The eight of us met about fifteen years ago in little Wilore, Kentucky, while the guys were enrolled in various graduate programs at Asbury Seminary.* When we first started meeting, we were all in our first fewish years of marriage. None of us had kids yet which made things like sitting around and having nice meals and enjoying long talks fairly easy. Fast forward to July 2018 and now we’re four families and 18 kids strong. Getting together can be tricky as two of our four families live on the other side of the world but we fight schedules and calendars to make it happen.
And I’m so thankful we fight that fight. Life hasn’t been a joy ride for any of us so the getting together and the encouraging each other and the praying for one another and the truth telling and the blessing one another really really matters. It is an epic pick-me-up, a reminder that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, that He is WITH us. God has given us each other FOREVER and I couldn’t be more thankful.
If you don’t have a group like this, pray about finding them and then make a meal and open your door. Don’t try to find how-are-you-doing friends but how-are-you-really-doing friends. You’re looking for how-is-your-heart friends and let’s-pray friends, I-don’t-care-what-your-house-looks-like friends and let-me-help-with-your-kids friends. We’re so thankful we have this in these awesome humans and some key people in Shreveport and Texarkana and Atlanta and Colorado and Alabama and Texas (the list goes on- stop moving away everybody) as well because it makes all the difference.
Fifteen years seems like a really long time ago but it’s really nothing. We talked about coming back to our little spot in Stanton, Kentucky in the year 30 billion 18 and I can’t wait. These friendships will endure because they’re built on the hope of eternal life and the love of a God that has promised to make all things new. These last fifteen years are really just an eye blink but the love that remains a constant is a gift and it’s something we’ll take with us always.
Thanks be to God.
*Truth be told, we would have never met these people if I hadn’t shared a laugh with this spunky girl from Northwest Arkansas who happened to be in my bible study group in Lexington and whose husband happened to be at the same seminary as my husband but that’s another story.