I think in Christian circles there can sometimes be this verbiage that describes the ideal way we are supposed to interact with each other. We seek to “love each other well” or “share our lives with each other." As I heard these phrases used more and more throughout my time in college, I believe I tried to describe most of my friendships like this. But I think I was doing my friendships a disservice because they were so much more than that.
My friends that I have made over the past four years listen to me, challenge me, and celebrate with me. Some friends point me back to the Word constantly and others sit with me through the messes and show me what compassion and grace should look like.
In my life I know I need to do a better job of cherishing these moments and these friends, as they put stamps on my life, but in a chilly morning last April, I truly believe God presented me with the opportunity to reflect on my friendships rooted in Him.
I was on a retreat with my Younglife team, and we were worshiping. We were fortunate to be away from the busy city of Austin, at a serene lake right before finals. One of my good friends was playing the guitar while we all sang along, and I could not help but notice this bittersweet feeling I had. I knew I had about a month left of ministry with this team, and then I would be heading to Dallas to start a new chapter.
At first my heart hurt because I was going to miss this team, my friends, more than I
could ever convey, but I also was so thankful for each and every one of them.
My relationships with them had passed “loving each other well.” We had served in a ministry together for at least a year. We had shared a fellowship meal together every Wednesday night for six semesters. We had prayed for each other, shown up for each other, and grown with each other.
And to be completely honest, I am still trying to strengthen all my friendships by rooting them deeper in Christ, but these people are such a blessing to me. I know how lucky I am am to have these friendships and to see them modeled on a weekly basis through our congregation. I continue to see the way you care for each other and challenge each other, in the best way possible.
You live life together, which is why I cannot wait for the Fall sermon series and Fall Groups. While I know it will make me miss friends that made Austin feel like home and made me feel so known and loved, I am excited to be challenged to be a better friend. I am praying to be open to what God puts on my heart, and I cannot wait to see how our church uses this opportunity to find new ways to do “life together.”