Lauren.

I’ve known her since I was four years old and will know her until I die. Many who know us appreciate seeing our friendship because I don’t think you can get two more opposite people who absolutely love the other. I’m trying to think of our similarities…and there aren’t many. We’re both competitive, appreciate sarcasm, are laid back and love to laugh. Other than that there isn’t much.

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Lauren is so dear to me. It isn’t because I’ve known her since I was four, it isn’t because I can get a good laugh out of her. It’s because she is consistent with awesomeness that makes her a woman who I hold in high respect. She is faithful in whatever she does without complaining. Her humility is enchanting, and she is relentlessly patient. She is a woman of honesty, zeal, and one who seeks righteousness.

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We put each other in the other’s place.
I’ll tell her to stop being obnoxious, and she’ll tell me to calm down. I laugh at her when she gets riled up during dodge-ball games, and she’ll tell me to actually play. “Get off your BUTT and PLAY!” She has forced me to touch her animals over the years: ferret, sugar gliders and hamsters… while I encourage her to expand her movie taste.

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Over the years we’ve done a lot together. Because we grew up in the same church, everything was church related. We were in the same Sunday school class until we graduated high school. This means, for 14 years, we spent a morning together every week. Once we reached Jr. High, we spent Sunday morning church and THEN youth group Tuesday nights. We went on mission trips together as well as several, several youth retreats. It’s safe to say that I treat Lauren like I’d treat a sister. Because I grew up so closely with her I always felt like I could treat her however I wanted. I would tease her, poke her, fight with her and even sit on her. She’d do the same. We know each other SO well. Our history runs deep that even though I’ll spend months apart from talking to her, when we meet back up it’s like seeing an old relative again. We continue to pick on the other, laugh , hug, poke…the works.

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Facts:
–When we were in elementary school I got annoyed at how much bible trivia she knew.
–Hanging out at her house after church. It was sometimes difficult to think of stuff to do because I never wanted to explore outside and she never wanted to dress-up or paint nails. She had several animals and I was scared of touching them. We usually resorted to playing games.
–I was always louder than she was in Jr. High and I felt like I was the most talkative person in our small group. I was. Whenever it was “prayer request” time she didn’t like sharing and I was always told to “keep it at a minimum.”

It probably looks like we didn’t like each other for a while. We didn’t. Notice how our pictures together started when we were around 14?

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It wasn’t until High School where we became close. I think that’s rare for girls who have known each other since Kindergarten to JUST start liking the other in high school. We didn’t become close because we started to have more in common. Quite the opposite. I think God started to reveal to each of us separately His love that He had for us and through THAT we started to enjoy the other. HE created the wonderful Lauren and delighted in her so much that He started to give me a taste of that delight…if that makes sense. That might be confusing and I can’t speak for Lauren, but I remember starting to think “SHE’S AWESOME” once I was 14 or so. I started to see just how beautiful her character was. Here was a girl who didn’t conform to society. She never listened to music, watch movies, dress or act like anything she didn’t want to. She excelled in school. In fact, she started going to college when she was 16 (or earlier…can’t remember). Her dedication to basketball was admirable and whenever something bad happened, an injury, not having a car or something falling through, she didn’t complain. AWESOME, right!? Yes.

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During high school we did separate things: I was really into anything journalism: working on the school newspaper, yearbook, literally magazine or journaling itself while she was always playing sports or piano. During my down time I just wanted to be with people one-on-one at coffee shops and talk and she wanted to do activities like bike, hike or explore. But we were placed by our youth pastor to be in each other’s small groups until graduation. In high school our small group was a very tight group of girls and to this day, after four years of college, we still keep in contact with each other. During the four years in high school we would hang out outside of church and because of our clashing personalities we had a hard time deciding what to do. My favorite day was when we went to Starbucks and then went to a lake and rented canoes. Perfect compromise.

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I have heard from SO many people in the church “I love seeing you and Lauren together. Didn’t you used to hate each other?” I just laugh and say “Yup!” Lauren and I too will also look at each other and say, “we used to hate each other, HA!”

I love the security I have in knowing how much Lauren cares about me and respects me. And I’m sure she would tell you that she knows I feel the same about her. It’s fun reuniting with her because we’ll hug and then within literally a minute one of us will have poked fun at the other.

I’m not happy that we didn’t get along for so many years. I’m not proud at having such a bad attitude towards someone simply because they weren’t like me.  But I also wouldn’t take those years back.  I love seeing the beauty that can come from allowing Jesus to shift your heart towards someone. It would have been easy to show antipathy towards Lauren simply because of our differences, but I am SO happy we both worked at trying to understand the other, because she is now one of my favorite people.

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