In celebration of girlfriends

Last week was a pretty unique week.  So much so, I’ve continued to reflect on it.  College graduation on our campus was May 9th, and as a result, the students have mostly returned home for their summer break.  The quiet of the summer is something I always enjoy as it allows for activities outside of what a “normal” week would allow.

For me, some of those activities have recently included getting to celebrate my girlfriends who are entering into new adventures. Over the last few days, I have celebrated a graduation, marriage, new job and long-awaited pregnancy.

4 different amazing women, who are all very unique and walking very different paths in life.  Their common bonds include only that they are friends of mine and they all love Jesus.  4 different celebrations, 4 completely different ways, and yet as each milestone was reflected on, one thing was repeated.  To God is the glory, His timing is incredible.

For 3 of these 4 women, I was able to take the time to celebrate in person.  The graduate received a surprise dinner party with several girlfriends.  As time was taken to remind this woman how much we all admired her hard work and determination.   Striving to do everything well while balancing a new business venture, marriage, mothering, and school.  The new job was a full afternoon of yummy food for just the two of us. Great conversation and lots of laughing.  To hear my girlfriend, who in January was in tears knowing something needed to change, but fear was stopping it come full circle was not only inspiring but flat out joyful.   For my girlfriend who discovered she was pregnant, a long, relaxing time at the local coffee shop is our traditional choice of carved time out together.  We’ve spent many hours on those couches.  Tears of frustration and understanding have filled the months.  That “why” question hanging over both our heads.  For my girlfriend getting married, travel did not allow physical presence.  Instead, a long overdue phone conversation just before the flurry of weekend activities. A reminder I would be rejoicing all day with her and her new beau, eager for each new picture to fill my Facebook feed.

It felt necessary and important to celebrate each of these ladies.  I think it is because I know the back story.  At some point along each of these paths, I’ve been given the privilege of authentic relationships.  I’ve seen the struggle.  I’ve seen the frustrations, fears, and breaking points.  I’ve also seen the renewed faith along the way.  It is normal in struggles to question why.  It’s normal to feel forgotten and to want to give up.  In those times these women sought support.  They expressed their frustrations, yet instead of stopping they looked to others for strength for a little while.  They leaned on their family and friends, and at some point, along the path I was able to offer a bit of encouragement or perspective that they needed to hear or simply commiserate with them for a while.

It also felt good to celebrate these ladies and the beginning of new adventures.  Life is full of new beginnings.  There is something about a friend’s excitement that can make a new start feel real in a sense.  It also felt good to celebrate these ladies personally.  I have my own “why” question hanging out there, and my own path that includes those moments where I feel my faith slipping to the point where that next step forward seems impossible.  Taking time out to genuinely celebrate other’s milestones allows me those reminders that there is hope someday my “why” will also be behind me.

I think that is partly why God created us to be relational.  God knew our temporary home would not always be comfortable to live in.  He was aware that because of this if left to our own thoughts we would quickly stray from Him.  So, he created the desire and space for girlfriends.  So, in celebration of girlfriends, take some time to let those who are dear to you know it.  Share the good and the bad, you never know, it may be the thing that keeps them moving!