So if you read my last blog, you know that I was fourteen when I got saved. My home life was pretty turbulent at that time, and I was in ninth grade, which just happened to be the year that all the “it” girls and guys started to drink. Shocking I know, but I was actually co-captain of our school’s cheer squad that year (probably more because I was a natural leader, not because I was the best cheerer. But I did have a pretty awesome toe-touch! Anyway…) In particular, most of the girls on the squad were going to these drinking/hook-up parties every weekend, and here I was a brand new Christian, and my conscience was screaming at me that I wasn’t to be any part of that. I had never quite fit in that crowd anyway; I didn’t know WHERE I belonged. That year was heaven and hell at the same time. I remember there was a rumor circulating around the school that I had an “A List” of people I would be friends with and I wouldn’t be friends with anyone who wasn’t on that list. It was completely untrue. On the contrary, I was reaching out to a lot of people in our school who were treated as outcasts, inviting them to church and telling them what God had done in my life. One day on my way to Science class, three boys knelt down and mocked me Wayne’s World-style, bowing to me and saying “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” (Funnily, two of those boys grew up and became pastors!) But I was so hurt by all the random lies being spread about me. It was my first taste of persecution, and I was SOOOOO lonely.
Starr, the girl who had led me to the Lord, went to the other junior high in town, and I didn’t know any other serious Christians at my school. But then something amazing started happening. Let’s see if I can get this order right: Allison led Starr to the Lord after she had gotten saved at church camp, Starr led me to the Lord, and then one of my closest friends, April became the first person that I ever led to the Lord. Almost immediately after that, April led Maria to the Lord. One by one we fell at His feet, and our lives were all changed by Christmas time. I’ll never forget it. And then we found Nadia, who was the most explosively joyful Christian any of us had ever met. (And she still is!) And a circle of friends was formed that still remains unbroken, even by years and distance and babies and marriages. All through high school, we leaned on each other, laughed together, cried together, worshiped together at Angus. We were tight. And when we are able to get back together, even after all these years, it’s always the most natural thing in the world to just pick up where we left off.
It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that this gift of godly girlfriends He had given me was quite an extraordinary thing. Most young, sold-out believers in Christ, it seems, walk the road without friends cheering them on, like I had. I am so grateful for these precious girls. I walked through more than a few fires in those years (we all did), but we didn’t do it alone. There was even a season when I secretly strayed far from the straight and narrow, near the end of high school, but those girls’ hands were the ones that pulled me through that dark tunnel, and they still loved me, even at my worst.
In a couple months, all but one of us (plus a couple other girls that joined our circle a little later) are having a reunion/retreat. Many of us haven’t seen each other in years, and we are going to worship together and do an in-house Beth Moore retreat together. I can’t wait!!!
Okay, so the next blog is going to be about that tunnel, and I’m kind of dreading writing about it, but I need to, because God did something amazing in me, after He crushed me. Just warning you. Heavy stuff coming right up.