When we met, we had no idea. No idea what was ahead of us, what we would go through together, what God had store. I had no idea that the girls I somehow started carpooling to college group with freshman year would be the girls I spent every Tuesday night with for the rest of college – would be the girls that truly define my four years spent at UCSD.
What I love most about our story is that we were brought together by a desire for community, a longing for a place to belong; searching for a church and a people and place where we would be safe to grow, to be real, and to experience this world of college with arms wide open. Or at least that’s what I was looking for. And that’s what I found. One way or another, we found each other at Flood. Over the years, although we each ended up attending different services, serving in different ministries, and forging our own paths in faith – we still remained to each other the “Flood ladies”. Confusing to some, it sounded like a bible study, a growth group. And yet, in its own way, that’s exactly what it became.
Freshman year was full of dinners in the dining hall (always, always going back for cookies for dessert!), going to R’s basketball games, college formals, and figuring out life – slowly, awkwardly, messily. Discussing our classes, sharing stories about our strange suitemates, and stressing out about midterms. This slowly gave way to talks about faith, about love, and about life – as we slowly realized that college is about learning but it’s also about growing.
And together we grew. Through the mountains and the valleys, through the thick and the thin. I can still remember huddling on the corner of the bleachers the night R tore her ACL, all of us on the verge of tears. Or the night we sat on the floor of my bedroom eating ice cream, helping me process an exhausting break up. Our last pancake breakfast sophomore year before we said our goodbyes – all of us would be leaving the country and the five of us wouldn’t all be reunited for 8 long months. The night when we all, by chance, had exciting news to share – internships, masters programs, new jobs – and it felt like God was smiling down on us at our little table in the middle of PC. And now, the most vivid memory, our last Tuesday night before graduation: predicting over frozen yogurt where we will all be 5 years from now, planning our future reunions, crying when we realized we probably wouldn’t all be together again until one of our weddings, and standing in a group hug, hands clasped around each other, thanking Jesus for bringing us together.
All of us so different, and yet all together we just made sense. Sweet, kind B who never fails to see the positive side, or Christ at work, in any situation and is going to make the world’s best teacher. Outgoing O, who is a force to be reckoned with and starts Kingdom work every morning from the second she wakes up. Our soon-to-be PHD R, who is the smartest girl I know and also the wisest – constantly full of Godly wisdom and encouragement. K the free spirit, who hands down always has the best stories and is the best person to tell good news to, her joy and excitement are truly contagious and you always leave spending time with her so full of life. And I’m the klutzy organizer of the group – the one who sends the texts every Tuesday, who posts reminders in the Facebook group, and who always seems to be falling over. I wouldn’t be me without them; we wouldn’t be “us” if any were just a little different.
We didn’t have a weekly bible study; we didn’t read a book together. We simply lived life – together. We talked about our weeks and what was coming up and what we were struggling with and also what made us happy. We ate ice cream and French fries and cried and hugged and almost everything in between. The purest, strangest, and best sort of friendship. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, couldn’t have asked for any better gift from Jesus.
These memories are what I will treasure from college. These girls, and their hearts and passions and love, are the reason I am who I am. They make me better. They make me stronger. They remind me of Jesus – they shine parts of Him into my life, reflect the work He has done in me, and remind me of who He is on the days I tend to forget.
They are a living testament to me that He provides, that He looks out for us, and that He loves us so, so much. As we graduate our futures might be unknown, our Tuesday nights from here on out might be different, but His love never changes.