The Joy of Long-Haul Friendship

Over the past year, I have spent a whole lot of extra time with my dear friend, Gayla, and her family. This may not strike you as odd, except for the fact that her husband, Steve, was diagnosed with cancer almost two years ago. Their family is young. Neither of them are 40 yet and their three kids are all under ten. I have been friends with them for more than a decade. But this season has been different.

When Gayla’s husband was first diagnosed, everyone came rushing in with offers of help and support, as they should. But through the years, the help hasn’t stopped, which has shocked me in all the best ways. Homemade dishes still appear at their house, offers to pay to have their laundry done are still coming in, and there are continuous offers to help with the kids in any way. Personally, I babysit for them to enjoy a date night. I clean their house and fold their laundry and even help her grade papers until the wee hours of the morning.

Can I tell you a secret? These have been some of the sweetest times I have had in a friendship recently. My friendship with them has gone to the next level. We have had conversations about light and hard things. We laugh and cry. We pray and speak truth. We break bread together and share dessert. There has been a new depth of authenticity and vulnerability that has taken place due to the reality of his cancer.

Their kids have even changed my last name to include me in the family. My heart melts! I love this family as if they were my own.

I recently came across Galatians 6 and was impressed by how much instruction is packed in ten short verses. A few of them stood out when it comes to faithfulness in friendship:

 

Tor read the rest, join me over at Incourage!

On Loss and Healing

 

I feel as though I and several friends have gone through a season of loss of varying degrees. I, personally, suffered a great deal of loss in Baton Rouge’s devastating flood last August. I, along  with countless others, are still trying to recover. I lost my vehicle and most of my furniture. God has been faithful, but I am still recovering.

I have friends who are dealing with loss of their health and loss of their jobs and loss of parents and loss of dreams.

One dear friend recently suffered a miscarriage with her second child. I can’t even begin to understand what that loss feels like.

Loss is so hard on so many different levels. It is hard to walk through it, but it also hard to walk with others through it.

How do we navigate it? How do we walk out loss and healing like Christ?

Loss is loss. And it all requires grieving.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

My loss is not the same as my sweet friend’s miscarriage, but they are both losses. God cares about both. He cares because what concerns us, concerns Him. Losses hurt and they hurt and they hurt some more. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to not be okay. I’s okay to grieve and to cry and to mourn. It’s necessary for healing to come. God can handle our tears. In fact, Psalm 56:8 tells us that God bottles every one of our tears.

 

To read the rest, join me over at Purposeful Faith!

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