Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cherishing Friendships....

Kelli, even though you forgave me for how I treated you on Sunday... I wanted to write and tell you what I learned tonight in Bible Study and let you know that I value your friendship more than you'll ever know.

This is dedicated to my true friend, Kelli Burrier!

Tonight in Bible Study we talked about Matthew 7 and asked the question "Are we concerned with people being right with God or do we hold them tightly to our own standards?"

When I first met Kelli Burrier, she was Kelli Brown. Yes, she's the pretty girl in the picture above. It was the spring of 2004 and although we had just met I knew that Kelli was someone I wanted to invest my heart in. It began with some deep emails, right away Kelli and I dug deep into our friendship, asking for prayer for this and patience with that. We wanted to see God move HUGE in the summer we had coming up. We were looking ahead to our summer in Winter Park, Colorado for a Navigator Summer Training Program where Kel and I would be leaders.

Kelli and I became accountability partners when we entered the summer. The summer was "a-to-the-mazing" to quote something Kelli always said. This girl was real, she was solid, and she wanted something more. The first night our speaker Drew Frazer spoke, she and I cried, wanting more of the BIG GOD, Drew spoke of. We talked with Drew late into the night about wanting so much more than the small doses of God we had been used to. That started the mornings prayers. Kelli and I would get up real early in the morning to pray for our bible studies, those around us, and each other. I remember one time we couldn't finish our prayer in the room we were using because the guy who vacummed didn't realize he was interrupting our prayers. (I think he thought we were sleeping?)
I don't think I can ever read Romans 12:9-21 without thinking of Kelli and how we passionately prayed to become more like Christ. Kelli is intense!! I remember running through freezing waterfalls in all our clothes, just to be silly. I remember driving home from Colorado Springs and memorizing five verses. Kelli always had a new verse, a new lesson~ something she couldn't wait to share with me and those in her life. Kelli was all about giving her life away. She continually invested in those God put in her path and was passionate about the ladies God led to her. Kelli, you have spurred me on and made me reach for so much more of God than what I have now. You wouldn't let me settle!

Kelli taught me a lot about being a woman of God. I was delighted to see her friendship with a young fella' Marcus, turn ever so slowly at first, into something more. I remember so many of those first feelings Kelli had. (my personal favorite story, Kel? soggy fries vs. crunchy fries)Waiting on the Lord for His favor, seven months later they were married.

The summer ended much to quickly and Kel and I vowed to write hand-written letters as opposed to emails or phone calls. We didn't want to write "fluff" to each other and knew that hand writing each page would force us to be real and dig deep with one another. Our letters were twelve pages of intense friendship. Followed by one page of silly questions i.e. "Wat did you just eat? Last time you showered?" ha ha... even though Kelli was intense with her time with the Lord, she has a carefree side that is free and light-hearted. Through those pages I caught a glimpse of the beautiful girl that God had created with a heart to be His. I learned to LOVE my mailbox and cherish each page of Kelli's realistic life. She told me the good and the bad... and we shared life with one another. (And Kelli, I have a box full of letters and cards people have given me to read when I am lonely in Japan~ guess where all of YOURS have ended up... i look forward to rereading them in Japan and getting to hear your heart.)

When Kelli and I parted ways for the summer, I "gave" her the verses from 1 Samuel 18:1-3 *As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.*

And Kelli~ going back to the question my Bible study asked tonight~ I was being so selfish of your friendship... and I am sorry. When I confronted you I was hurt but the bigger issue is not "are you right with me" the bigger question is, "was our weekends in step with God, and am I concerned with whether you are right with God?"
I have not been the kind of friend to you that I would want for myself. You are full of grace and beauty. Thank you for joining me on this crazy journey as we continue to become more like Christ. And thank you for your honesty... you'll never realize how true those 1 Samuel verses are of me. Thank you for being YOU!!

And to others who read this, these 1 Samuel words ring true of my heart to serve you. Have grace on me as the Lord works on me to bring me to completion... I cherish your friendships, I cherish our moments. You make me laugh, you make me smile. You make me love Jesus!! Thank you!


Kelli B said...

Wow. I feel speechless...
I feel unworthy of the words you wrote. I feel blessed, honored, and spurred on to run after God again and again with the same zeal we had that summer...

Praise be to God Almighty, who created us and gives us life day after day. "Not to us (me) O Lord, not to us, but to YOUR NAME be the glory" Psalm 115:1.

I love you friend...

Derek said...

Word to Kelli. She's a rad sister in law too, and an awesome aunt. Super big heart for everyone she encounters.