This has been a HARD thing for me to blog about….but I keep thinking if I get out my thoughts, through my fingertips….maybe I can get the images out of my mind.
LA…..we met when our boys were playing baseball when they were about 8. She had 2 kiddoes. Our boys are the same age and then she has a daughter the same age as my 5th son. I remember walking into the baseball park, finding Noah’s team, and then seeing this woman sitting on the top of the bleachers.
She had a little bob haircut and her hair was bleached blonde. She looked like a baby…way too young to have an 8 yr old and 3 yr old, at the time. She had on a white tshirt and ripped jeans. Sitting beneath her was this skinny fella with this awesome mustache and his brown haired wife. They were all smoking, loud, fussing at each other, laughing, cheering, eating. My 5th child took a liking to the brown haired lady and every time I turned around, she was giving him food. I would give Daniel a stern look and she would pipe up “don’t you fuss at that baby, he didn’t ask….he just looked hungry.”
The bleach blonde girl would cackle and I’d just roll my eyes thinking….she is my spirit animals. Rough around the edges, spirited, funny, family oriented and LOUD. We hit it off and began an intense friendship of discovery.
LA, through the lens that she saw my life as, was curious. She was asked a lot of questions about my life, about my marriage, my parenting, my faith. Her kids and my kids hit it off…..we all hit it off with her parents and her brother. It was fun, it was crass at times cause that is how the roll….in a vat of sarcasm and love.
We were friends for a total of about 10 yrs….through wonderful ups of leading her to Christ in the park and her dyeing my hair to the deepest of lows with alcohol, drug addiction, and mental illness. I have loved her through every moment, but there was a point where those moments consumed me, like a fire. I would stay up late, talking with her and trying my best to pull her into the light of healing. I was doing the job that Christ needed to do.
What I see now, on the backend of things is that when she fell…..she didn’t eat the bottom of the barrel….she hit my face. I so loved her and her children and family that I placed myself at the bottom of that barrel, so she never had that opportunity to see Jesus directly. She saw Him because she loved Him and was His child, but she did *see* Him in that face of darkness and despair. I wanted the control because I thought I could fix it all and make her better.
My husband had encouraged me to back away….not disappear, not to stop loving, not to stop praying, but I had to allow her to meet her Jesus and find her healing and wholeness in Him and not me. That was hard. I met some very dark days, as well. There were times she would need me and I would rearrange everything to go to her and love her and I would leave my kids and their issues behind.
It is sad to say that reprioritizing my life, submitting to my husband and what I know to be Scripturally correct was letting LA deal with things alone….without me swooping in to rescue her. My heart was good because I love her so very much and I love those babies so very much, but our friendship was in the way of her relationship with Jesus. I was a stumbling block.
As the years waned in and out….we would have good laughs at memories, we would catch up with the kids and she started becoming healthier in her mind and other areas. What proved to me that listening to Jesus was the right thing was when she called me up, out of the blue and said “I need you.” Mind you this was probably 8 or 9 years into our friendship. She wanted to come to the house…she needed me and I could hear in her voice the clarity and not that foggy voice of addiction….I told her to come and we would talk.
She walked up on my porch and the swirl of love and respect for each other encompassed us. It was like a minute had not gone by. She was clear eyed and had a clear voice and was so very strong. There was such a strength in her. She sat down, explained what was going on to Bart and me and we all just sat there and stared at each other thinking “oh crap….what is going to happen and how can we help.” She needed to talk about an issue with her precious son in a moment of foggyness and the love she had for that baby, regardless of the situation, was written all over her face.
She had forgiven, instantly the things that had happened and was prepared to do whatever she could to help her son get the help he need and she did. She fought a wonderful fight and she and her mom won. He received what he needed and though the situation was terrible…..in a stranger’s view….to her…….it was just a moment. A mistake. We all make them and he is no different and she loves and believes in him and his sister. I was so proud of her and her resolve. I think the only other thing that I was prouder of, was when she received Christ, but this one was a close second!
Now, to see my friend, so desperate, again and I was unaware this time. The phone call from her mom stopped my world from spinning. I honestly didn’t believe her until I heard her strong voice crack and I could hear her crying over the phone. Just typing and thinking about that sends this electric emotion through me and I can’t stop thinking of all the “what ifs”….my last image of my friend was looking at her beautiful face……so calm and sincere, while I brushed her freshly washed hair and braided it, while she lay on that table after she took her life.
I will never get those images out of my head. Ever. I will never forget hugging her mom….her son….her daughter…her brother. I will never forget. Never. As I washed her face, brushed her hair, painted her fingernails the perfect color of pink. I will never forget.
One moment of despair.
One moment of feeling alone.
One moment of being alone, physically.
10 seconds away from her mom and children.
Her life was over.
She met Jesus face to face.
You are NEVER alone.
God is ALWAYS with you.
You are LOVED beyond measure.
There is always joy to be found somewhere, even if it is so very small….there is still joy.
Please seek help from a counselor, the hotline, a pastor, a friend, a family member.
Please do not choose a path that leaves the family with so many unanswered questions and so much pain.
You ARE WORTHY.