This year has been by far the hardest and loneliest I have ever faced. And believe me, I’ve faced some tough years! It has been such a place of complete annihilation and rebuilding. All I could do is look up and say, “LORD, are you there?” He always responded–and in ways that I never would have believed were possible…all signposts saying, “I love you. I am near. I am taking care of you.”
Giddy Up, Eunice Came Just in Time
So when I was asked to read and review my sweet friend Sophie’s book, Giddy Up, Eunice, I was so glad to do it. For I know and trust her heart…little did I know that I would be walking through such a seemingly DESERT time relationally–not DESSERT, that would have been more fun, I think. So reading a book about women of all ages and stages loving and caring for one another was a sweet balm to my soul, even though I felt alone in the journey.
You need to know this: what I felt and what was actually happening are different in this case.
So as I walked up that HUGE hill from Colorado to Texas, that actually went downward in altitude and upward in temperature and humidity, I think the reality is this. So much of what I hoped for did not happen. I did not SEE the fruit of our faith journey’s labor. Truth be told, I still have to squint to see even a glimmer of finding my place here, of being settled, of finding close friendships. But, as Sophie encouraged us to do, I started gleaning from the substance of the thing.
The Harvest is Not Yet Over
While I hoped to have a dear friend to come be near me physically in these 365 days, I really have only had short glimpses of such times. But, as Sophie says in her book, “Whether we mean to or not, we sometimes send the message that we value flash over substance, that we prefer spotlight over behind-the-scenes, that we crave fame over faithfulness…To some people it might not have seemed like much at all, but it was an abundance of riches…and the harvest wasn’t over yet.”
So here is what I gleaned…
There have been tens of witnesses to our journey, who have been quietly and secretly loving and caring for me. They saw me! Not many came very near physically, but in their own spaces, they sent to me graces. Those graces looked like a single flower on my porch, a gift card in the mail, an anonymous scripture and abundant provision in answer to prayers and our need. They looked like being invited to a Bible study, the movies, to lunch and even to mentor a lovely, young woman. The graces looked like friends, who called to pray with me. They looked like short and long responses to my posts on Facebook and other social media. The graces looked like patience with me, while I could not follow through on a promise, due to financial restraints. They looked like kindness in being invited along on a family’s vacation, so our kids could experience some fun this summer. Those graces looked like work that God provided through some really wonderful ways! They looked like money wired from England and a phone call to pray together over the miles. They looked like food sent home from various church gatherings–food that helped us financially those weeks. Also those graces looked like a friend, who went the extra mile to bless our oldest with an honor and a Texas flag–she poured oil on him to bless him and it DID! Those graces also came through messages, like Giddy Up Eunice, reminding me that the Lord put us in this together, and we need to stay in it! But most of all, those graces looked like a BATTLEGROUND of prayer on our behalf. If we only has eyes to see…
A Lifeline to Me
So even though friendships felt not near, it was better than that. It was truly LIFE to me and my family. I hoped for making one dear friend, and I ended up with several kindnesses and dearer friendships from a distance. That friendship came like a lifeline to my soul.
I will look back on this year, as a turning point to the depth of my care for others. I have found that I don’t need a permanent abode to abide in the Lord’s work and to glean good and abundant supplies from such a time! While the gleaning may not have been flashy or famous, we have witnessed firsthand miracles in provision and care from others–a richness that only comes from God. And the harvest isn’t over yet!
So, Giddy Up!
The best thing about Sophie’s book to me was truly walking in the footsteps of three sets of women in the Bible, paired together to walk some new and difficult ground. I love Sophie’s writing, for it is much like her speaking; it’s like she’s right there with you! And in her big ‘ol heart, she really is. I know she is praying for all who read this book. I love especially seeing with new eyes the three sets of stories and thinking, OH WOW, I have never thought of that before! Those are my favorite kinds of books–the ones that shed a fresh light on scripture and give me a much needed AHA moment that I will carry forever.
We are all growing in how to relate with other women–all of us. Some of us had sisters and close relations with other women, so it’s easy to do. Some of us, like me, were not trained well in this. So we have learned the hard way. But the wondrous thing about the Holy Spirit in us is that He is shaping a whole, new, healthy us to relate with others and to grow relationally! I thank God for the examples of godly women in my life, who have served as mentors to me in growing in love. Sophie is one of those.
So go and get her book today! It will bring out the best in you…and grow you, as well. Perhaps, it will even spark something new that God is doing in your midst. I have a feeling, it will!! Also you can read Sophie’s blog here. It is a TREASURE!!
I’ll write more soon about our family and where we are. It may be after school starts, but I will make it a priority.
Praying for you all!