Thursday, 8 January 2015

Thank God for...Laura Whitmill

One week back at work and I'm already feeling weary and a tad grumpy, so I thought I'd do something I haven't done in a long while and write a 'thank God for' Friday post. The idea is that it's good to remember the good stuff, and to remember God is the giver of all the good stuff, and Friday is as good a day as any to mark that. Anyway, today is a special Friday for a very special friend as it is the start of her hen do, and I am seriously looking forward to a whole weekend of fun and frolics with her. Today I am saying,

Thank God for ... Laura Whitmill.

Laura is one of my closest friends from my time at university in Aberystwyth, although only a fraction of the time we've been good friends was while we actually lived in the same town. We became good friends at the end of my second/Laura's first year, on the annual student mission organised by St Michael's Church. We bonded through 'question time', one of my favourite social activities where basically I just throw deep, open-ended questions at whoever I'm with, sometimes they do the same in return, and essentially you just spend time being really intentional about getting to know someone better. I can't remember what questions I asked, but they were enough for us to realise that we really enjoyed each other's company, both in the laughy and the thinky moments! 

Bonding at Forum, the CU leaders' training conference.

We spent a lot of time together during that trip, and also at a Christian Union conference we both went to at the end of the summer break. During the conference we decided to go through a book together in the following year at uni. The book was called Too Busy Not To Pray (Bill Hybels), and I cannot recommend it enough - especially as someone who chooses to live life in a near constant state of busyness and someone who finds the discipline of praying pretty difficult. I also cannot highly enough recommend Laura as a reading buddy! She is enthusiastic, honest, willing to take on challenge and change, encouraging and just openly totally in love with Jesus. 

Our fantastic and snowy holiday in the Peak District.
Since then we've had fun on another mission, Laura's birthday extravaganzas, holidays to the Peak District, Hamburg and Crete, and our memorable 'holiday in a day', as well as lots of phone calls, emails, hangouts and general good times. Laura totally inspires me, she manages to be both straightforward and also to feel and think deeply, she is fun and adventurous but also great company on a simple night in drinking mulled cider and helping me out making stuff for church. She is the kind of person who won't make me feel bad if we're not in touch for ages, but when we are it's like we saw each other yesterday and we wouldn't run out of things to say if we were together for weeks and weeks. She handles struggles really humbly and graciously and is much better than me at turning to God when things get tough, (and giving Him the credit when things are great for that matter). I love her like a friend and a little sister, although her wisdom definitely puts her as the older sister for sure!

On one of holidays together, at Hotel Nana Beach, Crete.
Thank you God so much for Laura Whitmill. I love her lots and lots. And I'm really excited about her hen!

 If you're interested, here are a few more highlights of times we've spent together:

Go to Hamburg! The parks have really fun stuff like this and the Miniature Wonderland is so cool (Laura and I may have spent hours there!)

Laura and her fiance Malcolm at her Two Little Ducks themed 22nd. Hands down, the best birthday party I have ever attended!

Self timer fun whilst on holiday together in Crete.

Some wild swimming on our holiday in a day

Proms in the Park with our lovely friend Kirsty.

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