Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Ashlee

I am confident that my friendship with Ashlee is a gift from God.

I can remember before I knew Ashlee. And I can remember when we met. And somehow, we were instant best friends.

Within one week of really knowing each other, we had taken on the project of making iron-on-letter shirts for all the RA's for Orientation. We'd locked keys in laundry closets and convinced the boys to wear our awesome shirts, as well. We make quite a team.

For two years, she was my boss- the dorm RD.

I watched her love on students. Saw her heart for those girls to love Jesus. And I learned from her as she shared how genuine her relationship with the Lord was.

She's a great leader and an incredible motivator.

And because of her example, I wanted to become an RD once I graduated. Her love for those dorm girls made me look for opportunities to minister as well.

She was my matron of honor, making sure that my wedding day went according to plan. The morning of my wedding she gave me some of the best advice. She said, "You've planned and planned. You've got all the details in line. And the day is finally here. It's time to let all those details go, quit trying to make it perfect and enjoy your day." And because of those words...I did enjoy my day! I let everyone else stress over the details. My day was perfect (Pre-Pinterest!).

We've celebrated each other's pregnancies and held each other's babies.

When we were searching for a house to purchase, the Lord closed several doors. All along, He had in His plans that I would get to live right next door to Ashlee and her family. We borrow eggs or cans of diced tomatoes. Our kids play together. Her kids call us Aunt Cindy and Uncle Jeremiah. We've often said..."It's like a movie that the Lord allowed us to live next door to each other." I love our talks across the fence.

She kept our families updated during Hudson's scary birth. She and Lee rushed over to help Jeremiah when I wasn't responding. She even packed my hospital bag because Hudson arrived 7 weeks early. She drove me to the NICU to sit with my preemie. She sat with me in the hospital. And while I was still crazy, she reminded me of my expiring Kohl's cash.

Since both of our birthdays are in April, we started our "Birthday Outing" tradition about 5 years ago. Instead of buying each other a gift, we plan a day out - because spending time together is the best thing ever. Especially kid-free and while shopping. This year we went to IKEA.

Over and over again, the Lord has revealed to me that our friendship was no accident. Over and over again we talk about specific circumstances that the Lord has allowed each of us to experience so that we could be there for the other one. Tears form in my eyes now as I remember conversations that we have had.

Our friendship is easy. Neither of us get possessive or bent out of shape easily. We don't care if we both show up wearing yellow pants. We can go days without speaking. We can be completely honest with each other. We are just there for each other when we need to be.

We love the color red, trade clothes and shoes, hunt for bargains, and love unique decor. Neither of us are huggers. We paint things when we are stressed. We love our families. We attend the same church and the same small group. We'd rather spend days trying to do a project ourselves instead of spending money for a finished product. We talk over top of each other, yet still catch all of the conversation. (Jeremiah has joked that when the two of us are talking he could totally convince someone listening that there are 4 women in the room).

It's a friendship I would have never admitted that I needed, but I don't know what I would do without it.

Happy Birthday, Ashlee! I am so thankful that the Lord brought you into my life. I love you and I treasure our friendship.

P.S. We need some updated pictures of the two of us!  And I forgot that your kitchen used to be grass green. 

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