Admiration Mondays: Laura Johnson

I’ve known Laura Johnson since 6th grade when she was Laura Chambers. But, it wasn’t until high school that we got to be really close friends and since then our friendship has just continued to grow. Laura is one of those rare friends that I just always feel comfortable around, no matter how much time has passed since we’ve talked, no matter what has changed in our lives or what big things are going on in our lives I feel like I can always be myself around her. And that is largely due to who Laura is as a person. She is free. She is open. She is authentic. She is herself and that makes me by myself around her.

Laura is one of the best conversationalists I’ve ever met. She can talk with anyone on practically any subject and end up laughing with them within minutes and making them feel comfortable. I love that about Laura and it’s also been a trait of hers that I’ve always been a bit jealous of as well. Laura is just genuinely interested in people, and genuinely interested in any subject or topic that another person is genuinely interested in. I think Laura just finds life fascinating and that makes her able to talk with anyone on any subject with interest. I love that about Laura.

My friend Laura is also incredibly courageous. It might not be evident right at first, but I’ve seen it first hand for over a decade. Laura has more courage than most people I know. She has this courage that makes her willing to try things and do things and meet people and step out on a limb and I really admire that about her.

Laura is also brilliant. Seriously, she has the best vocabulary of anyone I know. She loves to read and learn and is constantly doing both. But, I think her brilliance shines most in interpersonal relationships. She has a way of seeing through the bull**** and courageously saying what’s really going on. She just sees things more clearly than most people and she has a way of communicating what she sees clearly and compassionately as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been talking with Laura and had her say something that just cut through it all and got right to the true heart of the matter. Everyone needs a friend like Laura, who can see the truth in their lives and isn’t afraid to tell it to them, and I’m so grateful that she’s my friend.

Laura Johnson is also exceptionally loyal and trustworthy. She is a friend you can count on to be there for you no matter what. I’ve gotten to be on the receiving end of that loyalty many times. Laura has stood by me at times when I felt like my world was coming undone. When God felt distant and unloving and at times unreal at all. Laura would talk with me, let me share my doubts without judging me, loyally stand by me, and gently remind me of truth. There are things that Laura knows about me that no one else knew for years (and there are still things that only she and my husband know). I always knew that I could trust Laura and I could rely on her to be there for me in the hard times and in the really good times. Laura was also one of the first people I told when I first got a crush on my husband, she was one of the few people who I gave permission to veto any guy I was ever interested in, and she was the first person I told when Bryan and I had our first kiss (my first kiss ever). Laura has seen me through a lot and I feel so blessed to have her as my friend.

Laura is also one of the few people I’ve ever met who just gets me. She understands me. I don’t often have to explain myself with Laura, she just gets it. She often will say something which is almost exactly what I’m thinking and we have definitely had times in our friendship where we finish each other’s sentences regularly. Our conversations often develop to a point where we are both talking at once and talking over each other, and finishing each other’s sentences but we both just understand and get it. I’ve always felt a little like an un-understandable outcast and like no one fully got me, but Laura is one of those few people that I don’t really feel that way around.

And on top of all that she’s just plain fun to be around. Laura likes to laugh and have fun and we definitely have done both of those things a lot over the years. Whenever I get together with Laura I know that I will laugh and enjoy life, I know that I will feel understood, I know that I will be able to share exactly who I am and receive grace and love, I know she will see me and my current life with clarity and wisdom, and I know we will have long, deep, meaningful talks about anything and everything we can think of.

Laura, may God meet you today exactly where you are. May you feel and receive and know His peace and rest even amidst the craziness, busyness and un-expectedness of life. May He take your hand and guide you to green pastures, to growth and freedom and newness of life. May he surround you on all sides and protect you from all harm. May he bless the work of your hands and the relationships in your heart. May he bless your marriage and deepen the love that you and Aaron have for one another. May he bless your classes and use them to shape you into a new creation. May he bless your future and all the uncertainties that the future often holds. May he hold you and Aaron closely in the palm of His hand and gently take you where He wants you to go. And may it not be long before we again share a lingering talk over a good drink J

I love you, my friend. And I miss you deeply.

Rejoicing in the journey – Bethany Stedman

Photographs by Beth Stedman