It has been a long time since I have cried for someone else.....well, until yesterday.
I can remember crying for Zachary when he was a day old and the nurses came into our room every few hours to jab his foot with a needle to draw blood. (The worst part being that they would warm his foot first with a heating pad and then WHAM!) I remember crying for my Granny when the love of her life - my Papa - died. I remember crying on each anniversary of September 11 for all the loved ones left behind.
I cry for myself plenty but how often do I really cry and pray and hurt for someone else?
I reconnected with a friend through Facebook about a year ago. We met on a mission trip when I was 17 years old. We spent the summer in Israel helping with projects at a school there. When we found each other on Facebook, I noticed that her kids were similar ages to mine. As most of you reading this know: when you find a mom whose kids are the sames ages as your own - there is a connection.
So, even though I have not seen my friend in 15 years, I do feel a connection. The summer that we spent together was life-changing for me. And she was a part of it. That, combined with our parallel lives, keeps us connected.
She is in a terrible amount of physical pain. You can read her story at http://www.jillrees.blogspot.com/ . I won't go into detail but because of her pain and weakness she has not been able to be the wife and mommy that she very much wants to. She had brain surgery a few months ago. The doctors thought this would fix the problem. It didn't. She had another surgery last week. It didn't work. The doctors don't know what to do any more. All she can do is lay flat on her back.....in pain. And watch other people take care of her children.
I just ache for her. For a while, I have been avoiding reading her husband's updates on her health. As if not knowing makes it less real. Yesterday, I let myself really FEEL for her. And it brought me to a place I have not been to in a long time. I cried out to God and begged for her healing. I just plain cried. The tears just kept coming.
In the last year, two women (friends of friends) who were my age, who had kids - babies, toddlers and preschoolers - like me - have died. I just cannot even comprehend this. Their kids will now grow up without their mamas. And now my friend is in a place that only God can get her out of.
I know that God is sovereign. I know that He has a reason and purpose for everything. I will never know the mind of God. I will never understand why bad things happen to good people. But I will trust in what I do know.
I know that God is good and loving and all-knowing and that nothing happens without Him allowing it. I know that God knows pain. I know that the troubles that we experience in THIS world do not even compare to the sweet glory that He is preparing for us in Heaven.
I love how The Message paraphrases Matthew 15:
"After Jesus returned, he walked along Lake Galilee and then climbed a mountain and took his place, ready to receive visitors. They came, tons of them, bringing along the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed, the mute - all sorts of people in need - and more or less threw them down at Jesus' feet to see what he would do with them. He healed them. When the people saw the mutes speaking, the blind looking around, they were astonished and let everyone know that God was blazingly alive among them."
I love that! I am so thankful that I serve a God who is still "blazingly alive!" I know that my God heals.
It hurts when we let ourselves really care for other people. To feel another persons pain is painful. But I know that this is what God wants me to do. It is His command.
Jesus said, "Love others as well as you love yourself." (The Message Matthew 22:39)
As I cried for my friend yesterday, I was "loving her as well as I love myself." To look outside myself is something I need to do much more often. A tiny part of me was changed yesterday.
3 days ago