Oh my goodness.... the craziness of my life has prevented me from writing in awhile. However, I have a free night at home, with nothing to do, so here we go! This is a continuation of my "blessing journey"...so today's blog post is centered around Shelby Harp McCaleb!
Shelby was the very first person I met at Hardin-Simmons University in the fall of 2004. She was in my NSO (New Student Orientation) group and the closest one sitting next to my parents and I. I was feeling very, VERY uneasy about leaving home (my friends, my family, my church, everything I knew) and moving 3 hours away to a place where I did not know one single person! Now, looking back, I see that was the best decision I could have ever made. I worried that all my friends would have better experiences because they were going off together, but I think my situation was so much better pulling myself away from everyone and starting over fresh. So as the leaders were telling the parents to start saying their goodbyes I knew that I had to find a friend, an acquaintance, anyone and fast. I introduced myself to Shelby and left with my parents to say goodbye! After being strong and hugging their necks I boldly walked back to my new home, locked the door, sat in the middle of the room... and bawled my eyes out. I was terrified and felt very vulnerable. However, it was Shelby who made me feel better. We left to go to that night's activities together and were INSEPARABLE from that moment on. People would call me Shelby or her Stephanie and we would answer to either. Our names soon became mashed into one name StephanieandShelby or ShelbyandSteph. We spent every free moment together, ate every meal together, tried out churches together, went home with each other on the weekends and for holidays and became close to each other's families. We were attached at the hip.
Shelby and I developed a bond that was so great. We opened up about our pasts fully and freely and felt no judgement from the other...just grace. We knew of the guys (good and bad) that took up places in each other's hearts. We stood up for one another... once I even (in my mature nature as a freshman) talked to one of her ex-boyfriends on the phone and got cussed out by him! haha Shelby laid into him and stood up for me. She took my side when she didn't have to. We formed a friendship so quickly and deeply it has lasted all these years.
We did go through a rough patch in college. Friendships and relationships moved in and that took away time from each other. It was awkward and very hard for awhile (dang girls can be dumb). But the Lord was so good to us--revealed sin and pride in our lives-- and allowed our friendship to be renewed and strengthened. I have been apart of some of the most beautiful moments of her life... seeing her pursued by Jared, finding out before anyone else on the steps of Sandefer that she was engaged and that she wanted me to stand by her on her wedding day, and then today being texted and updated throughout the day as she was in labor. I see that those moments make our friendship beautiful. I see that even though she lives in Houston and I live in Dallas we can still remain close. The Lord knit our lives together 8 years ago and will continue to use us to edify, encourage and spur each other on! I can't wait--Lord willing--for the day when she gets to see me get pursued (even if via Facebook), hear my voice crack as I whisper "I'm engaged!" and see her face as I add "I need you to stand by me on that day!"
::Father, thank you for Shelby! Thank you for the woman you have fashioned her to be! Thank you for her obedience to Your will! God, You are so good to have entrusted me with her friendship! Thank you for loving me so much, that you allowed her to be apart of my life!::
PS: I had to steal a picture and show my precious friend and her new daughter Lucy! Congrats Jared and Shelby! I am so incredibly excited for yall and the impact you will have on this beautiful baby girl! Love yall!