"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts, nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with breath of kindness, blow the rest away."
"A friend loves at all time." Proverbs
I have needed you and I am indebted to you and I love you.
My life has brought so many seasons of blessings and grace and also, endless trials that lend to an "out of control" seasons of life. When I look back on the Lord's many blessings over the years, I see friends as one of the main ways He has shown me His reality, His words of grace and love, His compassion, His wisdom, His gentleness and forgiveness and grace. I have needed friends that knew me and still loved me as I am a very imperfect person, who needed to know I could still be loved with all of my imperfections.
Without my friends, I would not be as mature in the Lord, or want to keep believing in His goodness. We could never, ever worked so broadly in ministry without so many to help, pray, work at registration, book tables, help set up, take care of us and our precious children.
Our ministry would have gone under financially without generous support through all of the hard seasons. Even in this season of financial challenge with medical bills, there have been those of you who have reached out beyond what we deserved and helped. I simply could not have made it without friends.
Have I experienced loneliness? Of course--regularly over the years. When moving 17 times and 6 times internationally, there are inevitable times of being alone--the new kid on the block. And as an idealist going against the grain of culture, always there have been such times of loneliness and long bouts of isolation. Of course, there are so many times one feels alone. But even in these times, there have been those who have left a note, or comment, or sent a letter or email--when they could have had no idea, that it was their one word that lifted me up and kept me from despair.
Recently, with my mom's death and cleaning out her home and grieving in the midst of a very busy life, there were angels I did not even know well, who provided grace, help and meals in Texas when I was not even in my hometown.
Next came Sarah's wrecks, illness. Nathan's campaign. My home Bible studies--and there were those who have held up my arms and prayed--even from their own beds of cancer and surgery.
And with Clay's serious surgery, and now the nursing at home, I could not have known what it would have cost me in time and energy and effort. Yet, behind the scenes, again, God smiled on me, by sending amazing meals, notes, emails, and even a friend who helped me clean house last night, because of a group of women coming to my house in the midst of the chaos.
There have been friends I have never met, but who take time to write me and encourage me and share in our kindred heart dreams, disappointments and life issues.
Today, I want to say, I could not have made it without you. I would not be the person I am without you being willing to invest love, time, thoughtfulness in so many different ways. I love each of you who has taken the time to give or encourage. I am sitting here waiting to help Clay in his next task and thinking how very blessed I have been to feel the hands of God through real, live people.
I have had no time to send thank you notes, (and yes, Mom, I do feel guilty), and I have not even been answering the phone this week, because the daily tasks have been quite daunting, but nonetheless, you have been in my heart and on my thoughts.
THANK YOU AND I LOVE YOU--even if I have been more absent than usual, you are still a very important part of my heart and thoughts. You mean more to me than you will ever know.
There is probably a friend in each of our lives today who need to hear our words or know our kindness or prayers and you have inspired me. May each of you who have blessed me so, feel the love of God through a friend, and know my love coming your way from my heart, today.