Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Power of Friendships

The past week and a half has not been all that good for me. Between five days of stomach issues that I'm still not sure whether it was a virus or a reaction to medication, then dealing with unexplained tingling and numbness in my face for a few days after that, plus frequent migraines and four seizures in a week, I'm very tired now. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I'm tired.

There's been a lot of wrestling with God lately. A lot of anger and a lot of frustration and a lot of not knowing what to say. And a lot of letting my exhaustion take over and basically hiding from my feelings. Until I just didn't want to do that anymore.

Cue Austin and Clayton.

I told Clayton they are my theological reality checks. Because they're there for me, comfort me, while also giving me a reality check and pointing me back to Jesus. These two understand more than most just how caught up in my own head I can get it, how I can often put pressure on myself completely unnecessarily, and they are always so loyal to be here and pull me back out and bring me back to what I know is true.

I mentioned to Clayton that I often get scared about talking to others about how I'm feeling because I don't want them to feel like I'm dragging them down with negativity or depressive tones about my life or whatnot, and he responded with what is perhaps the most Clayton thing he's ever said to me. "We're going to be here. We're going to love you. We're going to let you vent as much as you need. Get over it." My friends may not understand what my life is like, but they also don't understand all that they really do for me. And I have to learn to accept the fact that they're here because they want to be, because they really do love me, not out of pity or whatever. I can't do this alone, and I'm only hurting myself by trying to pretend like I can or that I have to.

Austin and Clayton both also talked to me about doubt and how me struggling with my faith doesn't mean my faith is weak or that I'm failing as a Christian. Clayton actually said that faith wouldn't be faith if we were sure about everything, if we didn't have some doubt and struggle and questions with it. The fact that my closest friends, the ones who know the most about my life and personal journey, can say things like I have the strongest faith of just about anyone they know says that maybe my perspective is skewed. Maybe doubt really isn't such a bad thing; it isn't something I need to get frustrated at myself for having. I'm finally starting to understand that maybe God is okay with my doubt.

I told them that I really wasn't sure where God is and has been in all of this, but Clayton pointed out that God was in Austin, and God was in our conversation, and every time I'm reminded that I am loved and that people are supporting me. And he was right. God is so faithful to not let me go through this alone. I am surrounded by people across the country that I know would give anything to make my health issues go away or even just calm down. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for and humbled by the love I have in my life. But what is key to remember is that every time Clayton or Austin or any of my soccer boys or friends from Spiegel tells me they love me, that's God reaching down into my life and my world to tell me that He loves me, too.

There is an immense picture of God's grace in friendships, in the people who stand by you when things aren't easy. The past couple of days I've learned all over again just how incredible my friends are and how good God is to give me the opportunity to love and be loved like this.

I don't know what my future holds. I don't know when my seizures are going to calm down. What I do know is that with friends like mine who are so determined to hold me up and keep me moving forward and focused on God, I'm gonna make it through this life no matter what comes my way.

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