Barnes and Noble……Starbucks coffee…….a stack of books and my bible lays on the top. I remember going there on this particular Sunday night with a heavy heart in need of reflecting and time to write, space and a place to digest what was going in life. Attempting to understand where God was at within my reality. It’s funny that this bookstore was the same one that I sat at almost five years ago trying to make sense of life, God, church, people and how it all fits together. I also have recognized that no matter where I am, doesn’t matter the country or the place, my way of dealing with a heavy heart is always at a coffee shop with a good book. On this evening I sat near the corner and just wrote. I looked up to see a man reading a random magazine at a nearby table. Just shortly after, a woman joined him. I watched them for a few minutes and realized I had seen her before. I recognized her face but was attempting to place in it my brain as to where we had connected before.
Then I recalled the scenario. It was at our church, Summit, a few weeks before. I sat in church listening to one of David’s sermons on biblical community. I reached for my iced vanilla latte that I grabbed before the service and and I ended up spilling the drink all over the place. How could I clean the spilled coffee dripping down the row in the middle of a sermon? The next thing I know, a woman passes back a packet of tissues to assist me in trying to clean up the mess. We exchanged names after but it was a very brief encounter.
The woman in the bookstore was the same one from church that graciously helped me in my embarrassing time of need. I got up and felt the need to engage in conversation with her. She recognized my bible, of how used and tattered it was. She couldn’t believe someone of my age would have it so worn. Her name is Melissa and little did I know at the time that she would quickly become one of my bestest friends.
We are one in the same spirit. We have similar things from our pasts that unite us in ways that will never ever be separated. It’s almost like I met a missing piece from my life that had always been there. It went from friendship to sisterhood quickly. I left that bookstore that night thinking, this is the start of something new, something good, something so orchestrated by God that honestly, I couldn’t of picked a better person to have in my life. I love her fierceness in spirit, her boldness, her love for Jesus but also the sensitive heart that seeps through.
I went over for dinner to Melissa and Evan’s home with their two children, Reese and Gray. I fell in love these two little girls. Reese, 10, is a lot like Evan. She is quieter, quirky and very smart. She also has this strength in character that isn’t on show but I have seen it come out when she stands up for girls in her class. Gray, 4, is a breath of fresh air, creative in her speech, and wears her strong spirit. Her innocence is inspiring to me.
I spend a lot of time with this family these days. I am spending Thanksgiving in their home too. I feel like I am one of them. Like I am Melissa’s long lost sister. She inspires me in taste of music and also with this charmbracelet she wears. We have meals around the table, spend evenings watching the sing off, have coffees from the Nespresso machine which happens to be my favorite, and one evening Melissa gave me a full on manicure and pedicure. This is as close to Jesus as you can get really. I am always encouraged by her and leave her presence feeling uplifted. And in moments of doubt she tells me to press in and trust.
“You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another.”
This truth rings true and is very much the foundation of our sisterhood.
I am excited about heading back to England. I will have to share more of that some other time but for now. I am enjoying this evening with the Foster family, thankful to have met them, to know them, and to be a person they would call family. I am going to miss this time and I am starting to realize that every moment is precious, it’s a gift from God.
The bible that I have used for four years, it has all my writing and highlighted scriptures in it, is no longer in my care. I felt I needed to give it to a friend that I haven’t seen in nine years this week. The first person I called to share this with was Melissa. The same bible that brought us together I no longer had.
Tonight we are sitting around the dinner table and Melissa says she has a surprise for me. We get in the car and she takes me to a Christian bookstore and tells me to pick out a new one. We come back to the house and as I type this up Evan is making us coffee, Melissa is baking cookies, and I’m sitting at my computer with my new bible open. I love that this is what has become a normal thing for us. We are all doing what we love in each other’s company.
God puts people in our lives at specific moments, right when we need them. We don’t realize how much we need them and love them until we can’t imagine what life was like before them. It’s not in my mental capacity to see my life without Melissa, without our friendship.