Public Private Letters, Part 7: Dear Evan.

Dear Evan,

You're a Soul Friend. It's kind of like a best friend, except you can have many more than just one. You're one of mine.

As I'm writing this, you're sitting across from me at Starbucks, getting started studying. You just finished telling me how stressed you are about a bunch of things. I'm here to tell you I believe in you! I always I have. I believe you can do it. You always do!

It's been such a joy to see you grow up over the last 6 years or so. From a camper on my first hall at camp to an almost-graduate of college, you've come a long way--and so have I (although it often feels like I'm stuck in the same place!). You've been a constant encouragement to me, even when you probably didn't realize it. I loved being your Big in club, but I honestly felt like you encouraged me more often than I encouraged you!

Here's a few memories I have of you and some ways you have impacted me that you may not be aware of, and I'm fairly certain they're in chronological order:

  • During my very first week of being a counselor at Kadesh the summer after my freshman year at ACU, you were on my hall, like I already mentioned. You stood out in my first hall because you left a prayer request in the box outside my room. I desperately wanted to connect with my campers and I also wanted to pray for them, so I taped it next to bed where only I could see it, and I prayed for you and your requests for the rest of the summer. (I think I still have that notecard in a box somewhere.)
  • I can't remember how much we kept in touch from that first summer to the next, but the next year at camp, I remember walking with you and a couple other girls and you mentioned a song that I had put on the CD for the previous year. What you did not know is that I only made CDs for my first hall during my first summer, but because I saw that it actually meant something to you, Carlee and I made CDs for every single camper that we had on our hall that second summer. 
  • In the fall after that summer, you came to visit Abilene and I remember picking you up from an ACU football game to go to Sonic and to play with Nugget (I had just gotten her as a puppy). We both shared some things we'd been struggling with lately. I felt so blessed to get to speak into your life and have you listen to me go on and on about my life. You've always let me be myself!
  • I saw you at Sing Song a few months later, after my hospitalization. I told you a little bit about it. I was worried about what you thought, but if your opinion of me changed, you certainly didn't tell me. One of my biggest fears has always been that people I love would think I was "crazy," or even just see me differently. You never have acted like that though. 
  • Next thing I knew, you were graduating from high school and coming to ACU. I was so excited to have you and some of my other previous campers come to school with me. I didn't see you much during your freshman year, but when I did see you it always made my day. 
  • The next year, you pledged, and I picked you as my Little. You were my first choice, too! I was overjoyed to get to pass down all my Siggie things and just support and encourage you during pledging and beyond. I felt that we were starting to become better friends rather than counselor and camper.  
  • In December after you pledged, my cousin Colby died. Our friendship changed even more because things shifted to you encouraging me when I needed it the most. One time at midnight worship during the semester after Colby died, you prayed for me. I was crying, distraught, feeling broken, and you prayed with and for me. I couldn't have known that a few years after I prayed for you all summer that you'd be the one praying for me later on! 
  • The next day I woke up to a plate of warm muffins on my porch and a sweet note from you, which I still have on my bulletin board (I ate the muffins though haha). You told me not to give up. You told me to keep going.
  • I spent most of the next summer and fall in intense counseling, dealing with the grief of losing my cousin and my Aunt Jan. I'm pretty sure it was sometime during that school year (your junior year) that one day you said, "Hey, let's go get our nails done!" I appreciated invitations like that SO much, as I was often feeling depressed and down that year. 
  • We also went and got Thai food. I remember you asking me a lot of questions about things going in my life. Again, I appreciated that so much. That was during a time in my life where I didn't feel like I had many friends. But you stuck around. I can't adequately tell you how much that meant. 
  • In the summer, I was in Abilene for a little bit, and we went and got dinner at Olive Garden and then went to Starbucks so you could study for your summer courses. Was that the time they gave us free tea?? I think that was a different time, but that was awesome haha.
  •  Before I knew it, you were a Senior at ACU! Wow. Where did the last four years go?! I'm sure you've been feeling the same way lately. But this year, your Senior year, we've gotten closer than ever. I mean, we went to Passion together! That was beyond amazing. We got to worship the Lord, ride Uber a lot, and just spend a ton of time together adventuring around Atlanta. I appreciated you talking with me about my future plans, even though they've changed like 27 times. And remember that one night where I had an anxiety attack? You were so sweet to just listen and talk to me and make me hot tea. 

And now, here we are, sitting in Starbucks together (for the 3rd or 4th time this week haha), and you think I'm studying--but I've actually been writing you this letter. (You just took a picture of me to put on Snapchat. Ha.)  And in jus a few short weeks you'll be graduating FROM COLLEGE...I feel old! Haha.

But seriously, you've been a big part of my life the last several years. You've become not just one of my campers or my Little in club, but also my Soul Friend. I adore you, friend. I'm so, so, so proud of you and all that you've done, all that you've become, and I can't wait to see where God leads you next. I'll be supportive of you all the way, even from afar. It's hard to think about the fact that another one of my Soul Friends is leaving me, but I 100% support you. I'll keep praying for you, just like always.

YOU BETTER STAY IN TOUCH. I'm going to miss you. Love you so much!


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