More Than You’ll Ever Know……

Back in 1999 I moved to Chicago. After spending the college years and graduate school years rarely stepping foot in a church, I realized it was exactly where I needed to be. I found Park Community Church and shortly after I arrived I saw a notice in the bulletin that they were forming a small choir.

I joined and that choir quickly became a little family. And in that family I gained an amazing sister.

I don’t make girlfriends easily. I kind of suck at it frankly. But Courtney is a girl that you can’t help but want to be friends with. She is an amazing person and we clicked right away.

Shortly after meeting her, I met Ryan and she was my confidant during our whirlwind courtship. In fact, she was who Ryan turned to when he wanted to surprise me with a proposal party.

Ryan. Courtney and Jill

She was the maid of honor in my wedding and the godmother to our oldest daughter. She is one of our favorite people on earth.

When we moved away from Chicago I did a horrible job keeping in touch. Well not horrible, I made the big events, but every year as time went buy and life got busier with family, we didn’t talk as much. Although we never missed calling each other on our birthdays and singing. No matter what was going on, we never missed that.

The whole time I have known Courtney she has wanted to be a wife. I am sure watching me meet and marry someone so quickly and then have three kids hasn’t always been easy, but she is one of those people who is just genuinely happy for other people’s happiness.

So when she called me and told me that she had started dating a man I was so excited. Squealing like teenagers we talked about him and their dates and what this might mean. Could this be the one.

And then I got a call from her that I will never forget. She had cancer. And then I screamed and cried and honestly yelled at God for a little bit. You see one of the things that makes Courtney absolutely remarkable is that she suffers from chronic daily pain from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. But she rarely complains. Rarely. You pretty much have to grill her to get her to talk about her health. She had suffered for years and now this. Shortly after she started dating someone.

But he stuck by her. And cared for her. And proposed to her. And she went in remission. And this past weekend I had the honor of standing by her side as she married that man.

courtney and Jill

She patiently waited for the man God had for her. And she found one that absolutely cherishes her and sees in her all the things her friends have loved about her for years. It was an amazing celebration of friendship and family and God’s goodness. I was so blessed to be a part of it.

Courtney reads my blog faithfully (although she is on her honeymoon right now so she better not be reading right now) and I have never taken the time to share how much her friendship means to me in this space. She knows I abhor displays of emotion, but I thought a nice little blog tribute might make up for the fact that I sometimes stiffen when she hugs me (of course, she’s a hugger).

I love you Court and am so blessed to be your friend. I could not be happier for you. May we have many, many more years of friendship in our future.


  1. I thought I was the only one who sucked at making friends. But I’ve recently become friends with a girl who sounds like your friend…she’s always trying to hug me too, while I cringe. :)
    Congrats to your friend!

  2. Beautifully written about the beauty of friendship and this beautiful friend who has shared life and love with you. Both of you are more beautiful because of the other!

  3. I don’t know your Courtney, but {of course} I’m still crying tears of joy for her as I read this. So, so happy for her – and for you. xoxo
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  4. This also made me teary. What a wonderful tribute.
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  5. Aww, this was so sweet! You girls are lucky to have each other!
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  6. Getting misty eyed. So sweet!

  7. I am proud to say I sobbed openly as Court came in. So happy for her. Happy also to honor her by drinking heavily and dancing shamelessly. No higher tribute.

  8. Ellen Tuthill says:

    So lovely in every way. Being at Park led to so many wonderful things in all of our lives, and I don’t always remember to be grateful. Thank you for reminding me of how special those years and those people still are! Love to you!

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