A friend of mine is walking through a really hard season right now. Her boyfriend is facing a terminal illness and she is his sole caregiver. She confided in me about how exhausted she was and how her body was growing weary from the daily grind of tending to him emotionally, mentally and physically. But she felt her own exhaustion failed greatly in comparison to his physical pain. How often do we do that? Compare our pain to someone else’s and belittle our own needs? I encouraged her to make sure she is taking care of herself in this season, otherwise how can she possibly be there to care for him? She nodded but was at a loss as to how that could possibly happen when it is just her and he is in need of so much. One thing she said in our conversation was that “life will never be the same with him again”. Regardless of the outcome of this diagnosis, their 15 year relationship will never be the same. It’s so odd to me how suddenly life can change things in that way. We can grow comfortable in our season because day in, day out, it is the same. And then something happens. And it is never the same again. It doesn’t matter if that something is good or bad, because we have grown accustomed to what was for so long, we will still need to transition to the new. We will still need to learn how to interact and function in this new.
I was spending time with a college friend last night. She and her hubby were in town and it had been years since we last connected. I was so blessed by their fellowship and their focus on me. They have a well-known ministry and I’m sure are used to so much of the focus being on them in their various settings and relationships. I could tell they were determined to make sure they did not consume our time together as they prayed over me and asked intentional questions about me. It confirmed so much to me that to the Lord I am a whole person. For so long I kept finding my identity in another person but now He is showing me, there is just Him. I said as much when the questions came about my love life. For some, relationships are a good thing, but for me, there is work that needs to be done.
I had flashbacks on the way to meeting my friends last night and I realized how much I had changed and grown in the various times we had met up. God has taken me from one place to the next in my awareness of my true self and in my character and emotional development. I’m grateful for His faithfulness. I was also encouraged to know that this very friend I was meeting was someone whom I had previously been distanced from, but God restored. In our immaturity we became divided, but God reconciled. I am reminded of other relationships He has done that with and I am encouraged that He could do it again. Even with relationships that had a very long season.
And then things happened.
And everything changed.
Life seems to be a process of brokenness, healing and recovery. I can see these patterns in my life and finally have understanding as to why they have occurred. It is like in the 2nd Hunger Games Movie when they realized the pattern and were then able to outsmart their enemy. I know that is why God has shown me the pattern. So I can be more effective in my warfare.
I also shared with my friends last night that periodically I check on my mom and ask her if she is ok with not having grandkids right now. We have done all the weddings and baby showers together and the only thing I could offer her friends was an invitation to my book signing earlier this year. But she has been so supportive and puts no pressure on me at all. I know that for her, being a single parent, I have already surpassed her dreams. Having an advanced degree and being a published author are pretty remarkable in her eyes. And I know, she just wants my next relationship to be healthy and healing for me.
I couldn’t agree more.