Seventeen years ago, I met Shelly Thorwaldson.
It was a Sunday morning at Peninsula Christian Center in the
old upstairs youth room.
She was wearing hot pink flowered leggings...and rocking them.
Her husband, Ben, co-youth pastored the youth group
with my newly acquired boyfriend, Scott.
I remember being nervous. And a little unsure of what was to come.
One feels awkward facing a room full of teenagers who know you
are kissing their pastor.
But Shelly was from day one...my friend.
We laughed together.
And plotted together.
We yelled at kids to keep rocking at the rockathon together.
We stayed up all night together during youth all nighters.
At which point we were grouchy together.
We went on retreats together.
Winter retreat. Summer retreats.
I was sous chef to her chef, following her lead,
as she mapped out meals, planned menus and executed tacos for 50
We dreamed together.
We sang in musicals together.
We formed a Point of Grace cover group together.
Shelly was the soprano...I was the alto.
She was the assistant wedding planner at my wedding.
When we left to youth pastor another church 15 minutes away,
we still hung out.
Comparing youth war stories, meeting up for bbqs, bemoaning
being pastors wives...and loving it at the same time.
And then came the onslaught of children.
In five years between the two of us there was....
Jack, Matea, Will, Logan, Addison and Nick.
When I wrote my first book, Shelly watched Jack and Will
at her home daycare.
She threw Addison's baby shower at her house and encouraged
me through heinous bout of post partum depression.
We planted our church in 2004 and Ben and Shelly left
Redwood City to plant theirs in 2009.
And Shelly and I became retreat buddies going to the minister's
wives retreat on scholarship...as church planters wives are wont to do.
We caught up at a preschool in service this summer talking about kids,
and getting older (but we both still look fantastic don't think otherwise)
and about the roller coaster ride of church planting.
We get each other. We live the same lives in so many ways.
And then 2 weeks ago, Shelly found out she has ovarian cancer.
I called her.
And she was calm on the phone, encouraged by the Lord,
bound up with his undying strength and we laughed a little
and talked about the unbelievability of what was happening in her life
and prayed together.
And then I went in and laid my head on Scott's shoulder and
bawled like a baby because I really don't want Shelly to have cancer.
And that is an understatement.
So tomorrow Scott and I are driving up to Sacremento for her surgery to
have an the tumor removed.
Ben has said the surgery could be tricky.
But I have been praying big prayers over Shelly.
Prayers of healing and hope and a great future.
Prayers of strength and grace and mercy.
For her and Ben and her three sweet kids.
And I am coveting your prayers on her behalf.
I know most of you have never met Shelly....
but I also know that you would really like her a lot if you did.
So if through out your day today and tomorrow,
if you happen think of Shelly, would you please pray a big
healing prayer over her, too?
Because the more prayers the better I think.
I am believing that God is going to answer.
Because he likes Shelly the most of all.