The other day I was thinking about friends and what a blessing they are.
It's so hard to see friends going through trials, especially all at the same time.
Sometimes I don't even realize how much I allow myself to "take on" the burdens of those near and dear to me until I begin to feel crushed by the load and then take stock (aka "sit down and write a blog post") and discover why I'm so pooped.
In the last few weeks I have seen my friends go through so much! One of my friends delivered twins, beautiful little girls, naturally, both sunny-side-up, no drugs! She has little help and lives on a ranch an hour from town and the twins doubled the number of her kids! Another two friends had twin baby girls this spring (what's in the water here in WY?) and are both juggling their new babies as well as 3 older kids too. A friend from church has had to have ANOTHER back surgery this summer. She has endured 3 or 4 back surgeries and a decade of excruciating pain and has 3 young kids to care for. Another friend with 4 kids just had gallbladder surgery and had some serious complications. I have a friend dealing with the difficulties of being married to a non-believer. I have several friends whose husbands are away from home most of the time doing jobs in other towns or states. I have a friend who moved away and is struggling with loneliness and being over-worked with little support. I have a friend planning a wedding (which I get to be in, yay!) I have friends dealing with depression/discouragement and relationship issues, whether with their husbands or with their roommates, and others who are just too busy and have too much going on but don't know how to stop the crazy cycle.
I have two friends struggling to get pregnant and three friends whom are pregnant and very uncomfortable! One of my dearest friends moved a couple of weeks ago, and a different friend moved into her old house! Another is contemplating a move and a possible time of living apart from her husband due to the move. I have a friend who is caring for her second preemie baby and pumping milk around the clock as well as caring for her 4 other children. I have friends who are going through financial hardship or have had major disappointments (house sale that fell through), and other friends who do not know the Lord and desperately need His hope. I have a friend, who along with her husband and the 3 little foster kids they are adopting, had to be evacuated out of her CO home for 2 weeks due to forest fires. I have one friend whose town flooded. I have friends who have gone through divorce, and some who are remarrying. Friends who are worried about their adult children and the choices they are making. Friends who have to work a job or run their own business on top of caring for their children and home.
I have friends, who tragically, have been the victims of abuse in their past or who have seen their children abused and are walking through the healing process with them. I have friends who have more children than I do and mother with grace and truth. I have old friends and new friends; friends who know the ugliest things about me and still hang out with me, and friends that only see the surface and think my life looks pretty great. I can't even get on fb anymore and read my news feed because I see so many needs, or people discouraged and hurting, struggling with life's hardships.
But in all the difficulties, I see so much beauty in my friends. I see the stamina and strength of these beautiful women. There is not a one of them that doesn't have some amazing quality that is shining through in the midst of all their trials and difficulties. They all work so hard and are carrying such an enormous load. I'm amazed by these women and encouraged that God gave me exactly what I needed when I first moved back to my hometown and found that all of my high school friends had moved away. He brought me out of my loneliness and providentially brought all of these women into my life at just the right time that we would be a comfort to one another. I'm amazed at the variety of friends God has given me; from super-organized to super-messy, from ultra-conservative to totally secular, from friends who hardly speak my language (Lupe, my friend from Mexico) to friends who have a life almost identical to mine (2 girls, 2 boys, loving hubby, into health food and women's ministry, etc.), friends who I see almost everyday and friends I only know through blogs and facebook.
Sometimes it frustrates me that I can't do more for my friends. I wish I could spend regular time with each of these precious persons. I wish we could have more conversations that are not interrupted 50,000,000 times by little ones. I wish I could make each of them a delicious home-cooked meal and take their kids off their hands for a few hours. I wish I could send each one of them a gift card for dinner at a restaurant.
But I can't. I can't save the world. I can't rescue everyone. The Lord knows that I often try to do so and burn out quickly! And since having Katri, I can rarely find the motivation to get a card in the mail anymore. But, what I can do is pray. I pray for them, feeble and broken and unworthy of having my prayers answered. I pray that God touches each one of them, because He's the only one who can get through to them in the perfect way, at just the right time. He's the one that can give them peace, bring strength in their trials, and provide for their needs. He's the one that can change their hearts and lift their discouragements. I pray today that He uplifts each one of these dear women, provides for them, lavishes His love on them, and gives them the strength to go on!