my friend’s warm kitchens with sinks full of dishes and toys covering the floor. (It’s my favorite).


I think one of the greatest gifts of friendship is getting to be there. Being invited into another persons hard, their real, their mess, their magic, their pain, their joy, their everything…it’s priceless.


Being there is a gift.


Love,
Jess