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Tuesday, April 7

My Friend LaNae ~ Character Counts

The Character Counts Meme posts every first and third Tuesday of the month. I’d love to have you join me for spotlighting, celebrating and honoring people of good character, who’ve led exemplary lives and who’ve lived with honor, integrity, dignity and sacrifice, and those who’ve inspired others by overcome great obstacles in their own lives. I believe that when we celebrate and exhort good character traits, we can turn the tide, and see more of them. At least I’d like to try! If you are joining us, please leave your name and link at the Mr. Linky down below and don’t forget to leave a comment! Blessings!

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For this installation of Character Counts, I really wanted to go personal. I’ve chosen to honor someone who means a lot to me, one of my oldest and dearest friends, LaNae. For the sake of her privacy, I will refrain from using her last name.


I first met my friend LaNae nearly 21 years ago, in England, while I was in the Air Force. We were introduced and instantly became close friends. She even had a “Tracy” room in her house, so I could come and stay off base. She was one of my best friends there and I missed her terribly when I came back stateside. About a year after I returned to the U.S., she too returned home to Nebraska. Wanting to try something different, I packed my car and moved from Southern California to Nebraska and we became roommates. Eventually I moved back to Arizona, and though it has been over 12 years since I’ve actually seen LaNae, we still keep in touch and she remains one of the best friends I’ve ever had.


LaNae grew up on a farm in a tiny farming community in western Nebraska. She now lives on a ranch with her husband and two daughters in a tiny farming community in western Kansas. In many ways, LaNae is like many other mid-western folks – honest, hard-working, family-oriented, loves the Lord, etc. But to me, she is much more than that.


In all honesty, I consider LaNae to be one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given me. She has been a strong Christian all of her life, but when we met, I was a well-practiced heathen, from a long line of well-practiced heathens. But rather than keep me at a distance, she welcomed me into her life. She didn’t focus on our differences or judge me for my actions (though she certainly could have), but rather enjoyed the time we spent together and became a gentle, yet very powerful influence in my life.


I have no doubt that her prayers (over 10 years worth) were instrumental in my salvation. Before I knew the Rock though, LaNae was my rock. She was my safe harbor during the many storms of my life. The example she set of kindness, integrity, Godliness, honor, and self-respect had a profound effect on me. She lived the kind of life I wanted to, but didn’t really know how to.


In many ways, LaNae was my conscience, when I didn’t have much of one naturally. Long before the WWJD movement, I had my own little WWLD – what would LaNae do. When I found myself in different situations, I thought of this very often. Now, that certainly doesn’t mean I always made the right choice, but I generally knew what the right choice was because I could imagine what LaNae’s choice would be. For example, I was the type of person who would strike back, viciously, if someone hurt me, but LaNae’s mantra was “kill ‘em with kindness.” Again, that doesn’t mean I would always do the right thing, but there she was, at the back of my mind . . . I just couldn’t get her out of my head!


Of course she isn’t actually perfect, and I promised not to reveal any of our deepest, darkest secrets. (Wink, wink!) But she is the most beautiful woman I know, both inside and out. She’s the kind of woman that most other women desperately want to hate, but just can’t because it’s simply not possible. Like all of us, LaNae has gone through some tough times in her life, but she gets through them all by clinging to Jesus. She is the very picture of grace and faith. Her walk with the Lord is steady, her relationship with Him is deep, and her love for Him is strong. She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk, and inspires others to do the same.


LaNae, I love you, girl! Thanks for a great 21 years of friendship!



4 comments:

Billy Coffey said...

What a nice tribute to a lady who truly understands what it means to be a witness for Christ. Not to judge or force, but to simply be there and be an example.

I envy her.

gzusfreek said...

Thank you, Tracy! Great post:)

lynnrush said...

Awesome post, Tracy!

Lori said...

What a really great tribute to your friend LaNae! Yes, being a heathen myself makes me thank God for friends who prayed me into the kingdom! She sounds like a powerful witness for God! Great job!