A Tale of Four Friends

You know those moments you feel are just meant to be?

Attending The Christian Writers Guild Residency in 2012 was one of those moments for me.

At that residency, I met a girl named Katie and a girl named Given. Not only did we have writing in common, but we were also close in age. Most writers get a later start, so the fact that we were all in the same class and in our early 20’s was a major rarity, especially in this program. I remember thinking at the time, “This is too rare to be a coincidence. God must have something up His sleeve with this one, for sure!”

And oh, man, did He ever!

That residency came at a time when I needed it most, in ways I could have never foreseen.

A few weeks before attending, my dad would end up in the hospital with critically low sodium, unable to speak or stay awake for more than a minute at a time. He’d struggle through an intense night, one we weren’t sure he’d be able to make it through.

It would be another two years before emergency hospital visits were a thing of the past, but Katie and Given would be there, praying for me through it all.

The rest of the class fondly called Katie, Given, and I the “babies” of the group, and it was definitely true.

Just look at these pics!

Us then:

Craftsman Residency 1

Craftsman Residency 2

With instructor/mentor through The Guild, author DiAnn Mills.

 

After the residency, although we lived in three different states, we stayed in touch through Facebook and Skype, and were blessed enough to meet up again a few months later at a writer’s conference:

Writing Conference 1

With DiAnn again, and fellow Craftsman classmate Jeannine!

Writing Conference 2

With Jerry and another awesome classmate, Carmen.

Given and Me

 

At that conference, I got the call that a friend of mine had died in a car crash, just miles away from the hotel where we were staying.

In times of tragedy certain images and memories are emblazoned on your heart, and for me one of those memories is of Given and Katie missing the final session, just to be with me out in the lobby as I cried.

At that same conference Katie met a girl named Meagan, and later introduced us all through Skype. Meagan was the missing piece to the puzzle, and with her The Craftsman Girls were complete! 🙂

Katie and Meagan

Now we lived in four different states, but faithfully stayed in touch with weekly writing challenges through Facebook and Prayer Skypes on Sunday afternoons.

Together, we encouraged and cheered one another on through publishing woes and triumphs, celebrations, heartaches, unfair court battles, moves, and more.

Given sent around a book for each of us to read and mark up with our thoughts before mailing it onto the next Craftsman Girl, and we became “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book.”

Although we were already close, we were about to become closer, because two of the members of our group were about to become actual sisters!

See if you can follow: Katie met Meagan’s brother John on a visit to Given’s house, and after that it was all over for Katie and John. 😉

Katie and John

In the middle of that the Lord called me and my family to Texas, and for the first time ever, two of The Craftsman Girls lived in the same state!

I was overjoyed when I received Katie and John’s wedding invitation, and even more so when I realized that for the first time ever… all of us would be together in the same place!

For the second time, I had that feeling–it was just one of those events, those blessings of God and a moment that was always meant to be.

To think the Lord knew all that when we were just barely high school graduates, all shiny and new and excited for our futures in writing, never imagining that from The Guild would come not only blessings in our writing, but four amazing friendships and even a marriage!

The Lord is so good. 🙂

Here are some of The Captured Moments:

Given and Me 2

Meeting up with Given and her mom before the ceremony! 🙂

 

Hotel

Gorgeous hotel where they were staying.

 

Ceremony

Katie and John are getting married!! 😀 Such a beautiful bride! Cue the tears here. 😉

 

Meagan Down the Aisle

Meagan as bridesmaid. 🙂

 

Mr. and Mrs.!

Officially Mr. and Mrs! 🙂

 

The Cake

The beautiful cake.

 

The Grins

Cutting the beautiful cake. 🙂

 

The Toast

The toast. 🙂

 

Groom's Cake

The Groom’s Cake.

 

The Spread

Their wedding had an afternoon tea theme, and it was so very pretty! 🙂

 

Table top

 

 

 

 

Meagan and John

 

Craftsman Crowd!

What a tremendous blessing and amazing joy it was that Jeannine and DiAnn were able to attend as well! 😀 One of those glimpses in life of everything coming full-circle.

 

The Four Amigas

The picture we’d all been waiting for… Heart. Simply cannot. Contain. The joy. 🙂 Celebrating a wedding, and all of us together in one place for the first time in four years!

 

four-amigas

Love these girls. ❤

 

 

Meagan and Bouquet

After the wedding, I was blessed enough to be able to stay with Meagan and Given for a little while longer before we had to part ways. This is gorgeous Meagan post-wedding with her gorgeous bouquet! 🙂

 

Dinner at Olive Garden

Dinner at Olive Garden with Given’s mama Eileen! (An unofficial though very esteemed member of The Craftsman Girls! 😉 )

 

Short But Full of Joy!

Though there was some sadness in having to say goodbye once more, this pic kind of sums up how everything went: too short, but so very full of joy! 😉

 

 

In four years, so much has changed, and yet, so much has remained the same. We’ve grown as people and as writers; been sharpened by one another and life’s trials; been with each other through four different states, then three, and back to four, and through it all it’s as though we just saw each other yesterday.

There are few friends I trust more. They are the first to read something I write, the first I call when I’m going through something tough. They inspire, challenge, and bless me on a weekly basis, and they will forever be some of God’s greatest gifts in my life.

With that, I am left with only one thing to say:

Thank you, Lord, for the gift that is friendship, and The Hand that orchestrated it all.

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6 thoughts on “A Tale of Four Friends

  1. Aw, this was so special, Lizzie! What a cool story we have. It’s great seeing it put together in one place like this. I’m so thankful for our story and for the Craftsman Girls. 🙂 Love ya, Lizzie.

    • I’m so glad it was special for you too! ❤ Was special for me writing it and looking back, and wanted to honor you guys! 🙂

      And I love how you said that! You're right, we do have a cool story! 😀

      Love you, Meagan! ❤

  2. Thank you, Lizzie! This is amazing and so beautiful. I’m reminded to thankfulness, and so glad for so much to be thankful for. God is so good. Love you, friend!

  3. God has truly blessed us all with each other. Thanks for sharing all of this Lizzie. : ) Friendship is a priceless gift, and the three of you have been a great treasure to me. Thank you all for valuing me and each other and putting in the time and effort it takes to be truly wonderful God-honoring friends. I have been encouraged, sharpened, blessed, and spurred on by all of you in so many ways. I wouldn’t not be where I am today without you all. God is so good. Love you all.

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