We were young when Sarah and I first met. I was 15, boy crazy and attempting to emulate my life from the movie Clueless. I wore knee socks with big clunky shoes and spent every weekend, quite literally, at the mall. When Sarah was introduced to me at church, I remember thinking she was quiet. Plain. Boring even. And if you were to ask her about me, she would have said I was obnoxious and loud and annoyingly girly.
We did not instantly click. Our friendship was one that happened slowly over time. We ended up working together for a woman who ran a business in her home making scented mug mats, little coasters full of cinnamon-scented rice that you could set your coffee mug on and enjoy the smell of warm spices filling your room. Sarah would usually man the sewing machine while I would “fray-check” the mats and tie them up with neat little bows and bag them for sale. We made $5 an hour working after school and on weekends. It was in these small moments after school, working together, that our friendship began to blossom. We learned about our families and lives and how happy she was in Montana before they had moved to Texas. We enjoyed the same kind music and talked often about God and our faith. Even then, God was knitting our souls together.
Shortly before I turned 16, my dad had an affair that led to my parent’s separation and ultimately their divorce. My mother’s heartache led her to drink and by my senior year in high school, my mother had become an alcoholic whom I rarely saw. I wasn’t able to name the hurt I felt by watching my parent’s marriage end and my mother self-destruct, but I knew then, that it had changed me. I was no longer the boy-crazy girl who loved to shop. My church home and youth group became a light in a dark season for me, and in that, Sarah became a safe place. Her home, her whole family actually, became a haven for my hurting heart.
There are many stories I could tell. We have nearly 20 years of friendship behind us and much life has been lived together. There are countless nights of playing Chicken Feet and eating popcorn around her kitchen table in high school, and later finding out we were both in love with the same boy who didn’t choose either of us. She has seen me at my darkest and angriest with God, and she fiercely loved me there. She refused to wear yellow when she was my bridesmaid and I didn’t go shopping with her to get her wedding dress. We got pregnant at the same time with our first boys and had them six days apart. She’s done my laundry and I’ve watched her kids. I have invited her to enjoy her beauty and femininity. She has taught me when to reign in, and make wise, practical choices. We have seen the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between.
We have been changed over time and we have changed one another, as the best of friends always do.
I believe that some friends are meant to be with you for a season, and it’s what makes that season bearable. God uses them for a specific purpose and design and for one reason or another those friendships fade or change or end all together. And others, like Sarah, are friends in every season. Both kinds of friendship are vital, important and necessary for growth and life.
Sarah told me the other day that she believes friendship is a choice. Just like love, you often make the choice to come back to each other and revisit what has been missed. And that is true. We have chosen to be there for one another and we continue to make that choice. I also believe that friendship was God’s design from the beginning. It is His way of writing pieces of Himself into our hearts. I have seen Him show up in Sarah because of her faithfulness, grace, humility, forgiveness and deep love for me. I have known more of God and His heart because of her.
The day we met, back when I thought she was plain and she thought I was obnoxious, our lives, stories and hearts collided. Unbeknownst to us, that was the day that God wrote us into one another’s stories with a permanent marker. She has always been the friend He knew I needed, the one my soul is knit to.
Deeply rooted in South Texas, Jennifer Stamness is a sunshine-lover, wife and mother to two young boys. She enjoys creating beauty in places like writing, music, decorating and throwing parties. She desires to follow Jesus into the unknown places He invites her to and is thankful for His abundant and amazing grace. Jennifer writes, dreams and shares pieces of her story here.