At the risk of being accused of stereotyping, I’m going to confess that I’m a total girls girl. I love girly movies, girly foods, girl’s nights, girl’s trips, raunchy female comedies, and girly drinks. Empowering and equipping women to love and champion other women is one of my favorite things. This is a huge credit to friends in college. I didn’t have too many good experiences with female friends until college, especially when I moved to Oklahoma to attend Oral Roberts University. A mutual friend introduced me to a group of girls, and I had no idea that they would become the aunt’s to my children one day. These girls taught me how to be vulnerable and authentic. They showed me that it was okay to be soft and sensitive. It was all of a sudden okay to act silly and crazy. Our 8 person love affair happened over popcorn chicken and root bears in the Sonic drive through, early mornings getting ready for class, sobbing over crappy boys, and lots of laughing until our stomachs ached.
For two years in college, my grandmother's interior designer would lend out her beach house to my friends and me for spring break. We would pack one of our cars full to the brim with beach bags, coolers, books, and playlists to drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Sea side, Florida for an entire week. Often times, the ride there would look like two girls asleep on one another in the back seat and two girls in the front seat reading their books out loud or listening to a podcast. Every few hours, the throw back jams would begin. We pass around the auxiliary cable and sing along to Jojo, Jesse McCartney, and everyone other early 2000’s Disney channel character we can remember. When I think of spring break, I think of 6 girls sitting around a tiny table after dinner, feet up, all with wild beach hair telling one another what we love about the other. We would do this for hours, followed by huge classic dance parties you imagine college girls having in their underwear wielding feathered pillows. The beach house means each girl trying to wake up and sneak out earlier than the other so they can have dibs on early morning bike rides alone. It means, reading all day by the beach and grilled cheeses for lunch from the food trucks. Spring break for us is long walks through sleepy beach towns and spending ridiculous amounts of money on good seafood the size of an Oreo. We were six girls with no money, lots of dreams, and the space to be ourselves. We did weeks like these all the time in college. We traveled to each other’s homes and celebrated one another birthdays on back porches with lavender lemon cakes. We huddled in dorm rooms when someone needed prayer and support. We took vain amounts of pictures and always took extra’s so that each girl could have a chance to take one of their “good side.” We went to random Sean Kingston concerts, ate brunch regularly, and told each other honestly when our feelings got hurt. One of the biggest benefits of living with all your best friends was having 8 closets to choose from every morning.
I wish I could show you the reels of pictures of our trips and special moments through out college. Its so tough to explain because I don’t want you to miss a moment with these girls who completely shaped my time in college and are continuing to shape the woman that I am today. Our time together has been filled with beautifully simple things. We made the most of what we had and, above all else, tried to cherished one another.
Frozen pizzas and Martenelli’s on the concrete floor of Lauryn’s apartment became fine dining the night we all sat around laughing until we cried and telling each other what the other was good at. We reminded each other constantly that "there is room for you". "There is room for you to be exactly where you are". And I think because of the way we stewarded one another’s hearts in college, we are still sharing each other today. Our group text has continued 8 months post graduation. We have started the habit of taking off work to fly to each others homes for the weekend, now that we are spread out all over the states.
This season of post- grad has been lonely for all of us. So quickly, we went from walking on top of each other in tiny dorm spaces to being hundreds of miles apart. I am so in love with technology for keeping us in constant conversation. But, its not the same. We are all establishing different lives. I don’t know if I really believe people when they said friendship was hard after post grad but it is. That’s why we buy plane tickets. Tn the words of Bailey- “we’re laying foundations for me to text you one day and say Im giving you my kids for the day and no I’m not paying you.”
I found my tribe young, and I am so thankful, because the Lord knew that I couldn’t do life without these girls. Through prayer, reading books from amazing women like Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Neiquist, Melanie Shankle, and living so close to one another we are learning a kingdom way of community. Looking through the Gospels together, has shown us that there is a different way to go about friendships than we knew before. Colossians 3:12-17 talks about a new way of living with one another. It says:
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves withcompassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtuesput on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richlyas you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
This kingdom way of friendship is what I think of when I think of our little band of woman. Most days, we don’t do it perfectly. Each of my friends are uniquely different and none came into friendship naturally knowing how to communicate and love well. Selfishness and pride often creep in. But forgiveness, commitment, and reliance on the Holy Spirit tie us together.
Having deep female friendship is one of the greatest joys and gifts of life. Girl groups do not have to be full of drama, cat fights, and jealousy. There is a different way where women support one another’s dreams, listen well, give extravagantly, cheer on one another’s successes (even when we ourselves are not succeeding), bear one another’s burdens, share each others clothes, remind each other of the truth, handle conflict maturely, be each other’s wingman regularly, keep each other’s secrets, call out the gold in one another, be a shoulder to cry on, tell you when that outfit was in fact too risky ( start over), and dance like crazy women at each other’s weddings. Be the friend you want to have. Create the community you wish o see around you. Invite girls over for dinner, even if its frozen pizza and La Croix. Remember details about other girls and follow up with them. Make inside jokes, ask good questions, practice generosity, rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those you mourn. Remember that there is so much love to go around. Her success is your success. Her happiness is your happiness. Be for other girls. Theres so much room for all of us to be different, beautiful, loved, and successful.