I spent the last week at camp. After 5 weeks interning for Student Leadership University and a few days in Arkansas with the (in)courage team, I had only a couple days to catch up on all the crazy before heading to camp to serve the middle and high schoolers.

I really wanted to go…and I really didn’t want to go.

I just wanted to sit at home and do nothing, to be honest. After 6 weeks of barely any sleep and always pouring myself out, I was empty. I knew I needed to go though, and I knew that it would be worth it.

Even knowing this, I wasn’t emotionally – or spiritually – prepared.

I cried and I cried hard – in public. So much happened and so little happened. Prayers were answered and prayers continue to be open ended, with no end or answer in sight.

But in all of the years of praying the same prayers, wanting the same thing, hoping for redemption and reconciliation, this one girl has always been there to offer a hug, give a silent look of “I know you’re struggling, and I’m with you.”

We’ve gone on mission trips together, slept under mosquito nets in the jungle (for real, the jungle), grown up in the youth group, been on the same camp team, all of it – we’ve done together.

But none of that is what bonded us this way – we simply share the real with each other. There are no fake smiles or happy masks between us. We’re all real, all the time.

So one night during worship when I stood up from kneeling, I found her in the room and wrapped my arms, wet from the tears I couldn’t keep from falling, around her waist while she whispered that she knew it was hard, but He would continue to be Faithful just as He always has been.


We don’t have perfect lives. We’ve both made mistakes and shed many tears, but I can honestly say she loves much and loves well.  She encourages me and pushes me to keep fighting, keep praying, keep hoping. She knows my ugly and my wounds, but she’s still community to me. She shows me Jesus.