Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sisters Through Sunshine and Storms

Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. ~ Romans 12:15, AMP

I spoke with a girlfriend the other day who had just gone through a difficult medical episode with her daughter.  She knew that when the family was finally in the recovery phase, everything would hit her -- the exhaustion, the stress, the sorrow.  Yet, she still had the ability to cope because of the support of a close circle of moms whose children all had a similar diagnosis.

My friend recounted for me that lost, frightened feeling we all feel when our babies are young and newly diagnosed.  She described how helpless it felt until she found these other women, who ultimately became lifetime friends, traveling the same journey.  What a relief those friends are now, so many years later!

Words to describe this type of relationship are hard to grasp; the deep comfort of knowing other parents this way is better described with that glance of experience and a head nod.  I think of all the other parents I have walked this bumpy road with for almost 13 years.  I can still see the moms at the Madison Zoo, fawning over the little "baby hemo", our sweet son, whose life seemed so horrifyingly fragile to us in those first few months.  Some from that original bunch are still the ones I turn to when there is a new episode that I am unfamiliar with.  When I am upset with the doctors, I compare notes with these other moms.  And our shared gallows humor surely gives us buoyancy as we work through our frustrations.

Even closer are the camp moms whom I spend an entire week with each summer.  Not only do we know the diagnoses and battles each of our children bear, but we are familiar with one another's souls.  Spending those years of laughing, crying, learning, getting outside of our comfort zones together, and spending time as a group in God's word makes our bond particularly meaningful.  Some of these fellow sojourners are the first to show up with meals if there is a hospitalization or share candid conversations about faith battles that we all face.  Like our most comfortable worn shoes, there is an unmatchable ease in our interaction.  These friends are instantly close no matter how much time may have kept us apart.

I know that my husband has a few relationships like this as well.  When we go to a hemophilia conference or event, the fathers share a deep understanding of the stress they each face.  But when my husband attends his bi-weekly men's Bible study with other special needs dads, there's an even deeper bond as they each seek to walk with the Lord in the context of their fatherhood.

My heart breaks for the parents who haven't cultivated relationships like this.  God made us to be relational beings, for which I am incredibly grateful.  Yet, I know so many live in isolation because they don't know there are others out there just like them.  Knowing this feeds my passion to serve other parents with love.  I don't know how I would survive one day on this journey without the Lord and the wonderful people He has put into my life.  He strengthens me continually with these blessings.

If you have relationships like this, carefully nurture them, and thank God for them.  If you lack relationships like this, seek them out, and know that the Lord has designed them as His best for you.  We were made, in part, for that warm human connection.  The Holy Spirit surely works through those healthy friendships to edify us through the sunshine and the storms.

PRAY:  Oh, Lord, thank you for Your plan to end our isolation.  You did not make us to journey alone.  Thank you for friendships past, present and yet to come. 

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog and your posts. You are an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing and caring. :)