Occasionally, I’m not finished with my “Tuesday Thoughts” post before 7pm on Tuesday, which means that I don’t post until Wednesday due to the fact I’m a part of Crew in Fort Myers. Crew is a community of young adults moving towards Christ, each other and the world. On Tuesday nights we’re sort of a Bible study, kinda like a small group. The rest of the week we’re friends who love Jesus and enjoy the chances we have to be involved in life together.
One of the reasons that I joined Crew when I moved back to Fort Myers in 2008 was that I was lonely. Seriously, I had no friends. None that lived within driving distance anyway. That first Sunday after moving back I walked up to the welcome booth at my new church and told them that I was new, that I wanted to meet like-minded people, and that I was looking for a community of believers. The next week I went to Crew. It wasn’t a sure and certain fit for me in the beginning. I actually spent the first four months questioning whether or not I should keep going. Every week I’d call my friend Jaree’ for courage beforehand and then call again to debrief after leaving. After four months I decided to stay and committed myself to loving Crew even if I felt awkward most of the time. A year later, I’m so glad that I did.
I have wonderful friends in Crew. Kindra lets me hold her hand and laughs at almost everything I say, even when I’m trying to pray. Julie listens as I ramble on and gives me freedom to cry if I need to. Kerri always asks insightful questions (and it’s fun to watch her fall in love with her fiancée’ Stephen). Sherline is quick to offer advice, correction and brings a delightful candor to any conversation. Graciana has a gentle spirit and the most beautiful Brazilian accent. Woldine’s conversation is usually the reason that I’m not home until after midnight on Tuesday (well, until after Tuesday has become Wednesday). Ray faithfully leads the discussion of scripture with humility. Phillip gives us music, comedy and reminds us that it’s okay to take a nap among friends. Nathan faces the racoon… I could go on. I am blessed to know so many fascinating individuals through being involved with Crew. I’m thankful for the ways that they encourage me in my faith, walk beside me in life and share a lot of laughter in the process.
As I was driving home last night a phrase from 1 Peter 4 came to mind, “Above all, love each other deeply…” Although this specific verse refers to resolving conflict and acting unselfishly, the principle of loving each other deeply to maintain good Christian fellowship applies. Choosing to love deeply, from the heart, isn’t easy. Knowing and being known as a person requires a lot of forgiveness and grace. Sometimes it’s messy and I wonder how on earth God is going to be honored in the midst of it. Iron actively sharpening iron (Prov.27:17) feels a bit rough at times. Still, I know that it’s good. I’m glad for friends who shape me: friends from Crew, friends from Bethany, friends that I’ve known for years and the friends who’ve crossed my path in strange ways.
Thanks. More than you’ll ever know…