I am tired, but I feel refreshed. A S.L.A.M. weekend always leaves me feeling this way. The four of us always laugh so much, stay up too late and eat too much. But, I come away from our time together encouraged and grateful. Sometimes, I even wonder how I was blessed with these great friends.
So many of you have been praying for Stephanie regularly, so I just want to say that she is doing well. Her new house is beautiful and completely decorated for Christmas. But, what is even more amazing is that her heart continues to be strengthened by her Heavenly Father. Just when I think she can't possibly demonstrate any more of His strength and power, she proves me wrong.
I will admit that when Stephanie's tragedy began to unfold, I was sad that I do not live close by so that I could help her. I have even been jealous to hear about how some of her friends in Hattiesburg have been a help to her on a daily basis. I want to be that close in proximity. I want to be the occasional rescuer.
But, tonight, I feel grateful for our absence from her daily life. It feels almost like we are able to be even more of a retreat for her due to the fact that we aren't associated with all that has gone on in Hattiesburg since January. I am so thankful for the way God has blessed our friendship.
As we sat around Steph's kitchen table last night, I experienced what it means to "weep with those who weep". That is all we could do as Stephanie talked about the struggles she faces in Jason's absence. It was so frustrating to have NO words of wisdom -- there were only tears. But, I was also completely encouraged knowing that these three will also be there when I am the one experiencing tragedy.
So, I was reminded this weekend that we were never intended to "do" life alone. Our God is a relational God, and He created us as relational people. Our first relationship should be with Him, our Creator and Sustainer. But, secondly we have people to lean on when life gets hard.
Now, for those of you that would like something specific to add to your prayer list, I have a few for you. Stephanie has already survived many firsts (her birthday, Jason's birthday, Thanksgiving, etc.) Their oldest daughter, Anna Lea, will celebrate her birthday on December 21st. She will be 7, AND she is going to be baptized that day. Obviously, this will be a happy day, but it is just going to be difficult. Then, there's Christmas. It seems like too much to bear, but my God has proven faithful to sweet Stephanie so far, and I don't imagine He's going to forget to be faithful now. Join me as I pray for these two events.
And, follow Steph's blog as I am sure she will be bragging on God's faithfulness as it concerns to the two events I listed above. I've never known her to be much of a bragger before, but she does love to brag on all that God is doing for her now. And, I love it!