Wednesday, January 8, 2014

let me tell you about my friend...

We moved to this area a little over five years ago.  It is definitely not "home", as Louisiana, particularly Lake Charles, will always hold that treasured title.  However, we fell immediately in love with our little church and the family there.  And now five years later, we just wouldn't be the same people without them.

This post is going to give a little glimpse into a friendship I found there...possibly in someone a little unexpected...but then again possibly not.

My Dajuanna.  

She is such a beauty!  Her smile and laugh light up a room (I know how cheesy that sounds, but it really is true); she has the literal voice of an angel and can hit notes and harmonies without even breaking a sweat; she always matches and accessorizes with the best of them; she's just beautiful.

But even more so than that, her spirit is beautiful.  She is one of the kindest most tenderhearted people on this little planet.  She bends over backwards to help other people, is always at the center of everything going on, and has a true heart for our Jesus.

Over these past five years, we found ourselves smooshed together time and again with all of our youth group events, ladies' classes, craft clubs, and on and on.  It didn't take long for us to really click and form a full on friendship.  This past year (2013) however, has been the year for us to get to a whole new level of closeness.

This year, we have grown inseparable.  To the point that multiple people have told each of us that we're together all the time.  And when we went a week without seeing each other, they commented on how odd that was for us.  We hadn't even realized that yet!  We craft together and plan events together and love to be silly together.  But this year connected us spiritually, even more than all of our church events past.

On top of monthly crafting gatherings, more youth activities than I can count, coaching our LTC chorus, cheering on our kids at their events, and every bit of "girl talk" we can squeeze in...this year, three big things happened:

Our fabulous LTC Chorus kiddos.  They make us proud.  Pretty much all the time.
--We chaperoned our youth group's trip to Encounter, and in depth and intense youth camp at Lubbock Christian University.  There were 10 of us who went and that week changed all 10 of us forever.  We have experiences and memories no one else will understand.  We poured our hearts out to each other and spent a lot of time in the throne room together, feeling the movement of the Holy Spirit amongst us.  That experience connected us forever, on a whole new level.  We were mentors and towers of strength for five vulnerable and open-hearted teens, and we embraced just how much we love them and each other.

--We planned a youth rally together.  Every detail was prepared together, prayed over, and thoughtfully planned out.  That experience--we still can't believe we actually did it!--connected us forever, on a whole new level.  We were an amazing team, and we embraced just how well we work together.

We even matched (unplanned) on our last day of decorating/prep.  One in the same, I tell ya!
--We planned, prepared for, and taught a ladies' day using Lysa Terkeurst's book, Unglued.  This experience changed our lives.  We had heard Lysa speak at Women of Faith and Dajuanna bought the book.  She came to me a few weeks later and asked if I would help her do a small ladies' day that actually was meant to be a craft day (she had also just signed up as a Stampin' Up! demonstrator)...we had no idea what it would turn in to.  For three solid weeks, we delved into this book.  We could basically quote it and flip to certain material without thought.  The pages of that book are packed with scripturally inspired application for learning to control your emotions.  What woman doesn't crave that desperately?!  Every day, we talked and planned and prayed;  we giggled and cried when we noticed the Lord's blatant hand in our planning.  We crafted and created beautiful gifts that turned into gifts of grace and memoirs of gratitude.  We decorated and cooked and gifted these ladies with precious treasures.  Then we finally mustered up the courage to actually present this material to them which had captivated our hearts.  And because we allowed the Almighty to lead us and enter that place, all of them were also captivated.  We were even asked to come present it to another congregation (which we have since done and it also was a beautiful day)!  That experience connected us forever, on a whole new level.  We basically became the same person, tenderly understanding God's desires for His girls and willingly accepting the call to spread that to others.  We were leaders, teachers, and vessels of the Spirit, and we embraced our steps of imperfect progress in our friendship and in our Christ-walk.

Plus, do you SEE those pants?!  Anyone who will not only wear those with me, but buy them for me for Christmas--we're meant to be :)
She really is my God-sent soul-sister who has given me a bountiful gift in her friendship.  I am so incredibly grateful for every memory we get to share, for every lesson we get to learn, and for every giggle we get to embody.

So this fella Trey told a story at our youth rally about finding a best friend in 80 year old Garth... While our ladies aren't quite 80 (!), we Browning girls have each found our own "Garth".
What a blessing they are to us!
I hope you like me, Garth...because you're stuck with me :P  You are so, so precious to me, sweet friend, and I thank our God every day for choosing us for each other.

xoxo, angie

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."  --Philippians 1:3

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