me, Nikki and Kristi - the past Sunday at Fortress
Five years ago, I stepped through the doors of Fortress Church for the first time, having no clue that it was about to change my life, literally. Because of Fortress, Darren and I decided to stay here in Fort Worth instead of chasing dreams of New England. We laid down roots (finally) and commited our resources and lives to the very worthy ministries under Fortress's umbrella. In so many ways, our involvement with Fortress has blessed and enriched us.
For the first year, I kept wondering WHY I felt so strongly about being there. See, Fortress exists to serve the kids who live in the urban jungle of Fort Worth. KIDS. I make no secret about the fact that I'm not a kid person. I love my own kids more than my own life, and I love my neices and nephews and my friends' kids - but mostly only 'cause I love my friends. I never enjoyed babysitting as a teenager. I've just never been a kid person. And so I kept asking myself, "Why are you HERE? What is your purpose?"
For several years, I'd been praying for a best friend - one who didn't belittle my faith, one who was on the same road of life I was on, one who could give as well as take. One day, it finally dawned on me. I was at Fortress because that's where the answer to my prayer was! Not only had I found the best friend I'd longed for, I'd found them in PLURAL!
I'll blog about them this month, in more detail. But today, I feel especially thankful for Nikki. When I walked through those doors that crisp November morning in 2003, she was a senior in high school. I never dreamed back then that in a few years, she'd be one of my nearest and dearest friends, that she'd take to calling me her ABFF (adult best friend forever), or that I'd cherish her as I do. She encourages me by noticing my accomplishments and remarking on them. She's always ready with a squeezy hug. She laughs at my lame jokes and makes a bazillion lame jokes of her own. She's a total goofball, and I love it!
One night several months ago, she was behind the wheel and stopped in the middle of the road, calling a Chinese Fire Drill. Cara, Kristi and I - because we're the mature ones - jumped out of the Suburban and started running around the back of the vehicle. Nikki gunned it and went roaring down the road, leaving us in her dust to fend for ourselves in an area of town well-known for prostitution. I could've been furious, but as soon as we caught up to the car, which Nikki had pulled over into the turn lane, her riotous laughter completely erased my ire.
I love this girl, and thank God for her everyday. I heart you, CBFF! (college best friend forever)
"I thank my God everytime I remember you."