This past weekend in a span of 72 hours, Matt and I traveled over 1,100 miles through five states and consumed roughly 89 gallons of Starbucks iced coffee. I will remember many, many fun memories from this weekend. The most delicious being Pappasitto’s… with their homemade tortillas which reminded me of fresh baked pita bread. And the fajitas with the little ceramic ramekin of melted butter to pour on top of the sizzling steak and chicken. At the end of the meal, I unashamedly grabbed a piece of steak and dunked it right in the butter and savored every last bite.
But truth be told, we didn’t go to Fort Worth for the food. (Although I’d probably travel all that way just for an encore of those fajitas.) It all started a few months back when my best friend of two decades, Emily, sent me a text. She and her husband lead the college and young adult ministry at Wedgwood Baptist located about a mile from Southwestern Theological Seminary. Her text said she wanted to focus their summer Ladies Retreat on overcoming fear. You might recall fear is a little something I know all too well. We chatted back and forth for a few weeks and she asked me if I would come to Fort Worth to teach. I was simultaneously scared to death (ironic, huh?) and crazy excited.
The ladies and I had so much fun Saturday. We laughed and laughed and laughed. We cried. We became fast friends. And as I prayed our last prayer to end the day, I thought about this room full of ladies and the one word that kept coming to mind was courageous. In that room sat future pastors’ and ministers’ wives. From that room two women were headed to be missionaries on the other side of the world. And within that room were beautiful stories, stories these brave women trusted me with. Stories of determination, pain, new adventures, overcoming and heartache. I can’t help but wonder just how many lives these ladies will touch and how many hearts they will show the love of Christ. I know they have already burrowed deep and found a special place in my heart.
Saturday night, as Emily and Ethan took Matt and me on a tour of Southwestern, the sun throwing its last brilliant flame behind the flag with its proud lone star, my heart was so, so full. Full of gratitude… for two decades of friendship, for these ladies and their contagious courage and for a God who uses our pain to become our passion.