Decades of Friendship

The other day I had the pleasure of having supper with my friend Emma. We are approaching the 20 year mark on our friendship, which means I’ve known her for over half of my life. Today Emma is an awesome mom, wife, and an incredible professional photographer with a super successful business. 19 years ago, when we met, Emma was a grade nine student at Caronport High School. She showed up for the first day of boarding school with multicoloured hair and she was wearing a dog collar as a necklace. She was strongly putting out the vibe that she wasn’t there to make friends, and she wasn’t open to getting to know God. When I saw her that day, outside the high school dorm, I wasn’t assuming that we would end up being close. She seemed like a rebel, and I wondered how long she would make it at the conservative Christian high school. From that day on, our paths kept crossing. I spent some time helping out in the high school dorm (I was in college at the time), and I would see her and say hi. Whenever we were at a school event it seemed like we accidentally ended up sitting close to each other. She started to become a familiar face. I remember one night in particular, we were all gathered in the little chapel in Caronport for a worship night. I loved those nights. Praising God with good friends, knowing that His presence was so real. Emma was once again sitting close by me, and God seriously got her attention. He finally broke through and broke down some of the big walls she had put up, and she was able to feel His presence and understand His love. God had a role for me to play that night, and I was able to sit with Emma and pray with her. That was the day she became a Christian and made a 180 degree turn in life. She came to Caronport with some pretty heavy baggage. Her dad was a drug addict. She had a rough childhood and a lot of anger. But that day was the beginning of a new path for her, and I got to be a part of it. From that day on I spent a lot of time with Emma. We met together once a week for coffee for 3 straight years. Of course she still had doubts, and fears, and problems from the past. It wasn’t an overnight healing of everything she had been through. But we became fast friends, and were able to have a really open and honest friendship while she went through high school. When she was in Grade 12 in Caronport, I had already graduated from Briercrest and was living in Saskatoon working. I remember that I was working a weekend job, every Thursday - Monday. The weekend that Emma graduated was the only time I ever booked a full week off work so that I could be there and celebrate with her. Fast forward almost 15 years, and we’re still friends. Her life looks drastically different than it used to. She has pursued missions in Africa. She has become an awesome wife and mother and business owner. She is incredibly compassionate, and loves God deeply. The other day over supper we were reminiscing about those early days… the rough days. And how far God has brought each of us. And she let me know that God truly did use me in big ways in her life. When I met her I had no idea that I was supposed to pursue youth ministry as my life calling. I had no idea that she would be the first of many young women that I would have a weekly coffee with to talk and pray with. There are a lot of ways that I helped her, and there are also a lot of ways that she helped me. We both started a journey that day, and God used each of us to learn new things about ourselves. I’m super thankful for the chance to walk through life with her.