“Yep, I could hang out with you.”
I chuckled at my new friend’s words. We’d just met a few weeks ago and our families were having lunch for the first time. She seemed so confident in our budding relationship.
When my husband and I had moved cross-country nearly a year ago, I was pregnant with our first child. So my friend and I talked about babies as my belly bulged beneath the table. I was due the following month and the idea of welcoming a newborn with no family nearby terrified me. With newfound hope, I exchanged phone numbers with my friend before hopping into my vehicle and vowed to call her soon.
But a month later when the baby came, I was thrown into the world of unfamiliar. The promise of a friendship was forgotten.
As we journey through life, there are certain seasons when God gives us someone who pursues us. Even when you don’t want to be pursued, they simply show up, say, “I’m here,” and they do not take “no” for an answer.
During those first few months as a mom, that is exactly what God did. The days following my delivery were some of the most difficult in my life. After an emergency c-section, my grandmother died. And I can remember crying on my night nurse’s shoulder and marveling at her compassion.
I tried to care for my newborn, mourn, and take care of myself all at the same time, but I was drowning. I sank into a depression that I thought would never end. In the midst of it all, there were nights when I had no energy to pray anything other than a simple, “Help me.” But God seemed distant and unreachable.
I rarely left the confines of our rancher as I navigated my new roles as a wife and mother. I felt as though I was failing miserably at both.
One September day I was doing housework in a zombie-like state when I heard a knock at our door. It was past noon, and I was still in my pajamas. I debated on whether to answer it. When I finally did, I found my new friend standing there with her two kids on either side of her. She held a bag of homemade treats in one hand and her daughter’s tiny fingers in the other.
It takes a special kind of person to see past the blinders of the everyday and notice what’s in the peripheral.
My friend knew I needed her even though I didn’t. Her smile was contagious. She was not going to leave until I let her inside. She didn’t care that I was still in my PJs. She didn’t care that I looked like Night of the Living Dead.
After feeding the baby while I rested, she insisted that we go for a walk. I came outside into the brisk fall air for the first time in days and drank it in. It was exactly what I needed, and I hadn’t even realized it.
Sometimes it’s only in hindsight that we can look back and see the mercies of God. With new perspective we see his hand through a friend reaching out and a word of encouragement received when we needed it most.
Even though I continued to be a recluse after that day, my friend kept showing up. She introduced me to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), brought me to Bible studies and didn’t give up on me.
Little by little, I came out of the darkness and embraced the Light. And the more I reached out and embraced the community of moms around me, the more I realized I wasn’t alone. I saw that through our shared weaknesses and struggles, we carry each other.
Through those moments, when we throw off the façade of perfection and embrace the real, God reaches down and says, “I’m here.”
Related: Gift a friend this beautiful necklace, called Summer Orchard, from Village Artisan and help write a global story of change for women in Northern India—a story of hope, dignity, and empowerment.