Let me tell you about these awesome friends that I have.
Back in 2007, we were all Freshmen at Northwestern College.
Most of us lived on the same wing of the dorm. (First North Steggy! Woot!) One of them I happened to sit next to on our first day of class. Three of them were my roommate at some point in our college careers. Over the next few years we became the best-est friends.
Since 2007, the eight of us have laughed together, cried together, learned together, prayed together, graduated (mostly) together, and lived this crazy thing called life.
After four years, we all graduated and went our very separate ways - to many different states and many different careers and life changes. I've celebrated with them as six of us have gotten married. We've spent countless hours on the phone together, technical difficulties while we are Skyping, many letters, and endless facebook messages keeping in touch despite the miles between us. But we promised each other not to let those relationships. It's not always easy, but it's too important to let die.
So at least once a year, we have a little vacation together to intentionally foster that friendship. It's hard to find a good time and place, but we make it happen. Last October I spent a weekend with them at a cabin in Wisconsin.
This year they came to Chicago!
So last night we continued a tradition that was started that first year of college. Based on a scripture in Joshua, where God miraculously parts the waters of the Jordan River for His people to cross on dry ground. They carry rocks over and build an alter there to be a continuous reminder of what God did for them.
So each year we take rocks and we write on them the things that God taught us and did for us that year. By now I have quite a pile of stones. I love that I can look at each one and remember the trials and joys that God has brought me through.
Although I didn't have any rocks for us to write on last night, we talked about what we would write on our rocks this year. We talked about what God is teaching us, how we've grown this year, and about some of the challenges we've faced.
Then this morning we went to church. Today's service was a celebration of the church's 3rd anniversary, remembering the "Only God" moments in their history - the things that you look at and say "Only God could have done that."
What would you know but the scripture for the sermon today was that very scripture that we read last night. We sat there in our seats looking at each other and thinking how funny it was that they would use that exact same passage that we read last night. Then as the sermon went on and the pastors showed us some mementos that they keep from important times in the church's past and talked about exactly what we had last night, I leaned over to one of my friends and whispered "If they give us a rock to write on I'm going to DIE." We sat back and listened to some more stories for a few minutes and then Kathryn nudged me and pointed under the seat in front of her. I leaned over to look and sure enough, there was a stone and a marker under each seat and at the end of the service they invited each of us to write our own "Only God" moments on a rock as we sang one of my favorite songs "take my life and let it be, all for You and for Your glory." I didn't die, thankfully, but we all couldn't believe it.
Only God, guys, Only God.
What a sign that this is the right place for me this year. What a blessing for my friends to be here this weekend.
This weekend was so refreshing and just so good. As hard as it was to say goodbye this afternoon, I'm beyond thankful for my relationship with each of these women.