In Friendship and In Life

My Facebook has been littered with posts and pictures of my friend Nicole and her newborn son Christian. When I met Nicole in high school, she was a little Gothic girl, and was oh so cute and sweet. I loved her then just as I love her now. She is naturally brave, smart, independent, self reliant, strong, and ever so beautiful-inside and out.

She began this journey of single motherhood in emotional turmoil which was present throughout her pregnancy. I have had the privilege and honor of being apart of her life to support her and love her and that baby. I have also had the blessing of meeting a few more members of her family and support system as well. It never ceases to amaze me how when called to a greater good, people come together. Be it with prayer, well wishes, cards, gifts, whatever the case, people make an effort to extend their hands for the betterment of those in need. I have seen that again throughout this time with my friend. I have seen it through the generous and loving gifts to her and from the heart felt prayers and concern of my friends and family.

This is a glimpse of what it looks like to share the love of Christ. Caring for other people. Looking out for one another's well being. Bringing meals to people (whether you know them or not), opening your home to one another, being available and open to help and listen, etc. I learned the hard way last March that while my heart might be in a place to do this, it is not always prudent to your doors to homeless while being a single mother. And yet even through that experience, God was there.

Crystal Lewis' popular song "Beauty for Ashes" has been immortalized in my mind since childhood.

I have a lot of ashes. I still wonder how God will create beauty from it. While he so clearly has crafted beauty in the everyday world we live in and in the every day life we breathe, there is a constant room for redemption. I don't know how my life will shift and turn and develop from here. Regardless of the uncertainty that I have faced over the period of my life, and there has been much, I have this foundation and steadfast trust in God. I don't doubt that God knows where I am headed. Whenever I feel uncertain, I just bring my uncertainty to God and I leave it there. Sometimes our lives have more questions than answers. I think that's okay. It doesn't mean we are "less arrived" in life. It means that we must trust. And I do.

I see my friend Nicole, and I see her joy. I see her natural ability and strength to reside in uncertainty with resilience. I can't help but be proud of her. I can't help but feel blessed to be able to be another person in her life that can support her and her family. No matter where we come from, no matter what ashes are that blows from our past, beauty will come because our redeemer lives. 

To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
— Isaiah 61:3
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
— Psalm 139:1-4