I spoke at the “Bakersfield Gives Thanks” event on November 4th and the Women’s Club of Bakersfield was full of people from different denominations and cultures. I made new friends that night but it was a blessing to be reunited with old friends too.
In particular, I saw a mom whose children went to junior high and high school with my children. Nneka and I have seen each other throughout the years at school functions at our son’s tennis events. But this time when our eyes met, I had no words. I was overcome with emotion.
You see this was the first time I’ve seen her since her 15 year old son Nedu went home to be with the Lord last summer. My friend Nikki happened to capture the moment:
Typically when a friend loses a loved one, WE are the ones consoling, hugging, loving them through the grief.
However, that night I experienced and witnessed true healing. Nneka was consoling me!!
I remember looking at her and reaching out my arms to her.
I had no words. My ugly cry face in the photo above communicated how sorry I was for her loss of a son gone too soon.
She looked at me square in the eyes and exclaimed, “I know…I know….BUT GOD!” As tears filled my eyes, she said, “a year ago I would never think I could be here today….BUT GOD!” Tears could not stop flowing. With every breath I took, Nneka kept encouraging me, even saying…”it’s going to be okay…BUT GOD!”
As I sit here typing, I’m filled with emotion again.
What I’m learning on my journey of recovery is our trial isn’t going to last forever. The sting of hurt, in time, doesn’t affect us like it did on day one. Every story has a beginning, middle and an end.
Think about the end.
The end is what you’ll be telling your children. The end is what others who are wounded are most interested in. The end is what brings glory to our Lord.
I heard this quote from William Vanderbloomen, “Will I be healed up? Or damaged goods?”
We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our response to said circumstances when:
- Churches split.
- Children reject parents.
- Spouses betray.
- Friends move away.
- Life storms challenge our faith.
- Relatives misunderstand.
- We have to say goodbye to loved ones.
Some of us, like Joseph in the Old Testament, are victims of hardship and broken hearts. In the end, Joseph was found “healed up.”
If you are indeed a victim, my advice is to resist the temptation to have a pity party and welcome sympathetic hugs and words of agreement to your situation. The world welcomes an attitude of entitlement and culture teaches us to seek vengeance.
Pray to have a response such as my friend Nneka. Remember this earth is NOT our home and our response to devastating situations is an important testimony to those watching us live out our Christian walk.
Nnekas’ son, Nedu, left this earth at only 15 years old. No parent should out live their child. I know there were times when her weeping became unbearable and her heart literally ached…however her words, “But God!” reminded her and should remind us, God is in every circumstance of our lives.
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
2 Timothy 2:9
for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
That evening left me encouraged. I too want to be found like Nneka in the middle of life storms. She is living and moving forward in her new normal only via the grace and promises from our Lord.
Thank you Nneka for inspiring me, being a Godly example and reminding me of God’s undeniable healing power.
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