Thursday, February 28, 2013

showing love - in a valley

Sarah is a very dear friend of mine and she blogs at Sarah Sane and Tall.  Her sweet spirit and gently shared wisdom has been a salve to my hurting heart.  Here Sarah shares the ways friends have showed love to her during a particularly difficult time of her life and also reminds us of the truest Friend of all. 


This is the story of a tea tray.
And of friendship.
And of God’s love.
And of hope.

I could say so much about what makes a true friend. How trust and love and good-heartedness towards each other are essential. How laughter and shared experiences, how encouragement and earnest counsel, how time and affection are all irreplaceable in a truly wonderful friendship.   All I need to do though, is tell you a few stories.

Today was not an easy day. Talking about anything would likely lead to tears, so staying quiet and going to church and coming home as quickly as possible seemed like the best plan.  I didn’t want to make a big deal of my grief—I just needed quiet and time with the Lord. Lots of quiet.

My family was so gracious, and tenderly left me to myself.

Around six o’clock this evening, I heard a knock on my door. Two of my sisters and my cousin had spent the afternoon baking, and they had brought me a beautiful tea tray full of my favorite tea, scones and cookies arranged sweetly.  Tea might be my love language, to be perfectly honest. Most of my friendships have been made over a cup of tea, poured fresh while sitting on my couch, or meeting at a coffee shop. It touched me deeply to see that my sweet friends (who happen to be family members) knew how I loved to show my love to others, and decided to speak my language to express their love to me.


I remember when I first started carrying my current heartache, how my dear friend Catherine drove me home from an evening out and snuck into my bedroom. When I went into my room after she had gone, I found eight full tissue boxes stacked together. The words pasted onto their fronts spelled out the quote  “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. Okay?” I have seen that quote daily for months, and her love so tangibly expressed (intertwined with the hope and practical comfort she offered) ministers to my heart every time.

In that gift, she told me it was okay to cry—a lot. She told me that she could see hope beyond my grief. She told me she loved me, and thought of me, and wanted me to heal. She told me she knew that my sad days would last a while, and that she was planning to be there for me through all of it. Moreover, the hope she offered is Biblical—all things will work together for my good. God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

“Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.'
You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
E.B. White, Charlotte's Web


The gift of companionship through difficult times is a precious one. It reminds us, in a visible, tangible way that we are not alone, and aloneness is a bitter feeling. If you are a friend who would love to be solace, one of the greatest gifts you can give is to listen. Hear your friend’s heart, and then find a way to show them that they are not alone.

“The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away.”
Barbara Kingsolver

Time does not serve to tell of my friends Corrie and Jamie and the Laurens and Sarah and my mother and Mrs. Puckett and my Daddy and Anna and Martha and Christen and Grace and my brother Josh and my littlest sister Meredith, and so many more, all of whom have shared my burdens and treated them as their own. Through letters, visits, notes, flowers, candy, listening ears, time spent, hugs, tears, and open hearts they have told me that they love me and I am not alone.


Of course, in all of this, they are reflecting the love of our Dearest Friend, Jesus. He’s the one who created us and knows our hearts. He alone knows for sure what we are bearing, because He alone can live inside us. Because of the Dearest Friend, I am not alone.

“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” 

In that, all of my friends, through their different expressions of love, have done one thing consistently and unanimously. Each one of these friends took me by the hand, and led me into Christ’s throne room. Through prayer and reminders of truth they have brought me into the Lord’s presence. That is, truly, the only place where true solutions can be found anyway.

In the end, I am not alone. I don’t have a chance, with such friends as these!

“There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.”

G. K. Chesterton

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7 comments:

  1. True friends "get it" when they haven't lived it. I love this post. xo xo

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  2. thank you for the reminders. I'm so glad you have friends like that! (And I'm very thankful I do too!) :)

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  3. I love you!!! and I love being paired with our pal Lauren to become "the Lauren's" ;) You are wonderful!!!

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  4. That's a beautiful post! I appreciated the whole series.

    I had just blogged along the same lines - the being a friend to someone with a long-term illness this week...and have another post coming the following week that's another example of ways friends have made an incredible difference in my life in the midst of the 'valley' I'm in at the moment. http://godhasnoproblems.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/f-faith-and-friends/

    It makes such a difference!

    By the way, all your Micah quotes on the side are a riot! I ended up following your blog because of Lauren's awhile back, but had missed this series so it had to have been just after you posted it. But I've always read via google reader, so I just saw them all when I actually clicked onto your blog directly. So, so cute! I hope you save all those for him for down the road!

    Know that I pray for you guys, even if it's taken me ages to actually come out of lurking and actually comment :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your prayers. Really, it means so much <3

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