I am overjoyed by the fact that I truly have a best friend forever. By forever, I mean eternity.
I always knew who my best friend was. Her name is Claire and we have a strange kind of relationship. We have the kind of relationship where we can go from crying laughing about things that make no sense to anyone else, to serious conversations about life and about ourselves. She has been my friend for many years, since second grade to be exact, but in high school she was defined as much more than a friend. She is family. She is the kind of person I would drop everything for, the kind of person I cry for, laugh for, and do weird things for. I get her, she gets me. It’s a weird kind of relationship where sometimes I think she’s me- a lot smarter, funnier, calmer version of me. I wouldn’t trade our relationship for anything in the world.
Last year, my life was changed at good ole Camp Kern at Fall Weekend. I truly met Jesus for the first time. It was a feeling that I couldn’t fully express or understand; all I knew is that the happiness and fulfilment that God had given me that weekend was new and it was what I wanted to have for the rest of my life. Before I met God I was broken, lost, and hurting. I was anxious for the future and lonely for a reason that I didn’t know. All of that pain was swept away when God showed me last year who he really was: a good, good father, my number one fan, and someone who loves me more than I can wrap my mind around. Last year I was made new and I embarked on the best journey that I’ll ever have that will continue for the rest of my life.
The past year as a Christian hasn’t been easy or perfect by any means. But, it has been so different. I learned to love myself through God. That was something I was so lacking before November 22nd of last year, and now that I have a relationship with Jesus, the course of my life has been altered and fixed forever: I am a happier, more optimistic, more loving, and more full “Alyssa”. I went to fall weekend last year without Claire. I had experienced something monumental with her absent, and that was a strange thing considering we are one in the same. All I knew is that I wanted my friend to feel what I felt, because it was just that cool.
I invited her repeatedly to Young Life club and campaigners, in hopes that she would feel the life changing relationship of a soul and our God, because it is truly an indescribable thing that I wanted my best friend to have. She came to Young Life here and there, but it was hard for Claire to make time to come since she literally is the smartest person ever and took so many hard classes and worked so diligently to be successful. (Sorry, I just really like to brag about her because she is too humble to brag about herself.) But seriously, she has the brain of a world changer. I worked and worked to bring her closer to Jesus. Most of the time she couldn’t make it to Young Life, and that was okay, because her moment to meet Jesus came at just the right time, this past weekend at Fall Weekend.
This past month has been exceptionally hard for Claire in various ways. It literally killed me inside to see someone I cared so much about so upset and hurt. Claire is family to me; she is extraordinary and wonderful, and seeing her hurting pained me in a way I can’t explain. Fall Weekend is where my life was changed, so I prayed harder than I ever have that she would come to Fall Weekend and feel the same massive love of Christ that I was introduced to. She needed to feel God’s overwhelming love more prominently than ever before, and thanks to everyone who made Fall Weekend happen this year, she did.
This weekend marked a year since my life was changed, and today I got to stand up next to my best friend as she grabbed a microphone and verbally committed her life to Christ in front of hundreds and hundreds of high school students and Young Life leaders. This weekend, I saw Claire’s radiance brighter than ever, and the relationship I have with my best friend has another added element: Jesus. A friendship rooted in passionately chasing Jesus is irreplaceable, as I’ve learned with the many people I’ve met this past year in Young Life. Now I get to share that with the girl I call my sister.
Claire, here’s to you. Here’s to the fact that I get to laugh, rap, sing, cry, and dance with you for the rest of eternity with God. You are a marvel. You are loved a lot. Please keep laughing, and please keep striving to fill your heart with the one thing that will last forever and fill you completely. I pray that you persist in your relationship with God and that you never stop running after Jesus for the rest of forever. My life has been so different just because you are in it, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our friendship now that we are both all in for the One we call our Savior. You are truly something special.