As of lately, weekends here in Grand Rapids are filled with friends, cocktails, food, puppies, photo shoots, lots of fun, sometimes a little work, church and whatever else life might throw out. Most importantly, weekends have been filled with friendship. God has blessed me with the greatest friends here in GR and while they certainly deserve a full post of their own, for now, it’s just important to note how special they are to me. I don’t believe we met by coincidence, I believe we met by the grace of God.
A couple of weekends ago, six or seven of us were gathered for mimosas and my friend Kortni’s famous avocado toast! We all live in the same apartment building so visiting each other’s rooms is much like living in an adult dorm (if that helps you imagine it)! On lazy mornings, we typically pick someone’s apartment, camp out there for a while and then stay together for the remainder of the day.
The particular day that I am going to tell you about tells a story about how our friends can help us see the light in even the darkest of moments and how God can use our season of emptiness to guide us into new fullness and life.
“We sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story.” -Shauna Niequist
I remember the weather was dreary and we had on and off sprinkles with weather warm enough to let us to keep the door open to the balcony but still cold enough to not spend much time out there. I had just finished shooting pictures for a my partnership with Chicwish (the dress I am wearing in the pictures is from that shoot!) and I was excited to just be cozied up for a lazy day. Holding my mimosa, amidst the chitchat between friends, I wandered out and in complete awe, my eyes set sight on hands down one of the most beautiful rainbows that I had ever seen. It spanned across the entire city skyline!
I should quickly note that for those close to me or perhaps those who have read previous posts, know that rainbows in my family are incredibly special. We take them as a sign from my Dad who we believe is in Heaven with God. In the years since my Dad’s passing, my family has found that rainbows always seem to appear when we need them most. Far beyond coincidence, we believe these rainbows to be our special sign from Heaven, our wink from God letting us know that my dad is safe in His arms. I can’t wait to one day get to Heaven and ask my Dad about them. I am certain he will say, “Yes! That was me!”.
I remember the rainbow caught me off guard and as I gazed out into the distance I felt my eyes start to well up with tears. Happy tears, I suppose you could call them. My friend Kortni started to wander out and noted the tears in my eyes. I said, “Kortni, it’s a rainbow” as tears started to overflow onto my cheeks. She didn’t need to say much. Her look said it all. She said, “I know” with a humbling tone, loving head nod and a hug. After she hugged me, we stood in awe of this huge rainbow. I said to her with a shaky voice and tears still welling up in my eyes, “it’s been a hard month.” Kortni responded with exactly what I needed to hear saying, “Yes it has. And your Dad just reminded you that you did it. You did it and he’s so proud.”
Kortni lost her Dad a few years before I did. We didn’t know each other at the time but from the moment we met, we knew it had to be a God thing to plant us in each other’s lives here in Grand Rapids. It takes a special friend to give you a look that calms your heart, changes the narrative and leaves you with happy tears that show you, at the end of the day, God will be sure to remind you that it will all be ok!
How precious does God’s grace continue to appear in the the love of my friends?! I feel so fortunate.