About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the author of several books, including Growing Slow. She and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way...

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  1. Jennifer,
    I loved the book “Charlotte’s Web”. Though it’s a children’s book, the message is true for adults. I love the idea of leaving a friend better than when you found them. I pray that God would give me the wisdom as to when I just need to listen and let my friends share. I may not be able to make it all better, but I can be a safe place where they can lay their burdens down. Thank you for the lovely encouragement and reminder this morning!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • I went back and re-read portions of “Charlotte’s Web” before writing this post. It’s rich with good advice for friendship and loyalty, ya know? Charlotte set out to make sure that everyone knew that Wilbur was “some pig.” What if we all set out to make sure that a friend is “some sister,” “some Bev,” “some Andrea,” “some Lynn.” We could do that! Always a joy to connect with you here, Bev. We’re so glad that you stop by. You’re a true Charlotte.

  2. This is wonderful! I have been blessed with friendships that I couldn’t bear to live without. And it’s a good reminder I need to give as well as take!

    • I’m so glad the words found their way to you, Andrea. And I’m so glad to hear that you have the gift of good friends. You are blessed.

  3. Jennifer, this is such a lovely piece (and you have a lovely mother btw!) I recall hearing that very advice from pastor Chip Ingram on own of his talks actually in reference to public bathrooms (of all things! 🙂 He said that Christians leave things better than they found them, so I’m always wiping down counters and picking up stray paper towels that people leave behind. 🙂 I love your application to friendship, and hadn’t heard it expressed that way before. You always teach me something new. Sad to say, I’ve never read Charlotte’s Web, but I just got chills when I read that Wilbur said to Charlotte: “Why did you do all this for me? I don’t deserve it.” Those were almost the *exact* words that my beloved Jewish friend whispered to me over the phone, with every hard-fought breath, just weeks before he died. He had glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer on the planet. He had come to the Lord, and I wanted to do all that I could to encourage him in his new walk and his devastating illness. I’d send cards regularly, give him gifts (like his first Bible), made a CD of my singing encouraging songs (including hymns, spirituals, and a beautiful Jewish song that he loved), prayed for him, and sat next to him whenever he was in church. I loved him so much in Jesus, and though I begged God to heal him and was so sad when he died, I rejoiced in the greatest gift the Lord could have possibly given LD. What I was doing was no big deal . . . but LD couldn’t understand why. I did it, because I loved him. That was it. (Maybe you read about this in our Christmas newsletter). Your lovely essay here is a poignant reminder that I need to do far more of leaving the world a better place by investing in those I love . . . and in those I don’t. thank you so much for your beautiful sharing.
    Love
    Lynn

    • Lynn, I’m so very glad you shared the story about LD here in the comments. That’s a perfect example of what it means to be the kind of friend that “leaves one better than they were before.” Grateful for you, Lynn. You’re a true Charlotte.

      • What a lovely thing to say, Jennifer. I hesitated sharing, b/c I didn’t want this to sound self-serving. Thank you for understanding the spirit in which I meant it. So grateful for you too.
        Love
        Lynn

    • Lynn, Thank you for sharing. You and Jennifer have me tender this morning; Thinking of ways I can be a friend to someone. Thinking about how Christ is a friend who goes above and beyond.

      • Diane, thank you so much for your kinds words. We have never even met, and I have always found you to be so warm and profoundly encouraging. Bless you!
        Love
        Lynn

  4. Growing closer to the Lord has made me a better friend. Embracing God’s love for me has allowed me to love fiends unconditionally and He has freed me to receive love from friends. I’ve just recently been enveloped in love, prayer, and food through an appendectomy, and I thank the Lord. I love your blog and it inspires me and always encourages me!

    • Hey Tricia! A joy to connect with you here at incourage this morning. Thanks for sharing about the friends who have encircled you in your time of need. In order for a friend to be that kind of a friend, someone has to be willing to be on the receiving end. They were a gift to you, no doubt, but you gave them a kind of gift, by allowing them to serve you. That’s beautiful, ya know? God bless you, Tricia, and I hope that you are on your way to a full recovery. Maybe you can spend a few minutes in the sun today? It’s beautiful where we are. How about you?

  5. This is simply beautiful! This last month, during the deaths of my father and niece, I have been blessed with many “Charlotte” friends and now feel the call to being an even better friend to others. Thank you for this, Jennifer.

  6. Jennifer … I love love this… God is speaking to me about sacred spaces…. I came across these words….What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control…. May we weave words that are wrapped in grace over one another’s life!!! Blessings and grace to you~

  7. This is so good and I’m so glad you shared it! I’m a new bride living in a new city and friends have been hard to come by — but I’m reminded by this post to *be the friend* someone else needs. Super excited to be encouraged!
    Thank you for sharing! I’ll be back!

  8. Love this! Thank you for this post. I’m inspired now, with your Mom’s words in my mind…to leave people better than I found them!

  9. Leaving a friend better off than they are always encourages me to do just that. Rather than share about myself, i like to say things that get my friend to think about themselves and how God’s love has surrounded their life through the good times and the bad. it’s hard not to want to express something about myself, but i find that in spending the few moments we talk together lifting the other person up, i also get lifted up. God is certainly wonderful in how He makes friendship such a blessing. Thank you all for being a smile on my face this morning.

  10. I love this sentence: “We can be the kindness givers and the Kleenex-bring-ers and the joy donors when they are running on empty. I definitely want to be one of those people!! In fact since mid last year I have felt he urge to quit my job and just be a local missionary!! I know how enjoyable it is to receive cards, letters, little niceties-unexpected gifts. It lets people know that you care and miss them or that they matter to you!!
    I want to leave my corner of this world a lot better than I found it. I want everyone to see me and see Jesus!!
    Blessings 🙂

  11. It’s been so long since I read Charlotte’s Web. Love these quotes. Blessed by your words today.

  12. Jennifer, Charlotte’s Web was a childhood favorite! I have been blessed to have many Charlottes in my life. I hope I am Charlotte to them… LOVE this post and your description of a friend! Walking with Jesus, our Lord and Savior, FRIEND Always! God bless!

  13. There’s a familiar biblical principle at work when we become the Charlottes: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). As we seek to delight others with Charlotte-like behavior, God manufactures even more delight in our hearts. How amazing is that!