Thirty years ago, these precious women and I began to serve in Germany with Cadence International/Malachi. We were young, single, just out of college and at the beginning of an adventure that would profoundly shape all of our lives.
As we served and loved teenagers on US military bases, we shared lots of life together too: late nights, days off, road trips, vacations, holidays, autobahns, retreats, love lives, heartaches, laughter and oh so much more.
We've been in each others' weddings, at the births of children, at funerals. We've cried, laughed, comforted and rejoiced with each other, sharing in the joys and heartaches of life, even after we moved to different parts of the US and Europe.
Nineteen years ago, after Laura and I had already moved to Czech and Poland, the six of us met together in Germany for our first reunion.
It was the last time we were all together until this past Sunday.
However, we began writing each other every month shortly after that, and have kept it up all these years. We each have two months in the year that are "our month" when we write the others with news, thoughts, depths of our hearts and prayer requests.
I always know that these sweet sisters will be thinking of me and praying for me in February and August, as I do for them in their months the rest of the year.
With Laura and I planning to be in the States this fall, we realized that it was finally feasible for the six of us to reunite from our corners of the world: Oregon, California, Colorado, Poland and Czech.
Thus, the second reunion of the "Reunion 6", as we call ourselves, began Sunday evening after the Thanksgiving week-end, with a drive up to Breckenridge, Colorado.
Curled up in the home of friends, we began hours of sharing face to face instead of just through letters.
Each of us had an hour and fifteen minutes to share past, present and future - anything we wanted our sisters to know and hear from our heart.
Though it felt like it could never be enough time, the Lord multiplied it as we sat for hours sharing, listening to each other, and speaking words of encouragement and love: heart sisters in person rather than from afar.
As I sat in that room with these precious friends, I felt a welling up of such deep emotion, more than I can even express. But so very grateful for how they have profoundly impacted my life for thirty years. The commitment, love, and depth of friendship between us is almost impossible to describe. They mean so much to me.
For thirty years we have spoken words of truth, love, exhortation, and comfort. We have cheered, grieved, trusted God and believed Him for each other. We have sought to be a sounding board and a safe place, loving each other through growth and change in our lives.
My life has been so deeply enriched and blessed by these sisters in Christ.
We left with a continued commitment to one another. It's our desire and plan to stand with each other in life, for as many years as the Lord gives us here on this earth, and for the tens of thousands beyond that into eternity.
These are lifelong friendships with women I absolutely love and adore. Oh how thankful I am for each one of them.
Of course because of that saying goodbye was not easy. It never is.
But I know we each left feeling nourished, blessed, believed in, encouraged, loved. And oh so full of the presence of Christ for having been together.
Jerri, Joyce, Laura, Lori and Ruth: The grace of the Lord be with each of you, my dear heart sisters. I love, adore, enjoy and celebrate each of you! My heart already longs for the next time we will be together in the same room.
|Yes, amidst the seriousness, there is a lot of hilarity and laughter too! How could it be any different?!