The past two days was the first time in close to ten years that the entire crew from Apt C was able to be together over night. We have had many other occasions (including weddings, babies, birthdays, etc.) where we have gotten together but someone has always been missing during our visits with one another or the trip was less than 24 hours. The only thing I have to say about that is unacceptable. It is completely unacceptable that we would miss out on making memories together and sharing our lives with each other.
While discussing this tragedy we all agreed that this was a problem and without any hesitation our sweet Martha got all of our calendars together and figured out a date that worked for all of us to be together, kid and hubby free, for some good old fashion "Apt C time." It is safe to say that for close to 48 hours we did not stop talking. As I drove home today I realized how truly grateful I am for each of these women in my life. I think it is only fitting that I give them each a little shout out because life would be so different without them; it's hard to think about life without them really...
Ashley: You, my sweet friend, speak so much truth. You are the kind of friend that meets you where you are and if necessary helps get you to a new place. You are dedicated and loyal and I am confident nothing would waver you from those qualities. Your devotion to the Lord is steadfast and makes me desire a deeper relationship with Him too. This weekend I love that you shared something you thought I needed to hear even though it may have been hard for me to hear. I am glad that I know through it all you love me enough to be honest and help me see truth. I am also so grateful that eternal life is more important to you than offending someone. Your heart is where is needs to be and I cherish that about you Ash.
Cathy: I think you would listen all day if the person you were listening to didn't stop talking. Your eyes are glued to whomever is sharing their heart and your mind is fully engaged. It is so special to share things with you because I know you genuinely care and want to hear what is going on in my life. I also love the special bond we have as teachers. It is an "all in" kind of job and I love that we can share in those difficult and exhausting days as well as the triumphant times together. I feel like I could call you up and cry or laugh through whatever that particular day brought and you would 100% understand and be there. You are the kind of friend that speaks with such a gentle spirit. The smile and the laugh you share is contagious. You make people want to be better and look at the good Cath.
Jackie: You understand a little part of my heart that not many people can understand and you let me know it is ok to feel however I want to feel. You are the kind of friend that is able to be in some of the worst places with people and then come away still Jackie, with a smile, ready to see whomever through to joy. You have done that for me and I appreciate every chance I have to talk to you. You also make me laugh. There is nothing better than a friend that brings joy with them everywhere they go. I see that joy come from the most honest place in your heart and it makes me realize it is real and I can feel it again too. And to top it all off you are the momma of all mommas! I am so serious when I say I look up to you and everything you do with your girls; through sickness and health you have kept your head up and shown me a strength in darkness that is hard to find without the light of Jesus.
Katie: You, my dear friend, are so selfless. You continually give others so much; but most importantly, from my perspective, you give your time. I see a servant's heart when I look at you and I realize how much of your heart I need to replicate in my own life. You are also so honest and have so much knowledge to share because of your dedication to sit quietly with God. I love that you listen and read specific things daily and share that with us because you know it will impact our relationship with Jesus. It is so special to me to have a friend that pushes me to deepen my faith. And the relationship you have with your husband is incredible. I love looking at the example of love you two have and I love learning from you how to better love my husband.
Martha: I love you and your BIG heart. You are encouraging to no end. You make people smile just by walking in the room because we know when you are there you are going to dive deep into our lives immediately. You are going to check on us and want us to know you pray for us. And it is apparent that you really truly do. You lift up your friends and want only the best for us. I also must mention your amazing talent. You inspire and encourage through your art. It always amazes me how a simple brush stroke for you turns into something so beautiful. You are dear to me Mar, and knowing that you are ready and willing to shower me (and all of us) with encouraging words is something we all need and continually lifts us up.
As I am writing I am thinking about how every single thing I wrote could go next to any one of these woman's names. I am confident that is not the case with all friendships or groups of people, but I can honestly say that you five are truly a blessing and truly a gift from God. You all speak truth, you all bring joy, you all go deep, and you all love big. I am honored to call you each my friend.
Martha wrote earlier that we have been friends for over 10 years, celebrated 6 weddings, and had 14 children (with three more on the way)-all together. I am positive you each make me better and I am so thankful we have done all of those things together. This week was a blessing. Thank you for being my people.