I've heard it said... "Friends are the angels who lift us to our feet, when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."
I love this little quote. It reminds me of my sweet friends, and the encouragement they have been to me through this all. One thing I know for sure, I'm blessed beyond measure with such sweet friendships in this life.
I think of all the people I have known throughout my childhood to the present. I have so many precious people who have walked with me in this life. There is nothing like a friend who is there with you to walk through the good and the bad, the happy times and the sad.
Since the passing of my little Maddie Grace, all of my friends have been writing, calling and praying for me. I have received hundreds of cards and even more emails and inboxes. I'm so blessed by the words of each of you, and I can't express my gratitude for your kind words of encouragement. It has not gone unnoticed and it never will as long as I live.
So, on this Saturday, I was looking forward to a sweet reunion with some of my most precious friends.
About 10 years ago, when I left for Crown College,(scared and unsure) I found myself among a group of the best friends any girl could ask for.
I remember really asking God to bless me with some new sweet friends. After I got saved in high school at the age of 16, I lost many of my friends. I found it odd at first that they no longer wanted to hang out with me, but now I know it was because of my lifestyle change. I became a Christian and started going to Church. I no longer fit into the same mold as them, but the truth is, I didn't even want to fit into that mold anyway.
God changed me.
Now I look back and realize that if they were "truly" my friends, they would have loved and accepted the GOOD change in my life. Oh how we learn over the years...
When God saved me, he gave me a new life and a fresh start. I didn't want to waste a second of that away on silly things in high school. I was looking at the bigger picture and toward the future.
So, as I approached college, I wanted to make some new friends. I wanted friends who loved God and wanted to do right. I wanted friends who would lift me up and make me want to be a better person, not tear me down.
And boy, Did the Lord bless me.
I remember the day I stepped onto campus, I looked around and I felt SO very out of place. I thought every girl there was probably a Pastor's daughter or missionary's kid.
I was wrong.
Some of the girls there were just like me. There were many other girls who had just gotten saved as a teenager. There were other girls who didn't grow up in Church, but they were there, and ready for God to do something great in their lives... So was I.
That was the day I met three of my sweet friends. There are so many, but for today I want to mention, Kelsey, Tiffany and Heidi; 3 girls with hearts of gold who love the Lord.
I remember all my days and nights at College with them, cherishing their friendship. We made so many memories driving all around Knoxville in my fun blue Mustang. My mind wanders to sitting by the piano, as Heidi played and sang and we danced around being silly. I remember always asking Kelsey to play her violin and we sat and listened and sang together. Such sweet memories.
I have so many fun thoughts of us going out to dinner and our blondie bonding and cokes at Applebee's. I remember all those fun "go home" weekends when they came home with me because they were too far from their own houses. My parents would spoil us rotten and we just had so much fun together.
We have been in each others weddings, and now are walking through motherhood together. We have been through ups and downs, but have still remained the best of friends, almost 10 years later.
Oh, how thankful I am for these girls.
And on this day, I was so excited... Because I was going to see them.
Rick had recommended I make a trip down to Tennessee and spend some time with the girls while he was away. Since he would be in England, he wanted me to have someone to stay with me wile he was away.
Heidi was going to come in from North Dakota and meet me and then we would drive on to Tennessee. Tiffany would fly in from Texas and Kelsey would pick her up. Then the four of us planned to spend 4 days together in Knoxville at Kelsey's house.
The dates were convenient for everyone, and I was so thankful that it was working out so perfectly. I knew that my 3 best friends would cheer me up, as I was still grieving my little girl.
So as I was packing up, I was excited. I couldn't wait to reconnect with my 3 sweet friends from college who I met all those years ago. The girls who have stood my my side all this time.
I couldn't help but think that my sweet Maddie Grace was bringing us back together for this precious reunion. She has really had a way of helping people connect, that little girl of mine. =)
You see, since Tiffany and Heidi live so far away, they were not able to make it to Madeline's funeral, but they both wanted to get together with me and talk about my sweet girl. They wanted to learn all about her and they wanted to take time with me to remember her. I love them for that.
I think when you go through such a hard time, you just want your best friends around to cry with and laugh with. I truly believe it helps in the healing process.
So as Heidi picked me up that day and we drove to Tennessee, I couldn't have been happier. Finally, we would all be together again after all these years.
As we drove, Heidi and I laughed and cried (with the occasional disruption from my boys in the backseat) we chatted about love and life. We talked of what God had been doing in our lives and we talked of the impact my sweet Maddie Grace had made on us. We listened to good Godly music and wept to the words. It was so good to catch up. It felt like nothing had ever changed. She is such a blessing to me.
When we pulled in Kelsey's driveway, she had not returned yet from picking up Tiffany. We chatted with Tim, Kelsey's husband and thanked him for letting us have our "reunion" there... It takes a brave guy to house us crazy girls! Oh and my kiddos! =)
I was watching all of our boys run in the yard and burn off some energy, and I found myself feeling so blessed. What a joy that I can get away with such amazing girls and get my mind off things for a little while.
Once Tiffany and Kelsey pulled in the driveway, I was thrilled. Heidi and I ran out there like little school girls. We all four grabbed each other and held on tight.
So many, memories, so many years.
So much Love...
It was in that moment that I went back to my college campus thanking God for answering my prayer for sweet new friends. Little did I know, that they would be the kind that last for a lifetime.
I was able to pour my heart out to them about my sweet Maddie Grace, and they listened and cried with me. They felt for me and they still do.
I found myself alone with Kelsey for a moment thanking her for being such and encouragement to me and for all her helpful thoughts and words.
You see, Kelsey lost her sweet little girl Belle at 38 weeks pregnant. She was the first to be a Mom out of all of us, and when God called her little girl home, we were all so heartbroken. I remember the grace and strength God gave Kelsey in dealing with this tragedy and I remember thinking how strong she was. I could see God all over her and Tim's life. He was there holding them up at Belle's funeral, and He has been there ever since.
They displayed such courage through that time and I wanted her to know that I noticed it, and it touched me. Even more so now that I was going through a similar heartache. I also told her that I was sorry. I was so sorry that I stopped talking about her sweet daughter. Her sweet girl who I held, who looked just like her beautiful Mama. The little girl that we all looked SO forward to at her Baby Shower and leading up to her birth. I guess, since I wasn't a mother yet, and didn't truly understand the joy of being a parent, I just didn't know what to say. And as I have written before, I believe that it hurts worse to say nothing at all.
I'll never forget standing in her kitchen crying and holding each other, two best friends, two broken hearts. Still, we were thankful for our little girls. For we know they are together, and we WILL see them again one day. What a thought.
You never know what road you will walk down in life. Kelsey walked it before me and now she is helping me to walk down it too, along with Heidi and Tiffany.
We all now know what it means to be a mother, what it means to have a child. They bring joy and love that we didn't even know existed. These are the friends I had been missing all along. I'm so thankful God gave them to me. I was so glad I was there with them, sharing my heart.
The rest of our evening was spent catching up over cheese quesadilla's, coke and candy. =) There is nothing like these moments with best friends.
So as I found myself that night in Tennessee with three of the sweetest friends any girl could ask for, I found myself blessed.
So very blessed.
And I can't help but think that they will help me to find my wings again. And as the Lord is, they are helping to bear me up,
So I can REMEMBER how to fly.
What a blessing you find in your friends. I'm so very thankful for mine!