Recently I was asked “If you could say 4 words to your 17 year old self what would they be?”
I couldn’t answer the question immediately. Not because I didn’t know what to say, but because 4 words would not be able to contain all that I wanted to.
At 17, I was afraid of late nights and falling in love again. I was afraid of losing people that I loved, and trying too hard for people who didn’t care. But more than anything I was afraid of being alone.
I spent many nights praying that one day I could live in a tiny apartment, and sip on a cold coca cola on a sunny afternoon with the laughter of friends filling up my living room. We would hope together, love, cry, live, but most of all dream together. And my walls would be drenched in memories.
As I write this, and recount those prayers I think about how good my God is, because He delivers immeasurably more. The summer of 2016, I was blessed with 7 people who understand me and know my heart. And as this season ends, and fall comes, my heart is overwhelmed knowing some will be going back to college.
I can only hope to accurately put into words how much each of them mean to me.
Kristen – Don’t ever leave. Ha! You’re not allowed cause I like you here too much. I can literally talk to you about anything, everything, and nothing. You are honest, trustworthy, and loyal, and all that I could have ever asked for in a friend. My only regret is that I didn’t let you into my life sooner. I can’t wait for more Pei Wei dates, and Sisterhood nights. For more country music, and for a heck of a lot more dancing. I’m so glad we have grown with laughter, and tears and so happy we can continue to grow together in the coming months. We are going have so many more crazy, fun, stupid adventures and I am literally so excited to make them with you. I appreciate your presence in my life. I’ve need a consistent friend, and I am so thankful that I get to call you my own.
Justin – So I’m just gonna start by saying I forgive you for loving me, then not loving me, then loving my best friend instead. I mean…it’s fine, haha. This summer, it has been so great to get to know you. To have honest conversations with you and to hear you speak your heart about your passions, your family, and your future. Your drive to be better, and to do better is something that I respect so much. I want to thank you for taking care of me. I know you’re shaking your head right thinking, “Of course” because to you being someone reliable and dependable comes first nature. It’s instinct. When I needed my couch moved, or my bed frame put back, or tons of crap moved into my apartment who were not only ready, but willing. It has been so nice to have someone who cares enough about me to give me their time, and their energy to make sure I’m okay. So thank you again. It means more than you realize.
Hannah- The pure fact that you get all my SpongeBob references should be enough for people to get how much I love you. The one thing I love more than anything, is people who can make me laugh, and you are the best at it. You have cured so many of my bad attitudes and sucky days, simply with your wit and a smile. You radiate with kindness, and overflow with joy and it has been the utmost blessing to watch you pour that into the Fusers and into our little family. I hope you know how great of a gift it is to have the ability to make people happy. You are so special and so important, and I thank God that you came back to GM to serve along side me and the crew. You are a vital part of our family.
Bri – You are the simplest one to write about. I could brag for hours about how easy it is to be your friend. You are beautiful, talented, and encouraging. But more than anything, you are my John. The John that rested on Jesus’ shoulder, the one who was at the foot of the cross, the one who was called beloved. Bri, I want to thank you for being the friend who leans in. For knowing me well enough to know that I still need that kind of love, and for being comfortable enough and close enough to always be willing to give me those “ok, Bri that’s enough” type hugs when I need them. I want to thank you for being the one who sits where others do not sit. In my greatest times of struggle, and when you I have needed reminding of my purpose, you have told me what I do matters, and have been at my feet whenever I needed you. You have understood my heartache and I can’t explain to you how much that means. Lastly, I want to thank you for allowing me to be confident in your love. It has been a tremendous blessing to fully understand that no matter what, you are here and you love me. I am overjoyed to get to walk into the semester knowing that I am not losing every one and that you are here with me, walking through the struggle right by my side. I know I’ve said it a thousand times, but I love you to the moon. *flicks nose*. We can do this.
Joshua – Our friendship is literally me making jokes and you not laughing at them. At least 70% of the time. But the other part of our friendship is our love for Fuse. Can you even believe all that God has done? I don’t know if anyone else quite understands the miracle happening here like we do. And its not over. You’re all set up to be a leader, and I can’t wait to watch you win over people for the Gospel. If this summer was just a tiny glimpse into your future, I know Jesus is already looking down saying “Well done”. I want to just say, I admire you. I don’t know if I have told you that before. I admire your heart. I admire your courage, and I admire your perseverance. I am stinkin’ proud of you. Fix your eyes, Joshua because is gonna do something big with you and I can’t wait to witness it.
Kenn- Some where between Xtreme Camp and Fuse Camp, you became the greatest thing that has happened to me this summer. Because you were willing to say yes to serving in the Zone, to dancing on the stage, and to being a Sixer sister, I got to have a chance to become best friends with this popular cheerleader from Lonestar. I was skeptical of our friendship at first, but then you had me at Alive. (: I have loved every second of this summer with you. From getting to share our little Colorado sorority together, to staying up late checking our horoscopes on the pull out couch of my living room. I say it all the time but we really are the same person. We aren’t so much best friends, but more extensions of each other cause we just get each other on a different level. You comprehend my introversion, and my sassiness. And without saying a word you know just how to make me feel included and calm. We don’t exchange sappy words or give emotional speeches, but we do actions really well. And every time you save me a seat or ask where I am, I hear you say, “I love you.” Kenn, I’m gonna miss you. And today it hurts knowing you are going back to college and I am losing you, because it feels like I am losing myself. But know that Ill just be here holding down the fort until you get back.
Little – You are more beautiful tan Cinderella, you smell like pine needles and your face is like sunshine. Ha! So stupid, but really its true? Whatever. So you know how much I love you, but you can bet I am gonna remind you yet again. I am the most unpleasant, lousy, annoying, and all around obnoxious person you probably ever met, and I never expected to get to be the best friend to a silliest, most beautiful, loving human being that ever graced the planet. I am an outrageous person, whose has been redeemed only by the warmth and consistently of your friendship. You know what a mess I am, and you have stayed. You have stayed. You have stayed. I only say that so many times so that you know how much it means. You know I hate it when you have to go because doing things without you sucks. I find myself getting jealous. Like I want to say “Go have an adventure! Conquer college! Go off an do great things.” But then in the back of my mind I want to say, “Just with me though or bring me with you. Or better yet just stay.” I know that super selfish to want you here but its always gonna be how I feel. You are my summers, and my holiday breaks. You are picnics in parks, and opening the window to touch the sky. You are belly laugh, singing happy songs at the top of your lungs, and passing notes to people to cheer them up. Do you understand why I miss you when you are gone?
“You’re my person. You make me brave.”
I love you most.
So if I had to pick 4 words to say to my younger self it would be this…
“God provides. Just wait.”
On a late night, 5 years from now you’ll have fallen in love with 7 of the most ridiculous, bravest, kindest human beings that you ever had the good fortune of knowing and you will never ever have to feel alone.
Please know I will miss you guys every second that you’re away. That my heart is already homesick, but I am so very thankful for each of you and the summer of a lifetime you all gave me.
Hash brown blessed.