Sunday, May 08, 2016

Unexpected Friends

It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Yes, prior to this there had been heartaches and discouragements and really, really hard days. But even in the midst of pain and questioning there was always an undercurrent of assurance, of blind faith as it were that God had it all under control.
This time was different. When the dark clouds enveloped my mind, the weakness and tears came and the feeling of being utterly out of control and alone overwhelmed me. After eighteen years of infertility and the joy of adopting and raising five children for the past fourteen years, the unexpected gift of pregnancy had brought our family the sweetest baby boy. Yet I was paralyzed with concern for his safety and that of my other children. World news such as the terrorist attacks on Paris undid me. For a short while I feared sleep because of the terrible dreams that would come.
Never in my life had I felt so small and frail. In an effort to seek help, I posted a simple question to Facebook asking for suggestions to deal with the “baby blues.” Responses quickly came in publicly and by private message. To my surprise, I was far from the only one who had experienced this devastating anxiety post-partum. Sincere words of support and prayer lifted my spirits across cyberspace. Some of these were from friends I had not seen in years, ones with whom I maintained only a sporadic contact. What a blessing their encouragement was to me, especially those who took it upon themselves to write me regularly just to check in and offer their continued prayers.
The gift of “unexpected friends” was most certainly from God. A decades-old song came to have deeper meaning for me during those difficult days and weeks:
Unexpected Friends
When the dark closes in so hard
I can hardly see
And the walls of my fortress of faith
Crumble in on me
when it seems like the end
not a measure of strength to spend
I feel the arms of a stranger rescue me

With some unexpected friends
Never asking where I have been
Just a hand of mercy and words of love
Call me back again
Oh, it feels like home 
With unexpected friends

A soothing balm for the wounds
I suffer along the way
A fervent prayer giving courage
And hope for another day
Through the help of my friends

Ones I may never see again
Seems like angels that were
sent by heaven for me

With some unexpected friends
never asking where I have been 
Just a hand of mercy and words of love
call me back again
Oh, it feels like home
With unexpected friends
How thankful I am that a number of these women were also women in ministry. Rather than add to my burden with the expectation some might have that a “missionary” wife should be able to keep it together, they transparently recounted their own struggles. They did not preach to me but rather in gentleness and kindness reached out and shared with me their own hard-earned wisdom and faith. I pray I will have the opportunity to one day do the same!
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

No comments: