Alexis is one of the sweet friends that I made while I was in Texas. (I mentioned her in the recaps.)
Tonight, I am just so, so thankful for her and the fact that we were able to spend 35+ minutes on FaceTime. I had texted her about some of the stuff I have coming up this week, and when she said that she wished she was here to give me a hug and pray with me in person, I asked her if we could have a phone/FaceTime prayer session, and it was a bigger gift than either of us could have predicted.
Before that conversation, I knew she was a friend, but after it, I knew she was a true sister. She sat patiently and listened to me share my heart and didn't think any less of me when I told her I didn't really know what to say to God right now. We laughed when I said I loved her and she responded, "You beat me to the punch!" It was just so precious to have a face right in front of me (albeit through my phone screen) to remind me that I am not alone and that people all over are walking with me and praying for me through every step of this journey I am on. I honestly couldn't even tell you everything that I shared with her. I was so caught up in the conversation and the feeling of the presence of the Lord between us that I poured out whatever came to mind.
One thing I do remember, though, is telling her about the prayer that Bryce gave Tuesday night, and how several of my friends have told me how they have seen Christ in me during all of this and how knowing me has helped point them back to the Lord, and how it so often just baffles me that the people who love me, like Bryce and Austin and even her, Alexis, see so much good in me when I feel like a total disaster. How I have such a hard time not focusing on my shortcomings despite being surrounded by so much encouragement and love and people whom I know are a clear manifestation of how actively and proudly and fiercely God loves me. That was when my jaw (figuratively) hit the floor.
Alexis then shared with me the impact that our time together in Texas had on her. She told me how God used our simple conversations to get her back where she knew she needed to be but had been running from. And my mind was just blown. If she hadn't bravely shared that with me, I never would have guessed that our connection had helped her in such a deep way. What she had to say reminded me of something another friend asked me one day - if I would still be grateful for my life if I had no idea it helped people, if no one had ever told me what God had done for them through me. And my answer now is still what I told that friend then...I don't know. Ever since the night that I begged God to show me that the medical traumas I'd been through had a purpose, I have felt that purpose being revealed to me in the people who share information with me about how God has used me to help them. It's stories like that that keep me from wanting to completely give up on this life, that pull me out of the low place when I'm screaming at God "PICK SOMEBODY ELSE!" While yes, I have grown so much in learning where my identity is and letting God carry me through life and not relying on other people for any of that, there are still quite a few days that remembering God has used me and my life to help others that is just about the only thing that helps me to be okay with it. It helps me not to be angry towards God and regretful about the life that He gave me. I want to be used for His Kingdom. Thinking of all the people who say that I have helped them keeps me focused on my purpose as a child of God. It makes this mess make sense. But I guess there's still a lot I have to do in fixing my perspective.
While I know and fully believe that God is everything and that He is enough all by Himself, I also fully believe that I could not survive without the family I have around me. Maybe that's wrong of me, but these people? My Reformation brothers, my other school friends, my church family, my Texas family, my blog friends. They are my lifelines. They are the encouragement I need to keep clinging to God when nothing makes sense and every other option in the world seems easier. They are the ones who faithfully and patiently point me back to the God who saved me, no matter how many times I need to be reminded of it. Just as they say that my faith has taught them and inspired them, I hope and pray that they know they teach me and inspire me every single day with every conversation.
I've said it a million times, and I'll say it every day for the rest of my life: we weren't meant to do this life alone. And I am immeasurably blessed that I no longer have to.