I’ve been writing about losing 2 of our boys, and I have to come right out and say that it’s been brutal sometimes to go back and re-live those times. I’ve had a number of meltdowns the past few weeks, especially as I’ve gone through some old pictures – some of which I hadn’t been brave enough to look at since we lost Matthew back in 1993! It was just too hard. It’s so much easier to just go crawl in my little hole and pretend that those days never happened.
But here’s a weird oxymoron: This has also been healing…
It’s been healing because every time I start to “lose it,” I turn to my Lord and cry out to Him. Sometimes all I can say is, Jesus, Jesus…
And of course my precious Lord and Savior ALWAYS is there, and brings me peace.
How does He bring peace? Often He will bring me a Scripture letting me know that He hears me and that He’s with me.
But another way has been through friends…
If you’ve read some of my posts about my younger years (He Really Cares for Me – I Think & Fortunetellers, Witches & Other Strange Stuff), I was basically a loner and a self-proclaimed loser in my teenage years. Since I was so insecure about myself I allowed myself to get involved in many different things that I should have stayed away from.
But then came the day when I met my husband Gary, who definitely was instrumental in helping me get my life turned around. It started when he informed me that if we were going to have kids we needed to raise them in a church environment (What Was Happening To My Husband?).
When we started attending a good Bible-teaching church, I actually discovered there were people in this world who could love me (besides my husband and family) unconditionally. Where did this unconditional love come from? God – through Him alone.
Besides some dear friends that I’ve met through my jobs and outside activities, I want to focus here on my church families/friends. Because bottom line: Without Jesus and the prayers and encouragement from these friends I would probably be laying in a gutter somewhere today.
First came the friends at the church I got saved in when we lost 2 of our boys – Christ’s Church. Without our friends there I don’t know if Gary or myself could have made it through. It would have been so easy to just stop going to church and give up on God. They’ve stood by us and supported us, even to this day.
Next the Lord led us to Grace Community Church. We again met such amazing, loving people, who encouraged us and helped me personally grow in my faith walk. The Lord opened doors for us to share the victory from our trials there, and it was there that our remaining son Jeffrey, with cerebral palsy, got saved and baptized.
Gary and I had grown up in the Seattle area, so it came as kind of a surprise a few years later when we ended up in Central Oregon, where we got connected with Redmond Assembly of God. Again the Lord blessed us with so many dear friends, who stood by us and prayed with us through some very stress-filled days as we got our disabled son Jeffrey ready to move out of state to college. The Lord also used this season to bring women into my life who helped me grow spiritually by providing opportunities to step out and teach, speak and lead Bible studies.
And now here we are in the Dallas area – certainly never thought we’d end up so far away from the west coast! Of course again our faithful Heavenly Father has blessed us with a great church home at Northplace Church and very special friends. Friends who have encouraged us and prayed with us through those times when the deep, dark valleys have come looming upon us. It is also here that my sisters in Christ have stood by and supported me as I finally finished my book, The God of All Comfort.
I am so thankful for all the friends that He was brought me through the years. Friends who have encouraged me, prayed for me, and corrected me when I start to wander off base. My friends: I MISS YOU, I LOVE YOU, AND I AM SO THANKFUL FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!
Singer and songwriter Michael W. Smith has a song called Friends, which has a chorus that goes like this. This is a love-note to all my friends; can’t wait to see you all again someday!
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say “Never”
Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends