Meet Jamie, or as we like to call her, James. I don’t know why we call her this. It isn’t actually easier to say than Jamie, and she is nothing like a James, not manly in any way. I guess somehow it just fits, or maybe it is just fun to call one of your girlfriends a guys’ name. In any case, she is James.
I met Jamie our first year in college. We were in my sister’s small group together. She was platinum blonde, wore lots of make-up and very little clothes, and she gave me the stink eye the whole time. She definitely wasn’t my “style” as far as friends were concerned. (How shallow is that?) She was intimidatingly pretty and wore big, matching jewelry. I was convinced that she hated me and Jesus and that she wasn’t enjoying herself at all. I thought I would probably never see her again after that first night. Much to my surprise she came back again… and again… and again. I found that her “stink-eye” was just her thinking face (which she has since improved upon just FYI) and somehow, I’m not sure when exactly, Jamie started becoming my go-to companion for the late nights on a large, lonely campus.
We’d stay up all hours of the night doing the typical college-aged things. Okay, maybe they weren’t so typical. We weren’t partying or drinking or sleeping around. Nope, our style was much more sophisticated. We’d dress up like “the best lab partner EVER” and make random dance videos to stupid rap songs or we’d make some coffee in my loud, illegal coffee pot usually hidden under a towel in my dorm room and take walks across campus talking about boys or life or God. And you should hear Jamie talk about God.
Here’s the deal: Although Jamie has denied being funny for as long as I’ve known her, she says the FUNNIEST things. I mean, take a look at her picture… the girl is hilarious. Just remembering something Jamie said can have me laughing in no time (which is especially comforting now that she is so far away.) One time she asked if the pyramids were made of gold. Another time, she thought acupuncture was a kind of devil worship. You can’t make things like that up… BUT when James talks about God she becomes a theologian. She is a seeker, and she is wise beyond her years. With all her heart she wants to know God and understand Him, and it is evident as soon as she starts speaking. I’d rather talk to Jamie about God then just about anyone else because she gets Him… and what she doesn’t get she really wants to.
Her pursuit of God has led her to do some things that most Christians would call “weird” or “extreme.” She gave up make-up all together for I can’t remember how long because she felt as if she were depending on it too much, and the beautiful thing is that now it is very rare to see James in make-up at all. I got to watch as she sorted out what consecration should look like in her life, and as she stopped watching movies and listening to music that didn’t glorify God. Once she fasted everything but water for over a week because God was asking her to seek Him more, and now, well now she is following God to Africa. She’s definitely challenged (and continues to challenge) my walk with God, and I know I wouldn’t know God as much as I do now if it weren’t for her.
One of the most special things about Jamie is how special she makes you feel. She is the first to laugh at any joke, regardless of how cheesy or well-thought. She definitely makes me feel larger than life, like I could do anything in the world if I just tried at it long enough. She is so quick to notice the good qualities in the people around her. Her face is pretty, but her heart is beautiful… and her life is such an adventure. I’m blessed that I get to play a part in it.
This is our gorgeous best friend Kat, with her beautiful Zambia babies.
Meet Katherine, or Kat as a lot of people like to call her. I feel like when I first met her, she didn’t like being called that. I suppose since people have continued to call her that though she has warmed up to it. She and her husband Daniel also have a cat named Frodo, so it just works I guess.
Katherine and I have some really funny memories, and one of them is from the first time we met. When I was a freshman I joined a campus ministry at our school called Chi Alpha. Katherine is a year older than me, so she had already been involved with this ministry. I knew who she was, but we had never really talked. In the fall of my freshman year, a bunch of us went to help work at youth convention, a Christian convention for high school students. On one of the nights there, I saw Katherine laying down on a moon bounce with a girl from my d-group. Apparently I was oblivious to the serious conversation they were having (it was about Katherine changing her major), because I just strutted towards them and plopped down in between them. As I was lying down, I turned towards Katherine and asked if she remembered who I was. She quietly said yes, acting a little freaked out. I think I finally sensed the awkwardness and got up to leave. Since then, we have laughed so much about that first encounter because we never knew that after that, we would become as close as we are now.
The first time I ever really hung out with Katherine was Christmas break of my freshman year. I saw her at a church service on a Sunday night, and she invited me to come over and hang out afterwards. I was so excited because even though I had never told her this, I had always wanted to be her friend from the first time I was around her. There was something about her that just made me think we would be really good friends, and I was looking forward to seeing if I was right. That night was a crazy night. It resulted in Heather (another good friend you will soon hear about) getting tied up and getting whipped cream all over her face, a looong game of spoons, a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie, and a goldfish in their coffee pot the next morning. That was a night I will never forget. Not because of all the crazy things that happened, but because I got to hang out with Katherine Sneed (now Wingfield.) When she called me the next day at work, I knew that the hangout the night before was not just a onetime thing. It was the beginning of a God ordained friendship.
Freshman year consisted of Regina and I going over to Katherine and Heather’s apartment to watch so you think you can dance, do karaoke, or just make music videos instead of studying. My friendship with Katherine continued to blossom as we shared many meals together, shared interests in movies (and enjoyed quoting them), and did the most random and ridiculous things you could think of to do on a college campus. That is something I have always loved about Katherine though. She is hilarious, adventuresome, and always comes up with weird and funny things for us to do. We always do them though, because we know it will end up being so much fun, and we will get some great memories from it. Life with Katherine is definitely not boring, it’s exciting.
There was one fateful summer that I will never forget though, and I think it’s what really grew our friendship. Most of our friends had gone home for the summer, but Katherine had stayed in town because she had a job and she was also taking summer classes. My parents lived in town, so I couldn’t go anywhere. That summer with Katherine was a gift from God, and I got to know Kat in a whole new way. We spent so many nights just laying on my trampoline or other random places (pole vault mat on the campus), talking about God, life, and of course guys. That was the summer she really started talking to Daniel, her husband now. She probably doesn’t know this, but I learned so much from Katherine that summer. The way she completely submitted her feelings and her relationship with Daniel to God was something rare that I had never seen before. She was so obedient in everything God called her to do, even when it wasn’t easy. I remember pulling all nighters with her as she finished film projects; we would sit in the film lab together all hours of the night, talking about songs that really touched us, what God was teaching us, and what we wanted to do with our lives. I remember her telling me that she wanted to film documentaries in Zambia, but she didn’t know if she would ever really get to. I’m still believing that it will happen though, because I know she would be great at it.
I think what I love most about Katherine is her willingness to forgive, no matter how hard the situation. Her sincere and genuine spirit has challenged me so much, and still continues to. She lives out every part of her life in front of us, not holding anything back, no matter how messy things tend to get. She is honest in her struggles, and she cares about people so much. Her relationship with Daniel has shown me what a healthy and Christ centered marriage looks like. She is one of the busiest people I know, but she always makes time for the people she loves and she knows how to show you how special and loved you are. God has shown his love to me so much through Kat, and I am so blessed to know her. This next year, she will do the Chi Alpha Internship along with her husband, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
I miss you Kat. I love you. You encourage me so much, even in the little things.
Sweet Momma Reg and Baby Seattle!
I would like you to meet Regina Stevens, or Reg for short. Also, since I’ve got your attention please note the sweet, little man in her arms, Seattle Stevens. He is as much a part of Regina’s story as any, along with her kind husband, Aaron.
There is so much to say about this wonderful lady. I can’t imagine life without her. You know how there are just some people that you automatically feel comfortable with and feel like you could share your whole life story with…well this is one of those such people. She has an open heart and an open story. She is always learning about God, people, creation, and jokes! Let’s be honest here and just say that she is ridiculously funny and can pull off an amazing man voice!
I can’t remember exactly how I met Regina but I do know that from then on out I have counted myself blessed to have her as a sister and best friend. You can just tell she loves God by how much she sacrifices for the people around her. I can remember when I had lost my grandmother and that girl came over to my house in the ridiculously early morning hours to make me laugh and take me out to get donuts because that is what you do when you need to grieve. She shared many tears with me and made me see goodness in the midst of some heartache.
Throughout the past six or so years there are countless stories just like those that remind me of her sacrificial heart. Even when she was engaged to her man she chose to spend time overseas separated from him…not just a few weeks but months. She left her own desires behind to minister to women in Zambia and in doing that ministered to the hearts of many people in what she was willing to give up for the kingdom.
Back to the little man, Seattle and her husband Aaron. Now, you might be asking why I would talk about them, it is simple. They are a beautiful extension of who she is and her relationship with a loving Father. I wish I could describe the moment Regina told me she was pregnant. First of all, I had a sinus infection and could barely hear anything. Second, she told all of us silly girls at the same time. Meaning, I did not actually hear anything and I was beyond confused as to why there was so much laughing and crying in one instance. I was legitimately shaking my head trying to tell her I didn’t know what was happening. She just laughed even more and then when I finally knew what was going on I cried. I cried because I could only imagine what beautiful life would come from Regina and Aaron. They love God so much individually and as a wonderful couple. They are a picture of God’s heart for people. In the midst of preparing to go do foreign missions, Regina and Aaron learn they are expecting. Does this slow them down or leave them wondering if they should continue going overseas to spread the gospel? No. They continue on in faith as a beautiful boy grows inside and as God prepares them to be parents. I think everyone around them is just touched because of how they respond and how Regina continually leaves her life in the hands of God. Her little buddy looks so much like Aaron but I know he will have Regina’s sweetness and sacrificial heart.
Sometimes, Regina is a funny mess. I love that she is willing to cry in front of people and to tell them the not so fun things about life. She is a follower of God that is quite willing to be vulnerable and willing to share even the hardest moments with those that need to hear. In the midst of her becoming a new mom she has not left behind any of those in ministry. She continually invites them into this new season of life and shares all of the laughs, tears, frustration and truth. She is just willing to let God use her in all circumstances. I just love that about her. She is Real. She is Beautiful. She is Fun. She is a Mom (Probably A Soccer Mom One Day). She is a Lovely Wife. She is an Amazing Friend. She is a Follower and Lover of God.
Welp, this may be all over the place but I hope you have followed and realized how wonderful Regina is. You should get to know her more!! I love you Regina! You make life an adventure!
Heather is the artistic, beauty-filled, creatively driven, fiery woman we all call friend. She speaks with a million facial expressions, and we are so in love with this lady. She makes us laugh. She is a comedian and she doesn’t even know it. She loves us so deeply. She is confident in who she is, and bold about her love for the Lord. If there is anyone in this world, who values intimacy in friendship, it’s Heather. She holds tight what others entrust her with, and she gives freely of herself to anyone who asks her. Her life has been the sweetest journey of growing, learning to love, and opening her soul to others.
The first time I met Heather was at some point in kindergarten. Home videos tell me she liked to wear big purple, poofy dresses. She also went through a few stages that she swears she could contend as “a little boy.” Somehow we missed years of friendship between kindergarten and third grade. It’s probably because we shared the same boyfriend. What I remember the most about Heather…is the beginning of our friendship in 3rd grade. We became friends…um, because we wanted to practice for some kind of physical endurance test in P.E. class….Yeah, I don’t know why we were such nerds, but that is what happened! Ever since then, Heather and I have been side by side! I still can’t really believe it. What brought us together was physical endurance? That definitely is NOT what has kept us together.
Heather has the sweetest heart. She clings to the Father, and her heart breaks when His does. She loves without restraint, and is one of the most loyal people you will ever meet. She has stood by our sides in tough times, wiped away tears, and encouraged us all so much. Watching Heather love people is one of the coolest things. She really sees people where they are. She is quick to stand up for the broken. Her heart is so big for Mozambique. Ask her about the children there. Ask her about her people there. They are her family, her brothers and sisters. It is such an incredible thing to hear her heart for the poor and oppressed.
There is something about Heather’s artwork, whether it is painting, drawing, or writing that draws people into the Father. Her artwork captivates and seriously is one the most breathtaking things I have ever experienced. She is so talented, yet she is one the most humble people you will ever meet. She speaks with such eloquence in her art. It goes so much deeper than the page.
One of the most special things about Heather is her laughter. She loves to laugh. She has so much fun and truly celebrates in small things. I look up to her in this. I love to laugh with her. We all do. She is such a dear woman to our hearts. None of us would be who we are without her. She will probably marry someone who knows how to farm, or at least garden. She will have kayaks, live adventurously, and someday own a flower shop.
I can’t wait to know her forever. I love you. We all do. We are so blessed by you, goob.