|our matching bracelets|
|(L to R) Megan, Jesse, Mackie, TJ, Jake, Ben, me, Judy, Jessie,|
& Ashley at the Century Sparks Theater after seeing "Ponyo"
I came across the picture to the right a few days ago and it suddenly dawned on me that I've had pretty much the same core group of friends for two whole years now. This picture was taken on August 18 (my birthday!), 2009, and at that time it was an extremely random gathering of people... It was one of the first times I had hung out with about half of these people outside of youth group activities; yet in the months that followed most of them became my "regular crowd." Over the past two years we have shared movie & game nights, taken road trips, been to concerts, seen movies in the theater, worshiped, prayed, attended each other's performances, celebrated birthdays, served our community, LAUGHED, occasionally cried, fought, made up, and ultimately grown together. I have come to LOVE and CHERISH these friends so very much that I'm in awe when I look at this picture and think that I barely knew some of them when it was taken!!
|Jesse (left) in his "punk" days...|
Granted he WAS helping Cassidy & me
move out of our apartment in this picture!
I gotta give him credit for that! =)
I'm not sure when or how it happened but somewhere along the way God captured this young man's heart and began a transformation in his life I never would have imagined in those early days. (Shame on me, perhaps, for having so little faith in our God's power to change lives!) I never would have expected to see him not just playing drums or guitar but actually leading worship with a sincere heart. I never would have expected to hear about him making bold claims of faith in front of his classmates. And I never, NEVER would have imagined him becoming one of my closest friends...
I am glad God chooses to surprise us. =)
|Jesse & me at the youth group's|
Birthday Party for Jesus in December
Tomorrow I am celebrating my birthday a few days early with some of my dearest friends, and I regret that Jesse won't be there to celebrate with us. In a few weeks, Jake will be gone as well, attending school in Oregon, and thus another member of my core group of friends will be gone. I'm recognizing a certain season of my life is coming to a close. It is so bittersweet. I know we will all remain friends, and it's not like anyone is moving to Abu Dhabi... We will all still be within a decent road trip's distance from each other! But the fact of the matter is it will probably never again be like it has been for these past two years. While my heart grieves that loss I am also grateful that God leads us to new places and into new seasons as we follow Him. Each season has its own blessings (and, of course, its own challenges). But we can't stay where we are now forever!
|Jesse, Alex, me, Ben, & Jake at Senior Recognition Night|
These are four SPECIAL guys, let me tell you!
I'm thankful Ben & Alex aren't going anywhere!