Claudine Phillips

Do you have friends that never lose sight of who you are

I am a dreamer.

I have tried career after career out of curiosity and out of pure directionless living. I have been on this journey of finding what I am “good at” for years. Finding purpose.

Part of this journey has placed me in some interesting jobs, awkward auditions, and disastrous circumstances. For example, I tried my hand at waitressing in college. On the first day, I mixed the checks up between two tables. I gave the two-top the six-top check and visa versa. Ouch. The 6 top walked away with paying little {smirk} and the two-top….well…my tips did not cover the difference. The manager simply told me, “Honey, this job may not be for you.” I agreed and left defeated.

Despite each defeat, I would dust myself off and try again. I have had jobs that range from retail clerk to owning my own personal chef service to the director of Nutrition at a world renowned Aerobics Center.


To much relief, I am finally settling in and finding my purpose.  I already knew I had rolls that I was given at birth or through marriage such as daughter, sister, niece, wife, and mama, but there was more. This is what I was on the journey to find. I am a writer, speaker, blogger, photographer, and  friend. Many hats, but that’s how I jive. How I thrive.

Along this crazy road I have looked flakey, called a dreamer in a shade of shame, and seemed aloof. I even doubted my journey a time or two when things seemed hopeless. But there were people in my life that never lost sight of my destination. They never lost sight of my journey to purpose. I call them my front row friends.


They are the ones who gave me a standing ovation in my church choir auditions – as tone deaf as I am. They were the ones that cheered for me as I put my pride on the line and faith in the front as I tried a new business venture. They were the ones that never doubted what I had planted in faith as my next step. They loved me with action and truth, not just words and speech.{1 John 3:18)

I “did stuff” as Bob Goff says. I  “loved God, loved people, and did stuff.” I took the risky leaps of what people would think of me and went for it. And I am glad. I am glad I had these experiences to finding purpose, but what I am most thankful for is the people that surfaced. These unwavering biggest fans of my life, people. In no way am I deserving of these people, but I’ll take them.

They are not good friends because we shared good times together. They are my life-friends because we share life together; the good and the bad.  I want you to know, I am not bragging that I have these souls in my life. It took alot of sacrifice to gain them. Self-sacrifice. I surrendered to being likable and perfect and chose to be authentic and real. They loved me anyway. I loved them back. That’s what makes us front row friends.

My God is a rockstar when it comes to unwavering love. He is faithful in this weak daughter of the king. He has delivered me time and time again, even from myself more often than I would like to admit. But its the people he ever so carefully placed in my life that showed me Jesus in action. That showed me love in the flesh. That would be on the front row of my life, where ever it leads.


I have not informed them that they are my front row friends, but I have a feeling they know. I often dream of a day that I could surprise and spoil them by whisking them away on an all expense paid trip to to a tropical island as a thank you for believing in me. Never doubting me. Encouraging me in their many ways. Simply loving me.

Tatum Layne’s mission statement is rooted in scripture. {Hebrews 10:22-25}


It reflects being a front row friend.

I hope that dream comes true one day. For now, I will love them in action back.  I will share my home, my table, my money, my time, my words, my ears, my tears, my laughter, my heart, my love: my everything. I will do this whole heartedly. I will do this fully and completely. I do this not for me, but for the one who sent his son and showed us how to love in the first place.


1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”


Do you have front row people? The people that sit in the front row of your life and cheer you on, no matter how crazy you may seem? No matter how lost you come across. No matter what, they are there.

Take a minute and make a heart list of those ones that have stuck by you in your crazy life. How are you loving them back and be that front row friend, too?

It takes honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability.


It ain’t easy people. I won’t lie. I want life to be “great” and not talk about what’s really on my heart – just cuz it’s easier. But I cheat myself if I do this. I cheat my cheering section, as well. They watch you be brave and be bold. They follow. You pave the way for your front row friends in how you choose to live your life.

I am not done with my list and I pray that it is miles and miles long when its time to meet my Maker. I pray I have a lifetime to be that front row friend and to receive front row friends. What a gift God gives us through fellowship.

Go have that one on one coffee date with a friend. Take the time to ‘go there’. It may feel uncomfortable at first and you may fumble your words because being authentic and vulnerable is scary! But the reward is a deeper relationship we are called to have with one another. It takes being a front row friend to have a front row friend in your life. I got mine one at a time, and so will you.

Go ahead, take the first steps to whole hearted living and be that front row friend you have always wanted in your life. Make the call. Make the date and go sit in the front row of friendship.