My People, The Gift Of Friendship, and A Vow Renewal:
Meet Kelly, Ashley, and Sarah, i love my people.
At the start of my last semester of college I really began to crave Christian girl friends. I had my sisters, and I am sooo so very blessed to have them, but I wanted to be SURROUNDED by women of faith, not just my family, but real friendship that goes deeper than love, laughter, fun, and all the goodness that comes with great friends.. i wanted Christ centered relationships in all areas of my life. It was right around this time that I met my husband. We both wanted to dive in deeper into our faith. He encouraged me to start a womens bible study through a small church that we were attending together at the time. A seed was planted and so so much good fruit has been beared because of it.
Through this womens bible study I found myself, I found who God created me to be, I found friendships that will last a lifetime, I found relationships that held me up when I was in despair, people that prayed with me through the most meaningful moments of my life and the most difficult.. i am forever grateful for our womens group.
Out of this group I met 3 women that I feel God created to be my soul sisters. We are three very different women, but we are three women that balance one another in the most amazing way. I think its so beautiful that when I met these 3 ladies, only one of us was married and only one of us had a baby, now we are all four married and 3 of us have kids. The beautiful part of it is I get to do life with these women. And God chose them wisely, because doesnt He know exactly what we need?, Yes, yes He does. He chose women that would not only be an incredible match with me and each other & people who are healthy that lift me up sprititually and only speak truth to me, but He also strategically chose men for these women to marry..men that God knew would become some of my husbands closest deepest friendships. Thank you Lord for our people.
If you follow me on instagram you saw that I went to a Women's Christan Fellowship dinner and had the pleasure of hearing author Shauna Niequist speak. I started reading her book today and I already love it (Bread & Wine). Heres an insert that touched my heart this morning:
"It's those five faces around the table that keep me sane, that keep me safe, that protect me from the pressures and arrows and land mines of daily life. And it isn't because we do all the same things, live all the same ways, believe all the same things. We are single and married, liberal and conservative, runners and adamant nonathletes, mothers and not. Those of us who are mothers do it differently, form cry-it-out to family bed, from stay-at-home to full-time work"
"We've gone to funerals and birthday parties together, reported bad test results, gotten advice about sick kids, made trips to the ER, walked together through postpartum depression. We've visited eachother's babies in the hospital, and we've brought over meals and sleepers and blankets. We've talked about faith and fear and fighting with our husbands, sleeping through the nights and anxiety and how to ask for help when we need it.
On the hardest days, when Brannon's daughter Emme had surgery, or when Casey's stepdad passed away, when something breaks apart or scares us, we send around a quick group email, even as our hands are shaking, even while the pain is slicing. We fill everyone in, ask for prayer, let everyone know how they can help with meals or witht he kids, and at the end of the email, someone always says, Thanks for being my people. Or Glad you're my people. Or, What would i do without my people?"
- Bread & Wine Shauna Niequist
I couldn't have described our story better for these 3 girls and I. This is the relationship I have with each of them, these are the women I prayed for for years and God blessed me with them and their husbands.
Here we are celebrating Ashley & Sean's 5 year Vow renewal. You see, they met and fell in love right away. They were engaged sometime after and during their engagement decided "we just cannot wait!". They wanted to be obedient and wait for things that God tells us are sacred and saved for marriage. They were so in love and desperately wanted to be together forever so they ran off to the courthouse and didnt tell a soul.. they saved this for themselves for an entire year.. no one knew they had gotten married. And they were too worried that everyone would be upset for doing it without them that they kept it a secret... this beautiful union wasnt shared with a soul except for with each other. They were the only two souls that knew, just them and God. I think this is soooo romantic. But she tells it much differently. She has told it with a bit of disappointment in her voice, as though she did something wrong and should have waited or included everyone. But I think she now realizes their love story is perfect. It isnt about everyone else. It was about them. It was about their obedience to our King. It was about romance and starting their family, their love, their union, their committment to each other and God for eternity. They came out and told everyone a year later, and they were terrified to do so, but every single person in their life was J O Y F U L with the news. Every single loved one was so happy for them and understood.
Ash and Seany never had the wedding that every girl dreams of. They never had a chance to share their love story, their testimony in front of witnesses and their loved ones. They didn't get to celebrate with all the peole that have prayed with them, cared for them, and been a part of their union. So, 5 years later an opportunity arrose and they put together a celebration. And it was perfect. I was in tears to watch these two dedicate their souls to each other again. Who meant their words and commitment even more 5 years later than they did the day they wed. It was so special and so intimate, every guest there could feel their love, every witness was touched by it. They meant every word of their vows, because they've already lived them.
Isn't she stunning?
Dont mind me.. Im mid sentence.. but i SO love this picture because its REAL. It captures us exactly how we are. These are my prayer warriors, these are my people.
I was honored to make this bouque for my beautiful best friend. Its so much more special to gift someone with something you've put your heart and soul into.
Can they be any more wonderful together..?!
And then the celebration.... (some fun shots that I had a good laugh at!)