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Thursday, August 18, 2011


Sometimes I forget how truly blessed I am to have such godly women in my life. It seems as if some of the dearest women in my life are spread all over this country, but still I am extremely blessed because of the impact they have had on my life (and thankful for facebook to help us stay connected!).


I met her when I was sixteen years old. It was my first time away from home for an extended period. I was working at a Christian summer camp cleaning bathrooms, setting tables, and junior counseling. I can still remember walking into our little cabin - what would be my home for eight weeks - and meeting Joy. She was hanging curtains in our cabin that her grandmother had made, and her smile immediately put me at ease and stopped the butterflies from dancing in my stomach. Her name fit her perfectly, and it still does to this day. She immediately made me feel at home, and not like the squirrely highschooler that I surely was. She was the counselor in that cabin, and I her junior counselor. She had just finished her freshman year at Bible college, and I my junior year of highschool. She immediately treated me as an equal, and I immediately had respect and admiration for her.

The summer was filled with fun memories. Joy was an amazing counselor. She was FUN - so, so fun. She made me laugh at her outrageous antics. We were so different. She was loud and lit up a room as soon as she entered. I was quiet, and tried my best for no one to notice me enter a room. But we clicked. She gave me advice as I began to date Jim that summer. She listened to me swoon about him. She prayed with me, and she encouraged me in my relationship with God.

Two years later I went off to attend college. Guess who was in my dorm on my floor? Joy! A year later she was my RA. Joy mentored me the two years that we attended school together. She spent countless hours pouring into my life. I have vivid memories of the two of us sitting together in the lounge. She was the one who really taught me how to study the Bible. She taught me how to use my Strong's Concordance while I studied the Bible. We memorized Romans 12 together, she was my accountability partner and oversaw what ministries I was part of in college. She invited me to her church my freshman year. She looked out for me, took me to the hospital when I had bronchitis my sophomore year, and became the best biblical example of a mentor that I had ever had in my life.

Joy pushed me to be the person that God created me to be. She saw past the shy, introverted girl, and challenged me to go beyond myself and rely totally on God in me. Joy pushed me into leadership positions in college that I would have never pursued on my own or thought myself capable of.

I believe with all of my heart that my college experience was a positive and spiritually growing time for me because God put Joy in my life.

And with knowing Joy brings joy.

That has not changed. A week ago, I was able to visit with my sweet friend after not seeing her for a few years. We actually met up at the camp we first worked together at. It was exactly how I remembered being with her to be - a time of sweet fellowship filled with joy.

Joy, I love you. I love how God knitted our friendship together 14 summers ago. You are probably not even aware of how you have helped shape so much of the woman that I am today. Thank you. I count you as one of my most treasured friends. Looking forward to sharing eternity with you, and laughing over shaving our campers. {grin}
Photobucket Joy and I with our babies. Our boys are almost exactly the same age - I believe just a day or two difference.




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