Beach Party Bingo

Everyone told me that I would meet my best friends in college. They were right. My Gospel Community is a rag-tag bunch of folks from all walks of life. We could probably get our own TV show. They were the best friends I never would have picked, but I’m so glad that God picked them for me.

We meet together every Tuesday to eat dinner and talk about life and how Jesus fits into it all. Most of the time we laugh uncontrollably and trying to get us to focus is like herding cats. Sometimes Ron plays oldies music and Marie and Andy dance which makes us laugh even more.

Most Sunday afternoons during football season we head over to the March’s to eat lunch and watch the Hawks. On Thanksgiving a few of us went over to the Thornhill’s just because Ryan Jr. sent us invitations. The March’s let me tag along when they went Christmas tree hunting. Some of my favorite memories are from sitting with John and Monica on the couch, just talking about life (and watching Hallmark movies.) We were the last guests at Nate and Makenzie’s wedding and laughed because it was pouring down rain the whole time. It’s still one of our favorite days. And on November 8th, while the rest of the country lost their minds over the election, we super-cheered until our throats were dry because it was Ryan Jr.’s birthday. We are big on celebrating birthdays.

Some combination of us sit together at church every Sunday and take communion. We have walked with each other through lost jobs and new jobs, moving, infertility and pregnancy, chronic illness, suicidal thoughts and depression, family problems, broken hearts, and everything in between. Right now we are walking with our sweet Monica as she battles cancer.

In every moment, good and bad, we remind each other that God is ALWAYS good. Always.

This past weekend Andy and Marie were gracious hosts and let us crash their cabin. We swam, kayaked, canoed, floated, searched for oysters and crabs, suntanned, ate a whole lot of junk food, laughed, sat by the fire, had a sleepover on the back deck, saw beautiful stars, danced, played games, and super cheered for anyone and everything. It was beautiful and messy and everything I hope heaven will be. It was a great weekend to breathe, to get away, and to remember what matters in life and what doesn’t matter at all.

As I think back on it all, I keep thanking God that He designed us to live in community. I never thought I would say that, but my life is rich because these people are an intimate part of it. They know they parts of me that are entirely unlovable and the love me relentlessly. We rub each other the wrong way and we find that God’s grace and forgiveness is more than enough for any transgression. They are an extension of my heart. They are my family.