I had reluctantly taken the role as their "leader". Truth be told I wanted the much cooler position of VP for the college junior class.
Sitting on the couch in my hall director's apartment I agreed to pray with her about being an R.A.
In a way only the Holy Spirit could move, my desires changed. As our heads raised, mine started to nod "yes", yes, I would take the position.
That "yes" required me to move to the polar opposite side of the dorm. Which may not seem like a big deal, but at this college switching floors was like switching sororities. Serious business.
On a warm August day in 1997, girls entered the hallway, loaded down with their beloved high school memories, to fill new (incredibly tiny) concrete walled homes. And I searched each face praying for connection and hoping to enjoy a year of new. . .
~ ~ ~
Fast forward to last week when I sat on a couch in a off-season beach house in Michigan City, IN with a group of these same girls. Girls I hoped to "connect" with 17 years earlier, I now consider foundational friendships.
For 2 days in March as the cold air blew outside, we held warm drinks and shared all God has been doing in our lives. We talked about the good and the hard. Then we took turns surrounding each friend in prayer. Thanking God for the requests He had answered and pleading that He would continue to prove faithful in other areas.
These women have been sharing my story since I was 20 years old. Like the time we made sports bras out of men's underwear. Or dressed in black and danced on stage to "When Doves Cry". Or wrote in a journal that we mailed around the country every month for years (long before Facebook). They know me, my junk, the crooked paths of my story and they always point me back to Jesus.
~ ~ ~
Last month, wowzers, was I blessed to have my birthday fabulously celebrated. God's goodness overwhelmed me, as I sat at table after table surrounded by women who direct me back to Him.
And with each group of gals we share a common history, a shared story. There are the college friends, the "had babies at the same time" church friends, the new kids-in-school-together friends. . .
But it hasn't just been this season where God has been faithful to answer my prayers for friends. . .
- I remember sitting in an apartment in Wheaton, IL, a new wife, begging God for friends and He provided a small group of ladies who sought Him wholeheartedly (Rebekah being our study leader).
- I remember staring out at the San Francisco skyline pleading with God for women who believed there was a God. He introduced me to two the next Sunday.
- I remember starting off at a graduate program at Northwestern, completely alone, praying for a kindred spirit and He generously gave me five.
- I remember moving down to Texas, starting a new job, and not knowing a soul. Once again I prayed He would bring ladies who would help keep my eyes fixed on Him and my cup now overflows with community.
So if you find yourself alone, longing for a female soul to have shared faith and shared stories and shared lives, I encourage you to pray (yes, pray) for God to bring you friends. Pray whenever your heart grieves. Whenever you long for companionship. . . pray. I'm confident He will provide.
I've actually started praying for my future daughter-in-laws to have women in their lives who point them back to God (& I wrote more about that over here at the MOB Society blog this week).
Lord, we know you designed us for community. You desire that we gather together, reflecting on Your past faithfulness and hoping in Your continued provision. May You guide each woman who reads these words to find a kindred spirit, a friend to direct her back to You. In Your precious name, Amen.
**While you are waiting for the prayer to be answered, may I humble suggest finding temporary community online. I've found fabulous like-minded women through the Hellomornings community and the (in)courage community. In fact, there is an (in)RL *free* weekend conference this month that you could check out and get plugged in (you can even host ladies at your place and watch the conference online).