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!
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:
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! 🙂
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. 😉
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:
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.