I have an amazing friend who is a radiant reflection of Jesus.
We met years ago.
Her quiet confidence and hope caught my attention as she walked the long road of waiting for a child. God answered many prayers and brought a beautiful baby boy into her loving arms just a month after my son was born.
It was bringing our infants together that began our friendship. We would meet for a library story time together in those early months into our journey of motherhood. There were play dates with trains that littered the floor. There were adventures with little hands that held paper bags full of collected outdoor treasures.
We shared our hearts and encouraged one another as our boys grew.
One day, she casually mentioned having a headache that wouldn’t go away. Countless tests, various medications, treatments, a Mayo clinic trip, additional varieties of compounding physical symptoms, and five years later she has not experienced any relief. Not for one single day.
But, every day, she does her best to love and care for her family. She pushes through the pain and discomfort in ways that I can’t even fathom. She makes others a priority. Her hands touch and bless in even the simplest of acts.
She would never tell you it’s easy, but she is a living example of what it is to “count it all joy when you meet trails of various kinds” (James 1:2). Even in a transparent moment while confiding, she does not complain. Her faith and trust that God has a good purpose for the suffering is ongoing. Her humility is incredible. She does not boast of the strength, dignity, or perseverance she must practice each day. In fact, her focus is not on her at all.
If you have the privilege of spending time with her, you will discover that she asks good questions. She listens well. You leave knowing that she truly cares. When she is the one who might need the most encouragement, she gives it away.
When our family moved, her husband kindly played messenger boy as he relayed stories back and forth. Talking on the phone, watching videos, listening to a lot of audio, or focusing on screen or paper is challenging for her so it’s the best way to communicate.
You might imagine my surprise when, shortly after we had moved here, I opened our mailbox and found a handwritten letter from my friend. It would be the first of several letters and cards. I have shed tears over every one because they are an amazing act of love. No one else I know has a better excuse to let our friendship fall to the wayside, but she intentionally continues to lay down her own needs for the sake of others.
I am grateful for her example. People that lead as she does leave lasting impressions in the lives of others. I learn from her as a Christ-follower, woman, wife, mom, and friend not because she is perfect, but because she actively loves the One who is no matter what.
Annette, you are a beautiful instrument of God’s grace and love. You exemplify what it is to praise in the storm and not let go of hope. Though the road is long and hard, know that God is using you to make a difference. Thank you for blessing me with your unwavering friendship.
I am a life that is changed.