This past weekend I hosted a birthday party to celebrate turning 21. It was not a drunken ordeal, in fact, there was no alcohol at all. It was my just my friends eating tacos and playing games. I loved every moment of it. I remember looking around, tortilla chips in my mouth, at the people I surround myself with. I heard the outdated Black Eyed Peas song on my ridiculous party playlist I had created and I heard the voices of those I loved most singing along to a song we all knew in middle school. I was blessed to meet all of these people in college. each and every one of them mean so much to me, showing up in my life just when I needed them or they needed me. However we met, I am thankful.
But this post isn't about my birthday party, it's about the people God has placed in my life. I am thankful for my church family and my campus ministry. I am thankful for my supportive family. I am thankful for the mentors and professors who invest in me. I am thankful for the friendships I've been blessed with. Whether they are abroad as missionaries or ministering locally, I am thankful for their godly desire to teach and to serve. Whether alongside me in Bible classes at Faulkner or alongside me on mountain tops in Europe, I am thankful for their companionship. I love that each friendship has security rooted in Christ, my King. That with any problem or praise, I know that they will take it to the Father. I cherish these people with all of my heart.
I didn't start out my college career with friends. It took me a while to find secure relationships, and even then, no one is perfect. I remember being very depressed in my dorm room the fall of my freshman year. I remember tears rolling down my cheeks as I begged the Lord to send me friends. I remember feeling unwanted and unloved. I remember aching to laugh with someone, to be known by someone.
Little did I know, these things can take time. I've seen in the past year relationships grow stronger, new friends that I wouldn't imagine being this close with this quickly, and friends that were there to wipe my freshman tears, whether I appreciated them then or not.
Friends, thank you for all the love, the encouragement, the rebuke, the compassion, and the fun. Thank you for hugging me when I cry in public and listening to my incessant talking. Thank you for the sweet notes and and sincere words. For every sip of coffee and every step taken in Targets. For every late night in prayer and every early morning in Scripture. For snacks late at night. The trips, the sleepovers, the study sessions. Shopping trips, Bible studies, workouts, and concerts. And any other fragmented sentence I can contruct to communicate that I am thankful for the time and energy poured into our friendships.
Paul writes to the church in Ephesus the very message to my friends, old and new: