Michelle Van Loon for November!

We have our lineup finalized and are working on the details of the schedule for our November 4-5 gathering. Joy and I have that squeee! feeling, like, We’re really doing this?! Again?!

We are so excited when we get to brainstorm together how to bless, encourage, and challenge the women who will be attending.

I met Michelle Van Loon at the Festival of Faith and Writing. She squeeed all over me when we were introduced, telling me how much she loved Jesus People USA and our ministries. I told her about Deeply Rooted, and she gushed when she said, “If you EVER need a speaker, please let me know. I would LOVE to be a part of that.”

So here’s Michelle, and she’s a part of it! She is a woman who tells the stories of “spiritual ragamuffins, rebels and refugees.” I’m sure all of us fit into at least one of those categories right now, or will soon enough. You won’t want to miss her in November.

She is the author of four books, has contributed to several devotional projects and is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s popular Her.meneutics blog.

I have a contributor blog called The Mudroom and Michelle is today’s featured writer. You can read the first part of her post here, and click the link if you want to read more. If you like what you read, consider following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, leaving a comment, or subscribing.


Requiem For a BFF by Michelle Van Loon

Being the new girl in 8th grade was like walking over hot coals every day. All the other kids were a part of established cliques. Hormones and insecurity are a double rip tide that pulls under all but the strongest and most resilient of us during middle school.

It was a life preserver to have Karen draw me into her circle of friends during a ski trip. Her clique wasn’t “cheerleader popular”, but they were a pretty cool group. As time went on, we cycled between being besties and drifting from each to connect with others in the intense friendships that characterize adolescence. Karen and I found our first bond in our respective difficult home lives and our shared weed smoking habits, then as each of us came to newfound faith in our Rescuer, Jesus.

When I got married at the end of my sophomore year in college, Karen and I learned that the bond of true friendship was elastic in nature. Our lives went in different directions for a while, and our rubber-band bond stretched farther than it ever had before.

Our lives were different for a while, as I focused on married life and then starting a family, and she traveled abroad and finished college. We fell again into closer orbit after she and her husband started a family. We were together in the trenches of parenting, and our kids grew up spending lots of time together. Even after my family moved a couple of hours away midway through our kids’ respective childhoods, Karen and I stayed tethered to one another by phone call and visit.

Want to read more? Click here.

You can also read more of Michelle’s writing on her blog: Pilgrim’s Road Trip.