Right now, I’m living with the most wonderful group of girls. In our home, we share many memories and many laughs. We cry together and feast together. We worship and we dance. Above all, we strive to live intentionally, fully invested in one another’s life. Instead of booking up our schedules with obligations and busyness, we set aside time for togetherness, valuing the relationships and ministry found in our very own home.
It took a bit of time for me to assimilate to this model. I was used to busyness. (Still am.) And I was used to living in a home where everyone was busy. No matter where I lived or who I lived with (and oh, I’ve lived with many), it was the same thing. People going-going-going, passing their housemates like ships in the night. I know because I was probably the worst of them.
When I moved into this house, I was excited for a slower pace of life, and a home bordering romantic fields and farms and open country. More than that, however, I was excited about living with women who had a history of challenging my thinking and my faith.
Of the four gals, I’d seriously done life with three: sharing meals, Bible studies and ministry at YD Adventures. We were connected.
But not Jessica. She was a freshie in my life. In the midst of a busy summer schedule and the occasional family dinner, we slowly connected, ultimately finding common ground in our random acts of goofiness and dance… plus, of course, an undeniable love for Jesus. From there, we built a bond that developed into a beautiful relationship: one where we both give and we both take.
I never knew the sacrifice that went into fully loving a person or fully letting them into your life. But I have found it is most joy-giving to be a friend – especially one fit with vulnerability and a willingness to surrender personal will or want.
I don’t always have that naturally. Sometimes Jess runs down the stairs when I come home from work, anxious to connect. Exhausted and looking forward to some solitude, I routinely have to fight the urge to send her away. I choose to fight it, because I know it is important to her. I know that my reaction could be damaging. And I also know that, within minutes, I’ll experience the deep joy of relationship.
It’s a tiny little thing. But it matters. Other times we dance together and pray together. She braids my hair and asks me to tuck her into bed. I do it because it’s more than just tucking her in. It’s a time for her to feel special and loved, when we both share vulnerably from the heart. Sometimes, especially when I’m sick (like now), she offers to tuck me into bed, kneeling at my bed and praying for me like I do with her.
I thank God for delighting me with this new discovery: of what it means to really love someone. For allowing me to see how I can give more and surrender more, to be all He has asked and to live out His commands. It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s rarely easy. But when I see that my biggest obstacle is myself, I begin to be a part of the solution. After all, love begets love. And the Source of love is much bigger than you and me.