The WACOHs! As you know or have picked up on, I attended seminary for a few years shortly after graduating from MC from 2007-2009. I moved to New Orleans knowing absolutely NO ONE. It was terrifying, especially considering I almost didn’t go to Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi because I’d have to drive in Jackson, Mississippi – the smallest state capital of any state. So clearly moving to and driving in the thriving metropolitan city of New Orleans made sense. The first few weeks were pretty rough. I didn’t have any friends! One of the good things about going to a theological seminary – people are a little more apt to knock on stranger’s doors and meet them. One day these two girls living a few doors down from me in our dorm knocked on my door and asked if I want to visit churches with them. YES! I finally made some friends, two other first semester girls – Amanda from Virginia and Cheryl from Florida.
I’m a little rusty on the order in which the rest of us met, but before long we had a solid group of girl friends who decided we wanted to meet together to pray together and read the Bible together – me, Amanda, Cheryl, Courtney, Stephanie, Lucy, and Marlena. Being seminary students, we read the Bible a lot, but we really wanted to read it for personal spiritual growth and meet together for accountability. We decided to call ourselves the WACOHs – Women After Christ’s Own Heart. We hung out with a lot of other great girls and guys too, Sarah, Kat, Jeremey, etc, and we had fun no matter what we did!
These ladies were (and continue to be) AMAZING. They loved Jesus and had a hunger for God’s word unlike anyone I had ever met. The moments we shared together were absolutely beautiful. We kept a prayer journal (that I still have) that we passed around and wrote our needs and praises in. We watched God answer SO many prayers we wrote down and prayed over. We committed to pray for each other and really did. Being friends with these beautiful souls was a catalyst to change for me. I started to realize as they exposed their hearts to me and one another, that they had experienced a kind of freedom I hadn’t and weren’t trapped by shame like I was.
During the time we met together, a lot of things I had compartmentalized from my childhood and previous years of life started to come to the surface and demand to be dealt with. I started going to a counselor, and it was beautiful and so needed and eventually brought so much healing, but in the midst of it as I started to relive things and attempt to let go of shame, it caused a lot of emotional turmoil. I started struggling majorly with depression and anxiety. Instead of choosing a healthy road and confessing my struggles to them to find support and coping there, I closed myself off, isolated myself further, and clung to a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms. This eventually lead to me leaving school and no longer getting to have these wonderful women in my life.
I have to talk for an extra moment about Amanda, who ended up being my roommate! We moved to an apartment together on campus with Lucy and eventually another girl named Crystal. At the time I was going through all my hard junk, I thought Amanda didn’t know. But she did. She did and the way she loved me and supported me never changed. And before everything got bad, there was a whole heck of a lot of good! I learned how to cook and shop with roommates for the first time. I learned how much I loved cooking and meal planning. I watched a LOT of Gilmore Girls and Alias with this girl. We got to work at a summer camp together and then travel to 13 stays in 4 days and 3 nights to visit all but one of the Ivy Leagues (something we had become obsessed with). She was an amazing roommate and friend and the love she had for me helped me through A LOT.
I had a long road to walk through before I could look back and realize that despite my running and pushing and isolating, these women meant the world to me! We ate a lot of snowballs. We wrote a lot of papers. We cooked a lot of meals. We laughed a lot. We prayed a lot. We cried a lot. We went through a lot of note cards. But we really were women after the heart of Christ and it changed us all. The freedom I saw in these women was the catalyst I needed to walk down my own road and journey to freedom and I could never in a million years thank them enough for that. We are scattered all over the place now, but we occasionally catch up on one another’s lives through email, stalk each other’s Facebook ongoings (that’s possibily just me, but I love seeing what they are doing and how God is using them), and I’m confident ONE DAY there will be a WACOHs reunion.
This is part of my 31 People(s) I Love series. I’ll be writing about 31 people/peoples that I adore! Click here if you would like a list of all the posts in this series.