This year has been a three legged race with an elephant. Down a road of broken glass a mile long.
Providence has had me juggling loss and grief like a giant mess. It seemed that if one dear friend was not dying, another was moving overseas, or losing touch. The pain sent me spiralling down in to the pit of despair and so I prayed.
I asked God for a compassionate and thoughtful friend. I prayed that He might bless me with a sister who would want to bear in my burdens during my season of rain. The following month saw an umbrella descend from the skies, with answered prayer in tow. Her name, she said, was Mallory.
God's grace through friendship
All the way from Texas, Mallory had come to study for a winter semester. I met her on the couch at a friend's house, where she was to spend her first week before university began.
By the end of our first meeting we had already been open with each other about the circumstances God was using to teach us humility and trust. It appeared that our struggles mirrored each other's.
Since that first meeting four months ago the Lord has used us to be of significant encouragement to one another. After a matter of weeks we knew each other's stories pretty well. God's grace was ridiculously evident as we were able to understand and serve each other in a way that only our Creator could orchestrate.
I have been genuinely amazed by His grace, bringing this humble and open hearted stranger right in to the middle of my calamity. Where she lifted the cover and got right in to my bed of suffering with me. Sometimes even literally.
One Saturday night when she was staying over, it reached one thirty in the morning and I couldn't sleep. My pillow was wet with tears. Instead of counting the hours remaining until the alarm went off and suggesting I take a sleeping pill, she got up and made banana pancakes and hot tea. We sat in my lounge room and she read me weird articles from Frankie magazine and had me laughing until I was ready for sleep.
On another evening, she had already stayed the previous night and spent the day studying at my house. I was about to drive her home when, knowing that I was feeling the weight of my burdens, she took off her backpack and announced that she was going to stay another night, 'I just want to bear in your burden' she said in her Texan accent. I hugged her and cried. I felt like it was the nicest thing that anyone had ever said to me. I felt the relief as the weight lifted. She helped me carry my burden. Knowing that it was God who gave her the grace and strength to love me so genuinely caused me to love Him more.
A reminder of God's strength
Not once when I went to dear Texan Mallory in my weakness did she tell me to be strong, or that I was strong. She pointed me to the strength of God and reminded me that it was His gracious strength that would carry me through this season of rain. She sent me scriptures that helped lift my drooping heart and gave me courage. She prayed with me.
In a few weeks Mallory will fly back to Texas. With her umbrella or on an aeroplane, I'm not sure. One thing I am sure of is that my spirit was fainting within me and the Lord heard my prayer. He provided for me in a way that has brought me joy where there was little before. He blessed me with fellowship that I felt had marched right from the pages of scripture and in to my life, sending me a sister in Christ to fight with me for Him. Mallory is a friend for life.
So wherever this finds you, whether you are fighting sorrow and self-pity, or just your sin, be encouraged. He is here with us in this moment and He hears our pleas for mercy and answers. He is faithful to His Word.
Scarlett Jones resides by the seaside and loves reading, films, craft and quality time with friends and family.
Scarlett Jones' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/scarlett-jones.html