A Good Recipe of Intentionality, Vulnerability, Longevity and the X Factor!

I recently experienced time with my “Cabin Family. ”  Once a year, sometimes twice, we carve out time for this treasured week up north in Minnesota. We are just four families, but the group has grown over the twenty years as some of our children have married, others are dating and some now have children.

These folks are the ones I call, “Lifers” you know the ones you are sure will be with you for a life time. In my book Lily PadsStories of God on Display, I write a chapter on relationships/friendship and it talked about a phrase which impacted me. “People come into your life for a reason a season or a lifetime.” Yep! These are some of my “lifers.” As I returned home I was both reflective and thankful for these relationships and the support system they have been for me.

I told my cousin one of the main things that has held this group together is the love of God and His son Jesus. He’s been the central figure and the “X factor.”

“And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

Yes, for sure Christ is our glue! He is why our friendships formed in the first place and He is what has held us together through all the good and bad seasons.

I posted a few photos on social media and later I had a conversation with my cousin. I told her, other than the Jesus factor, a few things have had to be present as well. These are: intentionality, vulnerability and longevity.

She and I often talk for long conversations about anything and everything. Seriously, no stone unturned…so as we dialogued about having a support system, I knew the “cabin family” fit into the description.

She said, “I looked up some definitions and was thinking about things along this line.” I later asked, “Hey, send me some of what we talked about and I’ll include it in my next blog, I’ll be sure to mention you?”

“Rachel, I don’t need you to mention me or my blog, Who I Am!  Just use whatever you want.”

My cousin Annie, is an incredible woman with many giftings, one being administrative abilities and a heart to “get-er-done!” So…

Not too long after, I received an email. I’ll include it here:

I’m just going to type out what’s going through my head and heart. It’s just based on what Holy Spirit walked through with me this morning.

I was thinking about the support systems that people may or may not have surrounding them. A support system is a network of people who provide an individual with practical or emotional support. In going further into the word “network,” it is a group of interconnected people. With that in mind, interconnected means that ALL parts are linked or connected.
After processing through the basic definitions, I drew the conclusion that for anyone to have a support system, the connection must go in both directions. Any healthy relationship is not a one way street and there must be relationship at the foundation of a support system. It needs to be intentional and it needs to stand the test of time, in order for the affect of a support system to withstand the purpose behind it.

Additionally, a support system needs to be both word and deed. If someone is only talking support, it will just create lip service. If they are only walking something out, but not speaking into your life, it will begin to look like control.

Depending on what your journey looks like and who you have in your corner, your support system may look very different from that of others.

Some people may need that friend that they can reach out to on occasion, while other people may need those that are willing to hold you up while you walk through the toughest parts of life.

As a friend, we have the obligation to not only learn what others need, but how to best support them. Everyone’s needs are as individual as they are. Always try to be the friend to others, that you would want to have present in your life.

Rach, Feel free to do your thing…😉😘

This year, at the cabin, I was asked to do a devotional with our group. Our friend Scott said, “Will you share something again this year? Speak on whatever’s on your heart.”

I talked about building/sustaining a culture of honor. I would be remiss not to mention that honoring the person who is in front of you is a huge way to honor God in whose image they are made. I believe this also is an ingredient in the “Cabin Family” special recipe. I believe honor will have to be another topic for another post, but know this, I honor each of the people you see in these photos not for what they do, but for who they are.

I thank God for all of my family and friends, but I wanted to highlight this particular support system. “The Cabin Family” through intentionality, vulnerability, longevity and, of course, the X factor, I have much to treasure here… it’s a good recipe!

photo credit for all above photos Janelle Elise Photography.  janelleelise.com


My cousin, Annie was my guest interviewed on episode 15 of “the real deal” listen to her story here:




Read about the chapter I mentioned in Lily Pads:



Invite me to speak.






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