Sunday, April 4, 2010

On a dreary Easter evening

Tonight I received such a precious and unexpected gift.
Tonight I skyped with Julie Anne Zeller. For. THREE. Hours.

We talked only about the things that matter.
Family. Heartache. School. God taking hearts of stone and turning them into hearts of flesh. God's word piercing souls and transforming lives. Love. Seasons of friendship. The Cross. Singlehood. Covenant Marriage.

Let's back up a bit. There's need to know our context. You need to understand why talking with this pretty lady means so much to me.

The Chronicles of Jules and Alex:

“Kindred Spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. Its splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
- Anne Shirley

Julie and I grew up going to church together. Learning about Jesus through felt boards and baptisms in the backyard. It was not until Julie's freshman year of high school did we become friends. You see, Julie is three years younger than me and I was the sort to only hang out with either kids who were my age or those who were older. I thought myself very mature. I did not hang out with babies. Or so I thought...

Julie and I were destined to be friends. Great God fearing friends. The sort of friends that just fit.

*Jules and her beautiful momma*

Boy was I blessed to know her and know Jesus through her. The progeny of urban missionaries, this woman had a relationship with Jesus that was all her own. Her faith was one filled with soul searching questions and a pure desire to know the nature and character of our God. Discipleship was what she pursued. Needless to say, I easily fell in love with her and quickly we became friends, sisters, kindred spirits.

Before I knew it my senior year was through and I was headed to Biola University. This new chapter marked the beginning of our paths diverging. It signaled the changing of a season that was entirely too short lived. While we chatted every once in a while and saw each other over Christmas things weren't the same. They weren't bad. They were different. We were different. I was a young college student, eager and excited to experience all that college had for me. Julie was navigating high school and friendships and God in the midst of it all.

The summer after my sophomore year, Jules and I were hanging out. We were thrifting that afternoon. You know, the norm. I recall I purchased a frame adorned with gold leaf and a pink striped dress that made me look like I was five... Perfect.

As we drove from one thrift store to another in search of treasures, we discussed God and Calvinism and our wretched souls. Jules discussed her plan to spend her senior year of high school in Argentina studying at Palabra de Vida. We were so excited for how God would be shaping the next year of her life. We were excited that God was taking me to Utah again with a team from Biola to spread the Gospel to the thirsty. God was moving us, molding us, and taking our paths in such different directions.

*Jules drinking mate in Argentina*

We didn't know it then that this casual hang out would be the last time we would talk for over two years.

We would write each other notes via facebook (cheap, I know) but were never able to correspond in real time. Our lives during the two years developed. Julie, having returned from Argentina, began college at Masters. Began seeing a boy, began falling in love with said boy. I spent some time in Chicago before starting senior year and delving deeper into God, ministry, scholastics, and the relationships I hoped to take with me as Biola cut the cord and pushed me into the big unknown.

I am again in Chicago, this time living not for a sultry summer but for further scholastic endeavors.

Julie is still at Masters. Finishing junior year. Planning a
wedding with aforementioned boy.

*Jules with boy*

We are two years of silence and two thousand and twelve miles apart. Vicariously learning about each others lives via facebook (again, cheap) and mutual friends. We've missed out on very pivotal moments in each others lives. Painful moment. Joyous moments. We've missed so much.

And yet, we've gained. Gained more in one predestined conversation over a very temperamental Skype than I could have ever hoped for. Thanks to Skype and God's timing we were able to see each other and catch up and pray together.

I love how God not only redeems our souls but desires to redeem friendship broken by distance.

I hope you now understand the gravity talking with this lady tonight held for me. I bet you now have a friend crush on her. I don't blame you. It's totally natural.

Jules you are a treasure and will make an incredible wife.

p.s. I love you
p.p.s. all photos, sans the one of her and I, were hijacked from Jules facebook (major cheap)