Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

July 6, 2013

my friend


It's 5:08 as I write this post, the AM variety not the PM kind of 5:08 which is a much more human hour. Kaleb, who didn't sleep until 9:30 PM last night was awake at 4:45 to ask about his missing car... ever had one of those mornings where you are stumbling around thinking 'is this just a bad dream or am I actually on my feet and moving at not even 5 in the morning?! Gross. That's the only word to describe it. However, as I think about this past week, and the week we have coming up I am not as upset as I would normally be. I am so fully exhausted that the idea of a few days at the cottage with my parents and Tim around to help with the boys fills me with enough hope for a rest that I can actually do 5 am without too much inner dread about the day ahead. I foresee a Mani-pedi in my week excursion :D, as well as a fun day at Santa's village!

As I was packing yesterday and thinking about all the things in life that could get us down, all the stress, all the sorrow I realized that even still life could be worse. I heard some horrible news from a dear friend in Poland yesterday. We had a funny relationship her and I, when we first started working together in Austria we did not get along. We fought... a lot. However, God began to work in both our hearts, we began to pray together and for each other and today, as I write this I consider her a good friend. Not long after I left the castle and married Tim I heard that she too was getting married (within a week or two of me). Then she had a little girl, not long after Josh was born, and her little girl was born with Down Syndrome, her sweet child needed to have open heart as well when she was just a young baby. This friend, thousands of miles away has so many echos in her life that are so similar to mine and I always eagerly await news from her. They sent a RED photo, followed up with a wonderful email full of encouragement and prayers. This girl, whom I just didn't like once upon a time is even now, in the midst of her suffering writing to me, to encourage me. This is what a friend in Christ is like, this is one of the thousands of blessings I see in my life daily.

Yesterday I recieved word that her sweet little girl, who has already suffered much is now facing Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; her treatments started yesterday. My friend and her husband (another friend from the days in Austria) haven't slept in days, as their daughter fights so they too must fight. My heart aches to be so far, so unable to help in the face of such devastating news. I would give just about anything to be able to hug her today, hold her hand and pray with her like the old days. 

As I look back on our friendship I see all that I have learned about relationships, all the ways that God taught me patience and more importantly, humility, through this woman. If someone had of told either of us that one day we would actually have a loving friendship I think we both would have laughed... and yet here we are. Thanks to a God who loves us.

As you start your day, or finish it (depends when you are reading this post). Please, say a prayer for this little girl, that God grants her healing, comfort, courage, strength and for her parents N&M that they can find rest in Him, that they receive his abundant blessings, peace that overflows, joy that can only come in sorrow, hope and courage.

Last week I was struck as never before by the verse Matt. 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." I have heard that verse a million times (truly about a million, most of them in the last five years). Yet, as I think about all the people who sent RED photos in, when I think about all the emails, when I think about my friends I had to rethink that verse. When I see all the thousands of ways that God is taking care of us, the group at St. Paul's who are making it possible once again for us to stay in a hotel near the hospital, for the people at Little T who have taken care of our food, coffee (!!) and parking for the week of surgery, when I think of the little ways that people are caring for us, the texts and phone calls, the thousands of offers to help I realized two amazing things.

1) God is truly in our midst, he's hearing our prayers and he's answering us, even when we haven't got a clue what he's doing, He does and in the end that is what matters. I personally, would much rather know that God knows what's going on, than knowing that I know what's going on. At least it's in safe hands with him, I would probably lose track of all the things he's working out for Josh (especially given the state of my date book these days).

This is true too of my friends, and I hold onto that. We may not be close, but we are gathered before our maker and the numbers are much bigger than two, we are gathered in His name, and He will be in their midst.

2) It's okay to need help sometimes. I often think that I have to be strong, I have to hold it all together and do it all myself (I have a brave face I pull out when I need it). When someone offers to help my first gut instinct is to say no (and I often do) because I don't want to be a burden. I don't want to put people out, cause them work or anxiety. This week my in-laws took the boys for four full days, so that I could focus totally on the house, getting it all packed and as ready as possible for the big move in August. Accepting help was difficult for me, not because I didn't want it, not because I didn't need it; merely because I thought I would be asking too much of them. However, what I saw in the end was that it gave them joy to be able to help. It allowed them to feel needed, it gave them time with their Grandsons, it gave them a chance to show us love in a way that speaks their love language. I can't say I will change instantly and be able to accept help better next time but it has made me rethink the offers of help coming in. I also realized yesterday, when I read my friends email how desperately helpless I felt to ease her burden for her, I thought of all the things they would need right now and I sat there realizing that I am just too far away to do anything... and it hit me square in the face. If this is how I feel, then maybe, just maybe, it's also how my friends feel. They are closer, they want to help, they see my pain and it becomes their pain because they love us, we aren't being burdens, we are allowing others to love us in the only way they can right now. It's not an easy position to be in, (the needy position) but it is teaching me humility, and in the end, that's not such a bad thing.