I received no small amount of advice.

One friend recommended I attend an upcoming conference. Another suggested a pile of books to read on the subject. Still another mentioned a retreat, weekly counseling or one-on-one mentoring as a means to find strength.

All great suggestions, all possible resources for tackling this trying, beautiful, exhausting life season that, more days than not, leaves me dry and tender.

But, more than a lengthy to-do list (and the endless guilt that came with it), I needed a circle of safety. I didn’t need fixing; I needed surrounding.

When a friend finds herself neck-deep in life’s muck—regardless of the specifics—she needs a person more than she needs advice. But how many times (forgive me!) have I offered an abundance of words and scant little of me?

Oh, that I would stop trying to fix people, and instead spend myself loving them!

Counsel is merely a condiment on the table. When used wisely, sparingly, it adds flavor to the meal. But it will never replace love as the glory of the feast.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1 (Message)