Do you have a friend that even though they are miles away and you may not see them for a long time, you always seem to pick up where you left off?
I am blessed to have a friend like this. She comes back to my town to visit once a year in April. Usually, I see her maybe once, shortly after she arrives, and again when all of our friends get together for dinner.
This year, she dropped by my work office, a few days after she got here. A few days later, she and her Mom stopped by my house to visit. It was good to see her Mom and visit with her too. I told them we had to take some pictures, because I had regretted not taking any the first time we visited together.
I invited my friend to go to church with me on Sunday and she went. It was the first time she had gone to church with me in thirty years or more…oh my, that makes me sound old! She said she felt welcome and at home at my church. If only she could attend with me all the time, that would be awesome!
The next time we got together was with several of our friends for dinner one night at a nice restaurant. I was disappointed that my husband didn’t get to go. It was a major reversal of roles for us, since he was the one that was sick and didn’t feel like going.
I am so thankful that I felt good enough to go. I planned it on a Monday. I usually feel pretty good on Mondays, because I have had two days off from work to rest. It worked out great for me! I also insisted that we take pictures again. Taking pictures is a good way for me to remember our cherished times together.
My daughter called me and said she wanted to see my friend too. So we made plans and we all got together again. I was so proud that my daughter is mature enough to want to see one of my friends and I again felt blessed to see my friend again.
As we were leaving from this visit, I hugged her goodbye. I knew that she would be leaving soon and this hug would have to last for a year. How can a hug last for a year? How is that even possible??!!
At that point, I began to mourn the departure of my friend. It was great seeing her, but saying good-bye was not fun at all. We had not had our heart to heart talk, where we talk about The Lord. How could she be leaving?
As I was writing this blog through my tears, I sent my friend a text. She immediately called me and we were able to have that heart to heart talk. I think that the Holy Spirit arranged that conversation. She talked about how when she was leaving church that morning, a lady was crying. She said she didn’t know where her words came from, but she asked the lady, if she was okay or if she needed anything. I told her that was The Holy Spirit guiding her as what to say.
Many times when I am casually speaking to someone about The Lord, I don’t think about where my words are coming from, but it is The Holy Spirit guiding me, because I am normally a very shy person with few words.
Thank you Holy Spirit for guiding me and my friend. And thank you for friends that live their lives for you and are an inspiration to me!
All summer long I have been involved in a Discipleship Training group at my church. The goal of this group is to build relationships with others and help lead others to become Disciples. A Disciple is one that is following Jesus, who is being changed by Him and is committed to being on mission for Christ to make more disciples. As we make more disciples we also form new groups.
As part of training in this group we divided up into pairs and told a Bible story to a small group. Then we asked questions and discussed the story. In my group we had two very sweet couples. I told the story and Ed asked most of the questions and even went more in depth with the story. He is a Bible scholar compared to me. But in order to learn you have to start somewhere, so I try to learn as much as I can.
As we discussed the story of Jesus asking Peter, James and John to follow Him, Jesus also told them He would make them fishers of men. Somehow we got on the subject of Christians not having a perfect life. Some people think that all Christians go around smiling and praising God all the time..not so! Christians go through the same struggles and heartaches that everyone does we just know that we always have Jesus helping us.
I remember looking at one couple in particular who was going through a very difficult time in their lives. I said they had no idea they would both have cancer at the same time. As I looked at him through his teary eyes, I said no matter what you always know that Jesus is by your side!
A few weeks later when we were in our Discipleship Training group, our Pastor received a phone call. It was the husband of the couple that has cancer. She was in the hospital with complications with her heart and the doctors said there was nothing more they could do.
We decided to leave immediately and go visit this family. Fist we stopped at their house and talked and prayed with the husband. Then we went to the hospital to visit the wife and her daughter. There was four of us and we gathered around her bed. She grabbed my hand and with her very weak voice she told us that she ready. She was ready to be taken off all the machines and ready to meet her Maker. As she was saying some of the last words she would ever say, she also asked how others in the church were doing. She was always thinking of others.
She knew she was going to heaven so she asked if she could peak around the clouds and check on us every once in a while. She told me that I did a beautiful job the night I lead the Bible study. Tears began to flow down my checks. I knew that was the last time that she was able to go to church. I felt so blessed that God used me to speak to her about His love that night. I also knew this would be the last time that I would see her alive. When it was time to leave I hugged her and told her that she was going to make a beautiful angel. I hugged her one more time because it was hard to let go of such a sweet and thoughtful person.
As we walked back to our cars, I was still crying. I didn’t want to let her go. I didn’t want God to have her yet. I know it was selfish, but it was truly how I felt at the time. A few days later heaven received their beautiful angel. Her life on earth was done, but her kindness and thoughtfulness will be missed by many.
She sounded so confident and sure when she said she was ready. She was ready for her new home and her new healthy body. She deserved it and we had to let her go. Sometimes when I look up in the sky on a beautiful sunny day I wonder if she peaking around a cloud and smiling down on me.