God is Faithful

Today is one of 2 days a year, that I really take the time to think about someone who was like a sister to me.  Today is Lori’s birthday.  Lori, was my best friend for 14 years, she went to heaven just about 10 years ago… she had cancer.  Every April 3 and September 12, I post something, I’m not trying to make anyone else sad, and for the most part sadness isn’t what I feel… it’s grief, in it’s many forms.  Some years I’ve wondered what people will, think, most years, (here’s a shocker) I don’t care what people think.  Each year has in fact gotten progressively easier for me… except this year, in which I feel like I’ve taken a nose dive.

You see, Lori and I talked about Mark and me going into missions.  We dreamed about what it would be like for me.  And here I am, and there, she’s not.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a slew of friends cheering me on, please don’t stop!  I have my Breakfast Club Girls who have banded with me through thick and thin, and believe me I never take this for granted, they check on me, they send me gifts, they support me over the sea, 4,300+ miles away, it’s incredible!  And yet… some how there’s a hole.  I don’t feel it everyday, so much has happened without her, it’s been 10 years… but the days that I do feel it, it always shocks me, because I, in some ways, feel like I should be past this.  I’ve had enough loss, and I’m introspective enough to know, it’s just not true.

When we love deeply, we miss deeply.  And that’s okay.  Today, would have been Lori’s 50th birthday, that’s a biggie!  We never dreamed this far together for her. In reality, at the end, she just wanted to make it to 40, and she did.  And her beautiful friend, Tracie, threw her an amazing party so we could all celebrate her together.  I don’t know if it’s the “50” that has me emotional today, or what but…

Today, I re-read what i wrote, and shared at her funeral.  I talked about what an amazing person she was, but then I talked mostly about what she would want me to talk about…

God is Faithful.  

He was faithful to, in and through her.  And, He continues to be faithful!  I realize that God uses lessons from our lives to help us grow.  I actually think, I grieve pretty well. (Thanks for coming along for the ride 🙂 )  I let myself feel, I express by feelings to the Lord, and together, the Lord and me, we process… and hopefully, I grow.  He shows me his faithfulness, by providing people to speak into my life, and be my friends, and grow together.  And you know what I’ve really learned, instead of shutting down and not letting anyone in, I’ve opened myself up, because what I’ve learned is that we can help each other.

Here in Barcelona, I’m at an international church, and people come and go, because that’s just the way it is over here… job transfers, semester study abroad… whatever it may be, a lot of people are not here permanently.  And I could choose to not embrace those people because I know they’ll only be around for a short time, or I can jump in with both feet, and be a friend for the time that I have with them.  It is sad to see them go.  But my life has been made so rich by the people who I’ve let in.

Letting go, it’s hard, it’s sad, it’s the price we pay for love.  

One thing that I hold dear is the last meaningful conversation I had with Lori, which took place exactly a week before she went to heaven.  I had just finished cleaning up for a wedding I had helped decorate for, and there were flowers and desserts left over, so, I took them to Lori.  We stood in her kitchen and talked for an hour.  In retrospect, I don’t know how she had the strength.  We talked about many things, but what our conversation boiled down to that day was that she was most likely going to die soon, and I was going to go on living.  I told her that I felt so guilty, and she said, “You have so many things to do.  Go and do what God called you to do! I’m excited for you.”  At one point I told her that she had fought this battle hard, and that it was okay with me, if she wanted to go meet Jesus face to face.

To live is Christ, to die is gain.

I love to think of this conversation between me and her, because it truely exemplifies our friendship.  Always wanting the best for each other, and always pointing each other back to Christ.  

I said many times that I would never have another friend like her, that would do that.  And while no one will ever replace her.  I’ve actually found that my opening my heart to others, I actually have several friends that will allow me to be me, and speak truth and life into me the way that she did.  Which again proves that GOD IS FAITHFUL.

P.S.  If you want to read my tribute to Lori, you can read it here…