Thursday, December 5, 2013


Tonight as I was starting to pack for a trip for work, I had to go get my big suitcase in my storage room.  It has been years since I opened that suitcase, so what fell out when I opened it was a surprise and a little sentimental. 
Throughout college, and the few years after, I was in a ton of weddings. 
26 to be exact. 
26 weddings=26 dresses. 
Let's get gut-level honest here: you do not wear bridesmaids dresses ever again after the wedding.  With the exception of maybe a few.
Well, I didn't want to just throw away all of the dresses, so I had them made into pillows. 
Tonight, when I opened that suitcase, I saw those pillows, all different colors, shapes, and sizes.
 And realized a little piece of my heart is attached to each one. 
As the pillows flowed from the suitcase, my heart flooded with gratitude.  
I have the very best friends in the entire world. 
If we are friends, then WE ARE FRIENDS. 
Probably a little more like sisters. You may get tired of me. 
I may show up at your family events.  You will probably hear from me multiple times a day. 
I will be a recent contact, or maybe even a "favorite" in your iPhone. 
 Friendship is super important to me. 
And I have been blessed to have so many different friends in all of my stages of life. 
If I started to name them all, I would surely leave a whole slew of them out. 
My High School friends were the ones I played sports with, had my first double dates with, and had the most fun slumber parties with. 
We thought we knew it all and come to find out, we hadn't scratched the surface. 
My Phi Mu & College Friends journeyed with me during the most confusing times in my life. 
I look back and see how those years were preparing me for the independence that I craved. 
My Campus Outreach/JSU girls are the ones who were with me when
 I first heard of the love of Jesus. 
We dug deep into God's word, we were silly, we lived together, we had more inside jokes that you could ever imagine, and we prayed for husbands and children together. 
All of these women are married with beautiful children now and it is a joy to see the prayers we prayed so long ago being answered. 
They are raising a godly heritage and I know our Heavenly Father is pleased. 
And I have friends who were very short lived but served a great purpose. 
And my small group at The Gathering. 
These ladies are showing me what it means to love people sacrificially. 
Most have opened their homes to students and are sharing their entire lives with them. 
Some have started an orphanage in Togo, Africa and are obeying God by loving on those orphans.  One in particular is showing me by her everyday life what it means to honor God, in every way, but namely in your body by exercise and eating healthy. This has been life changing for me. 
What an inspiration she has become and one of my very dearest friends.
And then I have a few forever friends. 
 You just know when people are forever friends.
Two are younger than me and one is older. 
We have the kind of friendship that Jonathan and David did in the Bible.
One is 26, on foreign soil, giving her life to the Dalits in India. 
She is helping to rescue women from human slavery in the form of sex trafficking.
 I pray I can give my life away as she does one day.  
Another is living and raising a family in Jacksonville, AL.
I am known as Aunt T to her daughter.
This girl opened her home to me when I was at my rock bottom. 
I am always a handful, I know (self awareness!!!) but, at the time I lived with her and her husband, I.was.a.mess. 
I had wreaked havoc everywhere. 
Yet, she loved me, took me in, and stood by my side until I could get the help I needed. 
On her couch is where the scales fell off of my eyes and I saw Jesus for who he truly is. 
And the last one I mentioned is one of the most unexpected relationships I think I will ever have.  While I was at New Life, I had prayed for a godly woman to disciple me. 
That was the extent of my prayers.  I
 didn't even know what I needed, but my Heavenly Father sure did. 
This friend has taken me by the hand day by day and is walking through life with me.
I get to see what a godly, long-lasting marriage looks like. 
I see her husband love her as Christ loves the church.
She has shown me more about loving my Heavenly Father than she will ever know. 
Eternity will be different because she chose to remain patient and love me the way Christ does. 
A true forever friend, indeed. 
None of the people I mentioned are in the same stage of life as me anymore. 
All but one are married.
Most have children, some grown, some fresh out of the womb. 
They live all over the world. 
Yet, our hearts are forever knitted together. 
Tonight, when I saw the pillows, I thought it might be more appropriate to have had a quilt made to represent the way God has knitted together all different pieces of my life to form something beautiful.  
You ladies have, in some way, shown me Jesus. 
             I can only pray I can do the same for my friends.
          And it is so much fun to walk through life with you all!!         

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