This is a picture of some of my favorite people in the world – a group of girl-friends from college. This year, we met for our twelfth annual get-together. We are eight women who committed to stay in touch, to pray for each other, to stick by one another no matter what, and to meet together to share deeply about our lives on a yearly basis. Honestly, I have been blown away by the commitment of this group. Even though we are spread out all over the country, we find a way to make space in our lives and budgets to spend one weekend a year together. We rotate hosting the “G8 Summit,” as we’ve been calling it for a few years now. This year, Jenni hosted in Dallas, TX. We usually take an evening or two to do something touristy or enjoy a local restaurant, but most of our time is devoted to sharing about the past year and encouraging one another. Each person gets a couple of hours to share and answer questions from the group.
Despite our differences, I feel more comfortable around these women than any other friends I’ve ever had. I feel like I can be myself around them…and that is a rare find in our world. I praise God for this gift of dear friends who have known me as a naive 18-year-old, as a 20-something in love, as a zealous young missionary, as an eager new mom, as a depressed and hurting woman, as a judgmental know-it-all, as a friend to laugh with, as a skinny girl, as a pregnant momma with little time to exercise, as a failure at the things I long to do, as a successful has-it-all-together conquerer, as a prayer warrior, as a sleep-deprived meany, and as a friend who was there when they needed me. People who have known me though so much have a pretty good idea of who I really am. And they love me all the same. One can only become a better version of herself in the presence of love like that. I came home feeling emotionally rejuvenated (though physically exhausted!). I came away knowing more certainly than ever that there is a reward in staying with relationships through all the stages of life. It would have been easy enough for us to get busy with our own families and schedules, to feel like we are all just going different directions and following different paths, to just drop out of doing this crazy once-a-year, expensive jaunt across the country; but, this year it seemed that we moved far deeper than ever. The choosing to connect over and over is yielding a harvest of trust and deep knowing. And so, I am grateful beyond measure.
(We were one short this year – we missed our dear friend Betsy, but we did have a good talk with her over skype. Also, I got to visit my Memaw, my mom’s mom, and that was a wonderful added blessing to the whole weekend!)