I ate chicken and waffles and wondered to myself why the h I had never eaten them before. Every time I taste them, and I hope it's always at Breadwinner's with my people, I will think of this night.
Every time I taste them I will think of holding onto Heather's leg and never wanting to let go. And not being able to look up at Hannah cause the lump in my throat would just not go away. I will think about doing everything in my power to not break down. I've never tried so hard not to cry in my whole life. And I'll think of Kara and I looking over at each other, with our eyes brimming with tears knowing that if one of lost it, the other was certain to follow. I will think of Steph sweetly swaying precious Ivah to sleep and making Linnea tell us all her work stories as to not face the reality of what tomorrow morning meant. I will think of Sarah's girls running into her arms yelling Mommy! and Parker being so surprised that we aren't all laughing and talking non-stop but were, instead, ugly crying and trying to muster out a Hello, We love you, but can't bring ourselves to talk cause the lumps in our throats are so big.
I will think of Carina, and Hannah, and I making our own custom drinks, subbing the rum for vodka and how we are really and truly made for each other. I think of Jami and Caleb bonding over choosing the wrong dessert 25 times and the tears that formed in her eyes when my husband surprised us all by treating us to our meals. Have I mentioned I married the best guy in the world?
I told Caleb before we headed to dinner that I couldn't do it. I couldn't enjoy this night as much as I wanted to, because it was already 7:00 o'clock and twelve hours just wasn't enough.
The truth here is that I have found what I have been looking for for so very long. These are my people, and I want to shout it from the rooftop. I feel like as a Christian woman, in general, it's kind of, sometimes always?, said to keep quiet about friendships as to not make anyone felt left out. But here's the thing, my friends. True, real, Christ centered relationships with other women are hard to find. They are something to CELEBRATE, not hide. We can love others, and love them well, and still celebrate what God has done in our lives. On the plane ride home, and as I cried to my husband last night, he told me he's never seen anything like it. And I don't think many people have.
I want this for you, my sisters reading. I wanted, and prayed for this, for myself for years and years and I cannot believe that God blessed me with these people. I have never in my life experienced a more real, authentic, loving community.
My people. My tribe. My girl gang. My whole heart for my whole life.
As I scrolled the instagram hashtag of Hope Spoken I saw this popping up everywhere. And my heart burst for these women. In hotel rooms, by the pool, in the grocery store lines in Dallas, at Starbucks, in the speaker sessions, in the small groups, and when worshipping together, this community was forming. These people, these precious women, were coming together in the way that only the Lord can do.
For so many reasons, and sometimes it feels hard to say this, but I feel more at home in a hotel room in Dallas than I do in the place I have lived in my whole life.
And it's because of these people.