You see, we haven't been in this city quite 3 years yet, so a lot would probably look and say I didn't know her that well so why would I be so upset. But I had the privilege of being friends with her baby brother and his wife in our previous city. When she first got sick with cancer, I began to pray alongside her family, despite the fact I didn't know the sound of her voice or what she looked like or what her family looked like. But even then I knew she was precious and a faithful and loving woman of God, because I saw her through her baby brother's family's eyes.
I honestly don't think I was nearly as faithful a friend to her as she was to me. Being a young mom ends up making life insane sometimes, especially when I was homeschooling. Deep down I know she knew how much I loved and appreciated her, despite that busyness that occurred.
You know, I may not have known her as long as others around me, but I loved her. You couldn't not love her once you knew her. She was an example to me of how to live for Christ, to be a wife and a mom. I didn't get to see her in the hospital this week...when I was there, I wanted the family to have as much time with her as possible. I did bring sustenance and spend time with with her family. I believe that's what I was supposed to do and if the roles had been reversed, exactly what she would have done. In the words of my husband..."she knew you were there." Now I will pray alongside them and be there in whatever tangible way is needed.
I was blessed to see her a few weeks ago and spent an hour talking with her. She talked with me about the importance of balance in my life....with work and my family. She made me promise to unplug my phone on my days off (or at least stringently use my caller ID). She took so much comfort in my sharing how our work team was faithful about watching each other's back and lifting each other and our families up in prayer. She stressed over and over again the importance of my kids and family and that at the end of the day, they are all that truly matters. We do the things we do for their well-being and only have a short time with them, so we need to embrace it.
Those words, that time and all the other memories of being with my friend are speaking deeply to me today. I know they will continue to speak deeply, as I work through why she left this earth at the age of 46, when in my mind, she had so many years left to live out with her husband and kids. I know she wants us to have peace in knowing she was ready to go home and be with her Father. And eventually that will come, but I think for a time, there will be a tearing up inside and longing for what's been lost. In my mind, that's perfectly okay! It's normal and healthy...there would be more questions I believe if that didn't occur.
"Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me. Suppose someone welcomes a prophet as a prophet. That one will receive a prophet's reward. And suppose someone welcomes a godly person as a godly person. That one will receive a godly person's reward. Suppose someone gives even a cup of cold water to a little one who follows me. What I'm about to tell you is true. That one will certainly be rewarded."
~ Matthew 10.40-42