This is part of the group I've talking about. I've known some of these ladies for over fifteen years. I talk to some on a regular basis. I connect with others only on the retreat. Even the ones I don't keep up with regularly, I instantly reconnect with when we get to Calvary. It's really that amazing! Our hearts for the Lord bind us together in such way that we all feel like we've known each other forever. It's a pretty amazing picture of unity that can happen so easily and freely when believers are right before God.
This year was a very special year because my good friend, who I love like a little sister, Bethany danced. As she danced Cindy, her mother, and I wept. She is an incredibly gifted professional dancer who dances for the Lord. But, it was more than seeing her dancing. It was like it was an opportunity to give back to the ladies at Calvary what they have given us. (Yes, I feel like Bethany is mine too.) I know that Cindy feels like the calling on Bethany's life is being lived out because of the intimacy with Jesus that we were introduced to at Calvary so many years ago. I know her mother's heart was bursting with joy and gratitude to God as Bethany was worshipping the Lord with dance last weekend. I know my heart was. As Bethany danced, my heart was also freed of fears that were lurking but never really explained. Because I see Bethany dance, I know God's plans for our life and our children's lives cannot be thwarted. (An issue that was addressed in depth throughout the weekend.)
As I ponder all that we've been through together, I see a beautiful tapestry of life. It is colored with bright celebrations and tinted with shadows of grief. We've walked through graduations, promotions and marriages. We've birthed babies, struggled through infertility and survived horrible divorces. We've raised, released and commissioned children. We've been freed from addictions, healed from deep hurts and embraced higher callings. We've cried together, praised together, laughed together and hurt together. We've shared late nights, long hugs and Kleenex...lots of Kleenex. We've learned from each other's mistakes. We've encouraged each other to advance despite our fears. We've prayed when no one else was praying. We've watched God move in mighty ways through powerful prayers and prophetic releases. We can choose to live with one another as a patchwork quilt, beautiful but sewed together side by side or we can choose to live as a rich, ornate tapestry with our lives woven together in an intricate pattern. These ladies' lives are part of the tapestry of my own.
I just want to take a second and thank God for my girlfriends...girls who love God with their hearts, souls and minds. Girls who will walk the extra mile to be touched by the One only One who can touch our every longing. I love you all and missed every one of you who were absent this year.
"I thank God through Jesus for every one of you...And God...knows that every time I think of you in my prayers, which is practically all the time, I ask him to clear the way for me to come and see you. The longer this waiting goes on, the deeper the ache. I so want to be there to deliver God's gift in person and watch you grow stronger right before my eyes! But don't think I'm not expecting to get something out of this, too! You have as much to give me as I do to you." (From Romans 1:8-12 in The Message)