Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER (02/28/19)
TITLE: The Precious Gift of Godly Friends
By Laurie Staples
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But that wasn’t God’s plan. He took her home to be with Him eighteen months ago. The pain of knowing she’d no longer be there to offer her bolstering wisdom, unconditional love and eternal optimism was indescribable.
In the months following her death I withdrew into myself. I used to find such peace in my quiet time with the Lord, I poured out my thankfulness for all He has done in my life, for His grace and mercy and omniscience. I was always praying for my mom and hoping for a miracle. I plead with Him to spare her from pain, and He DID answer that prayer, He took her gently and painlessly home—surrounded by her three remaining children.
I know when God permits trials, He also provides comfort, but I wasn’t opening myself up to accept that comfort—not from His word or from the wonderful Christian friends and family He’s blessed me with. Obstinately and ridiculously, I held on to the belief that no one could possibly “get it.” I hated the the thought of hearing them saying they did. How ludicrous! Most of my friends have been down the same path, some have experienced additional grief way beyond what I was experiencing.
My dearest friend, Tammy, was brought into my life almost four decades ago. She knows everything about me and loves me unconditionally. She’s rejoiced with me, wept with me, prayed with me. Days before her death, my mom told me how much it comforted HER knowing I had “my Tammy.” At the time, I didn’t want to hear things like that; I wanted HER.
A few months into my self imposed exile of skipping every family get together and holiday party, of never feeling “up to” company and declining every invitation to spend time with my precious friends, I was finally convicted to climb out of my solitary, miry pit of self pity and actively reach out to loving, godly women God placed in my life. It was a salve to my soul.
The separation from the goodness, love and faithfulness of those who truly cared about me made me realize all the more how precious godly friends and family are. God didn’t intend for us to be alone; His desire is to allow those who have suffered to comfort those in the way He has comforted them.
I know I’ll never stop missing my mom, I know there won’t be a day that I don’t want to pick up the phone and tell her about my day, to laugh with her and hear her tell me I don’t have to look very far to see someone who has it worse than me, to remind me to never stop being thankful, to hear the reassuring “it’ll all work out,” because God is in control and He loves me very much, that this life is but a blip. But my “tribe” of girlfriends have stepped up and filled that void more than I ever thought possible—and I am very, very grateful.
”Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
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