20150501-McDonald-Hindsight

“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.

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  • Anna

    What a beautiful gift from the LORD. His heart pours out of this story through your friend’s actions and presence alongside you through such a hard time. Thank you for sharing such an encouraging story, also reminding me to keep my eyes open to bless other Mums around me.

    • Abby

      Amen, Anna. She was, and continues to be, a gift from the Lord and I thank God he brought her into my life to get me through a difficult time. Thanks for visiting today.

  • http://www.fatherswap.com Kia Stephens

    Abby, your last line is so beautiful. “Through those moments, when we throw off the facade of perfection and embrace the real, God reaches down and says, “I’m here.” May it be our anthem dare to be genuine and real women of God.

    • Abby

      Amen, Kia. Praying this alongside you today. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  • Sabra Penley

    What a beautiful story of love and friendship, Abby! It makes me ask myself, “Do I see what others are going through?” “Do I take the time to offer a little of myself and a lot of the Lord to bring some light into another’s life?” It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all my stuff that I miss wonderful opportunities to make a difference in the lives of those around me. Thank you for this encouraging message!

    • Abby

      Me too, Sabra. These are important questions to ask ourselves. I pray I am the woman who sees and reaches out. Thanks for your kind words today!

  • Kristi Woods

    Why, hello Abby. What a fabulous way to start the day, reading your post here on (in)courage. Your friend, what a gem she is. Some of the best friends seem to be the ones who press in, through our closed doors, like your friend. I thank God she was available to you during such a tough time.

    • Abby

      Me too, Krisit. God is amazing, isn’t he? So glad we crossed paths in the blogging world. Thanks for your encouragement, dear friend.

  • Kim S

    “we carry each other” ~ LOVE seeing your post here today, sweet friend!!!! Kim Stewart

    • Abby

      Blessed to be here, Kim! Thank you, sweetie. :-)

  • Jodie Dye

    I’m getting ready to move too and to be honest I fear not knowing anyone, so your post encourages me that God has in mind already who He is going to connect me with. Nice story Abby.

    • Abby

      Yes he does, Jodie! I have seen this time and time again. Sometimes it takes a while for those friendships to develop, but God is faithful. Praying for you on your move. Blessings to you.

  • http://ChasingHoliness.com/ Brenda

    Simple yet profound…”We carry each other”. Love that, Abby.
    So happy to see you here today. :)
    Lovely post, thank you for sharing.

    • Abby

      I’m learning the importance of community more and more each day, Brenda. What an awesome God who gives us others to carry us during those tough times. Thanks for being here today.

  • KristinHillTaylor

    “It takes a special kind of person to see past the blinders of the everyday and notice what’s in the peripheral.” –> I love this so much. I pray I can be that kind of friend to people around me. And I LOVE seeing your share here. xoxo

    • Abby

      Me too, Kristin. That is my prayer today. Thank you for your encouragement today, friend.

  • http://faithspillingover.com Betsy Cruz

    What an amazing gift your friend was, Abby! Thanks for sharing a story today that so many women can relate to. Beautiful writing, friend. Yep, sometimes it’s only in hindsight that we can look back and see the mercies of God. Love that. Funny. I read that Kristi started her day reading this, and I’m ending mine. Was just about to close my computer when I saw this. So glad I did. :-)

    • Abby

      So glad you stopped by today, Betsy, and yes she was a gift. Have a wonderful evening and thanks for your encouraging words, dear friend.

  • http://www.simplyforone.net/ Tiffany

    It’s amazing how God can write our name on someone’s heart and then nudge them toward us, all at the perfect moment. There aren’t words to describe His goodness, but you’ve done a beautiful job capturing it here, Abby. May we all be “that” friend who follows His lead and reaches out. So glad to see you here and so blessed that we get to be recipients of His light that shines in you.

    • Abby

      Thank you for making me smile today, Tiffany. We are all his Light bearers. May we shine for Him, all for his glory. Blessings to you, sweet friend.

  • Kristine Brown MTY

    Right on, Abby. Love persistent friends! I had my son right after we moved to a new state, as well. I fell into that SAME funk, and didn’t even realize it. It was truly a struggle, so I can identify with your story completely. I pray that I can by that type of friend to someone, too:)

    • Abby

      It is HARD, Kristine. We moms need community. I pray I can be that type of friend too and that the Spirit will open my eyes. Thanks for visiting today.

  • Doris Swift

    True friends are so important, and what a blessing for God to send the
    right friend at the right time. So enjoyed this post Abby, and can
    certainly relate! Love your reminder of peripheral vision. Thanks for
    sharing this experience.

    • Abby

      Oh yes, Doris. I am so thankful for all of the friends who stuck with me, even when times were tough. They are a true gift! Thank you for visiting today. Have a great weekend.

  • http://www.echoesofmyheart.com Katie Reid

    So happy to see you here again Abby. Beautiful reminder to be that kind of friend for others. Thank you!

    • Abby

      Blessed to be here, Katie! Thanks for your encouragement, friend. :)

  • Beth Williams

    Abby,
    What a great story! Reminds me of a family that “adopted” me when I moved for college. They brought me dinner my first night alone. Invited me over for dinner often, took me out to eat, etc. I will always remember them and their kindness. Now I try to do that with others! If God brings someone to mind-then I immediately try to do some kindness for them-usually without asking.
    Blessings :)

    • Abby

      Thank you for sharing a bit of your story, Beth. What a blessing that family was! I love how God communicates his heart for us through those special friends who reach out.

  • http://www.carmenhorne.com Carmen Horne -carmenhorne.com

    “my friend kept showing up” May God remind me in my busy life to keep showing up. I want to be that kind of friend. Loved this Abby!

    • Abby

      Amen, Carmen. Let his Spirit open our eyes to see those who need us. Thanks so much for visiting, friend.