So this is a story about
two friends… God moving… fun. and yes… about how somewhere in there, God was moving too….duh.
Once upon a time there were two friends who were called, yes called, to lead a small group together. And they prayed together, were trained together, and used by God together to lead and grow a group of others (more of their awesome friends) into a closer relationship with God. The girl, she was pretty cool, she had a vision that all the young adults of this Spirit-driven church would come together in this great community to Worship the one, true, living God and to friend and plan fun events... And he, well, He couldn’t have chosen a better man to lead, what with his divine, and humble spiritual wisdom that has a way of both challenging and encouraging all whom he encounters… so there
we the two of them went doing nuttin’ but a God-thang. It’s about community, about growing, about Him…
It was the second of three groups
we they led that year. Oh hell. I was trying to be creative but I think this story is better told in first person.. let me try again…
I remember starting the group and feeling so nervous… (actually, I think I might have even said that.. like for real those were my first words to the group…). This was something different for us—these peeps, they weren’t our teenagers… and we were their friends… But as time would reveal soon enough, we worked well together…a good team, God ordained. We learned that quickly—especially in the years to follow, especially now in looking back… I don’t think I’m wrong in saying, even now.
We’ve done a lot of ministry together, him and I. Retreats, countless youth group events, and this. To date, this would have to be one of my favorites though. It was life changing… and he might agree with that… or maybe he would just say it was a “bodacious” experience. Whatever it was, it was glory revealed (three years later)…and yes, bodacious too.
I distinctly remember an email from Jake saying he was coming with his girlfriend– and that he was excited! And he remembers these two really, REALLY quiet people… I also remember a conversation between the two of us wondering if they were really enjoying themselves…. I guess the fact that they kept coming back was answer enough… and it was as though each time they came back, God showed us a little more of these two really, REALLY awesome people. This one guy who talked about cow poop and something called a seal-dance, and this beautiful woman with a gentle spirit, meek heart, and crazy-ass faces that had us legit lol-ing.
We all loved hanging out with them, drinking wine, building fires, playing games, bowling… well, then they got engaged. And then they invited us to their wedding. And her bachelorette party holds good memories. And the wedding, that cool girl I mentioned before, she caught the bouquet. …but then they moved away. And as he says lately, “why do all our friends have to move away…?”
just kidding… btw- how much do you love that song choice?!!
Friendships like that don’t end.
Actually, I’m pretty sure that was just the beginning.. with an occasional, “hey, let’s meet up while you’re in town…” and a “I miss you” text… and if we were lucky, the “OMG! It’s so good to hear your voice…” But it was friendship. And when we did see them, that laughter picked up where it left off. And the goofy–it got better every time after. But waiting for the next time… it wasn’t so fun…and remember, I said this was a story about fun…
Three weeks ago we (Justin, Jenn (and her new plus one, Anthony), and I) went to see them and this life they’re living without us.
And that laughter that I was talking about, it picked up again…right after the hugs that said, “welcome home,” and “all is right in the world.” …and “here, let me take you out with my monstrosity 6’4 frame.” Actually, I think the exact words were, “All of a sudden, I saw this little thing running towards me, and I just couldn’t wait to hug you… but I did underestimate your little-ness.” … or something like that. Oh, but those hugs were good, soooo good. On the way home, I shared this quote with Jus, “There are moments that I know I will long for, even as I live them.” That was one of those moments.
And the goofy came back. And my cheeks, they’ve been out of training. Because his voice changes, and goes all “Kirsch-y” and her faces make me spit out my drink. And my sucky bowling makes them laugh. And her on his lap, and him just loving her. Those moments– I’m longing for more.
And there we all were, these best friends of mine. She wore a new dress with her new boyfriend at her side—oh and that thing he has about noise complaints, wake up calls, and Sarah Mclachlan. Him with his wifey and crow calls and honesty and heart. Her at a crossroads, with a future so bright we allll need sunglasses. Him with a strawberry smoothie, hold the whip cream, give him the bacon. And me, there I am, submerged in those moments. give me more!
and not just more of those… “let’s pick our noses…” and “let’s look ugly” moments, but the moments that lead us on the open highway– where everything is a little bit easier… there we go, making it His way….Going deeper His way.
and if we’re honest,
maybe most likely getting lost along the way.
I think it’s safe to say that when we met three years ago that we never imagined where or how God would lead us over the weekend that’s probably why we needed two smartphones. No- we probably wouldn’t have the words for it. In fact, five billion thoughts swirling, ten billion questions turning, still. And the words, though still fighting for a little more clarity, they’re here…finally…kind of…
I think there are times when God speaks this loud and unremarkable truth. He gives us glimpses of His glory as it’s fulfilled in our lives. And sometimes we know why and other times not at all why.
There are some friends God brings into your life to change you for the better, to challenge you when you need it most, to love you when you think you don’t need it, to teach you that really, you want it… and to break you into those dark moments of bravery, and vulnerability, and realness where the confidence in Him is all you have left to carry you through each moment after… those are the moments I should long for more…
With them, I found the why I hadn’t asked three years ago.
So I asked, “How can we be praying for you?” We did it then, I was going to do it now…
And the honesty between the four of us took on a whole new meaning as we sat there and both listened and gave these intense and fervent pleas from the heart. And I just want to sit in that moment forever with them it’s another one I just can’t stop longing for. The moment that purpose was revealed- us in their life, them in mine. And when God crosses your paths with people like them, it’s delightful and breathtaking and the moment becomes flawless in the presence of His will. His glory reigns– His will ordained. That’s not just bodacious, it’s fun too. I told you this post was fun….
I struggle with whether or not to share what I’m about to– mostly because it was our moment, so I’ll just share this much–these words being the sweetest reminder I’ll have in another three years:
A parked car under the stars and voices that call out to Him become one of the most intimate moments you’ve ever experienced until hours later when you do it all over again, this time with tears, fears too. It goes without saying I’ll forever long for those moments.
And those prayers– oh that His plan would unfold as a result! How many friends do you have that you can actually say you share those moments of intimacy with? How many friends do you have that you can pull the car over to hold hands, hell- we did more than that, we held hearts too… But that’s them. that’s us. God, that the bravery and vulnerability would break us into a greater purpose then the here and now of the present… three weeks later, and I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that it has…
I came back changed. Three weeks later and I can’t explain why or how… and I find myself questioning the “why,” now, and that get’s me. Right back here…in the back of my throat, where the lump gets harder to swallow like a real life battle where I fight for so much more of Him and His plan, His purpose… His glory.. just like that night.
I’ve been praying for almost forty days–two words, “Be enough.” In all honesty, I’m losing my joy in that and it’s being replaced by a discontentment that has me going back to those moments wanting more– just the slightest bit more where I’m actually able to both seek and find purpose amidst His overwhelming presence in not just my life, but our lives. Instead, I’m being forced to find something new…beyond my own thoughts or understanding, that His Love is enough, it needs to be enough…
…and I’m waiting, not necessarily knowing the why’s in the nows, but assured of this immeasurable love He’s been speaking to me for a couple of months now… and oh that it is enough.
We were humbled. I think I can speak freely saying “we” there… because God used us in these two beautiful lives, that is enough. I go back to those early moments where the nerves tried to discourage, and where the silence tried to diminish His plan unfolding…where past struggles might have held back the embracement of who He is… but even now, especially now.. those moments pull me deeper into a glory so fierce and bright that I fall on my knees, humbled to have been used by a King, loved by a King, loved by them and that’s enough.
On our way home we got the most beautiful message from her. It brought tears to my eyes, and he laughed because it’s so me. But it wasn’t so her to have them too and those words humbled me even more… I keep repeating them, even now, “You guys truly reflect God’s love…” which is, enough.
ps. no YOU guys truly reflect God’s love……..and that’s, enough.