Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
Years and years and eons ago I had more female friends then I could count. I had what the world would deem as normal types of friendships with a variety of women younger, older and the same age as me. We did the usual things most ladies like to do together. We shopped till we dropped, drug our kids around to each other’s houses and extra-curricular activities, had lunches, dinners and get-aways together, and shared the normal highs and lows of motherhood, marriages, work, and daily life in general.
Then life happened.
I got a divorce then I got remarried. I lost my job, and then we left town and moved out to the country practically in the middle of no where. We gutted and restored a family farmhouse together, raised cattle and crops, and built a new life full of typical redneck, country life experiences and memories. I lost track of a majority of my friends after that change of scenery because my world was vastly different then it had been for so many years. I was completely engrossed in the daily routines of being a stay-at-home mom, home-schooling our kids, running from sport to sport, practice to practice, town to town, and numerous church activities that kept us all busy while also working along side my husband on our farm and homestead. I truly loved every single minute of those years and never felt that I was missing out on anything even though my friends list had dwindled down to basically only two really close female friends.
During the first couple months of 2013 a strange chain of events happened that resulted in both of these wonderful friends I had known and loved and called ‘my people’ for years on end exiting my life completely and I felt as if life had slapped me in the face, and hard. The whole disaster left me spiraling into a darkness I never saw coming and never thought existed. No matter how many attempts I made at hitting the restart button there was no going back, no second chances, no easy fix, no changing what had happened. What was done was done but I was stuck in a strange dark land and unable to move forward. A door had closed but that didn’t stop me from repeatedly banging my head against it. I was a numb, bitter, walking zombie, lost and confused on a daily basis and seriously couldn’t get my crap together. Depression and anxiety ruled my life for months on end. It was embarrassing not only for me but for the three other people who lived under the same roof as me.
During the summer of that dark year I stood on our farmhouse porch and poured my bitter heart and troubles out to the big man upstairs begging and pleading for him to help mend what had been broken inside me and to please send me a friend. Just one. That’s all I wanted, all I assumed I really needed at the time to help me cope, to help me heal, to help me put the pieces of my life back together. It was a constant mantra on repeat in my head.
Send me a friend. Send me a friend. Send me a friend. Please God send me a friend.
It didn’t happen.
It was the starting point of the wall I built soundly around myself.
I laid the foundation with a mixture of feeling worthless, unwanted, and unfriend-able followed up by thick walls of anxieties, fears, and almost zero trust in people, especially women. I kept most everyone out, minus my husband and sisters.
This difficult season of my life gave me an unlimited amount of time alone to be in a deeper more personal relationship with God and work on my healing. I needed that time and God knew it was essential as well. It enabled me to be silent in order to hear and discern His voice in my life. The experience led me to the world of blogging where I could connect with other women, even strangers simply by reading the words spilled from their hearts, minds and souls on their own blog pages. Most people wouldn’t consider that a form of friendship but it helped soothe my wounds in ways I never expected and I felt extremely connected to other moms and wives that I had never met.
Two years ago this month financial strains and the need for better healthcare coverage for our family forced me back into working outside the homestead. I was terrified of leaving the walls of our home that had been my safety net for so long but I was optimistic that maybe this new experience would bring a few more doses of healing for my heart. It has, but once again not in the fashion I expected. Babylon didn’t bring me friendships per se but it did require me to get up and face the world again which was long over due.
On one of my drives home from work last year I felt a twinge of loneliness starting to creep back into my life. I remember thinking of my old mantra and once again I said my old little plea….send me a friend. As clear as day I heard the Lord say “I did” just as I rounded the bend in the road and the lights from our farmhouse glowed in the dark. My eyes were opened to the realization He had sent me the one real friend I had been asking for all along if I would just change my line of vision. It sounds cliche to say my husband is my best friend but it is the truth and I know firsthand a lot of women who don’t feel that way and can’t speak those words. I believe our marriage is tighter and stronger today then even back in the days when life appeared to be so blissful and peaceful. We are a team, hand in hand, enjoying the simple life together and I couldn’t be happier. I am filled with joy just eating macaroni and cheese or frying up a batch of our own concoction of buffalo strips while we converse about politics, religion, and what appears to be the demise of our country. I am lucky and blessed to have what most would consider an easy marriage where most days we see eye to eye, and our home is full of laughter, love and true friendship even on my darkest days.
I have been pretty content with the way things are for quite awhile but the last several months I’ve felt something stirring. As is normal behavior for me, I have tried to ignore it. To pretend the constant urging of The Holy Spirit isn’t there whispering in the back of my mind, beckoning me to follow, to trust, to push-back the fear, to fight the urge to run, to tear down a few of the walls that are still around me.
I invited another woman over to the house not long ago, someone who had just been an acquaintance since 2013. I had heard Lindsay and I were very similar but honestly I couldn’t really see it. She is twelve years younger then me, never been married, doesn’t have any children yet and the list of our differences goes on and on. Our visit together didn’t end with me turning into salt or stone and we really hit it off so I invited her back. After the second visit I thoroughly expected that to be the end….especially after my lovely husband informed her she is only the second woman I have ever invited back to our home. As if that that doesn’t scream FREAK SHOW! However she didn’t run for the hills and God has shown me I do need Lindsay and her friendship in my life. She is helping me tear down a few of the walls around me brick by brick and piece by piece. Lindsay brings much needed daily laughter into my long days when I’m stuck in Babylon away from all the things that bring me comfort. She doesn’t mind getting thousands of text messages from me babbling on and on and on about all my dogs and animals because her heart has the same soft spot for these things. She doesn’t think I’m crazy when I’m utterly exhausted and at my wit’s end and confide in her that all I really want to do is get back in my bed and not be an adult for a week. She has assured me and shown me time and again that she enjoys nothing more then simply sitting at the bar in my kitchen with me on the nights I just can’t leave my house. Each day we are learning new things about each other and our similarities are some times mind-blowing. I couldn’t help but chuckle recently when we were randomly discussing our love for music and I started showing her a video that has spoke volumes to me lately and she knew exactly who the amazing Lindsey Stirling was before I had even finished my sentence. I don’t perceive it as being a coincidence that just randomly happened in my kitchen.
Tearing down a few of my walls has allowed other examples of God’s faithfulness to shine a light in my life as well. In January the world of the internet and social media brought my college roommate Jill, who I met 20 years ago, back to my doorstep. We hadn’t seen each other or talked for almost sixteen years but we stepped right back into the same undeniable connection we had all those years ago in a matter of seconds. Jill had crossed my mind many times over the years but I never expected to see her again on this side of Heaven’s pearly gates. It genuinely felt like angels were clapping and singing when we embraced once again in my driveway. That afternoon together chatting away nonstop about our families and old friends, reminiscing about our crazy, STUPID college life antics and where we are now in life was another dose of heavy healing for my heart. I once again was left chuckling when we both started talking about our current jobs and discovered we are in the exact same line of work. Jill’s personality is infectious. Just thinking of her as I write this makes me grin ear to ear. She bubbles over with a pure sincerity and a true love for others that very few people embody any more in this selfish world. I can’t remember the last time someone sat face to face with me and asked me true, honest, deep questions like “Are you happy, and really, really, truly happy?” But that’s one of the things Jill brings to the table and it’s something the Lord knows I really need as well. The more we laughed and talked and shared and continued saying the words “me too” over and over and over caused me to repeatedly look over to a wooden hand-painted sign hanging on my living room wall. It simply says “Keep The Faith” and that is what I plan on doing no matter what unforeseen obstacles may lie ahead in life’s journey.
God didn’t answer my prayers and pleadings for a friend that summer of 2013 on my porch even though I knew He was there listening and holding my hand. I couldn’t comprehend why when I was encased in the darkness. A few years later down the road and I can understand and see now. In my time of desperation He was there guiding me and my friends to where we all needed to be for this moment now. Back then I had nothing of myself to give either of these women and I would have been a horrible friend. But because of His grace, mercy, promises and faithfulness I am finding myself again and able to be a friend and trust in people.
The Monday after I last saw Jill I texted her a random question. I asked her what year her and her husband moved back in the area. I already knew what the answer was going to be before she responded back. I shed a few wonderful tears filled with faith, joy, hope and love as I read her response….
Summer of 2013
God and HIS timing are just more mysterious aspects of His continual renewing of my heart and I am grateful for His gentle reminders to take flight and keep marching on.