A few days ago, I attended a funeral. The mother-in-law of my best friend. The mom of one of Corey’s closest friends. It was a heart-wrenching year for Josh and Marti as they watched an aggressive cancer swiftly strip Judy’s life away. But it gave us the opportunity to watch them do hard things with grace and patience and love. And for that Corey and I are both blessed.
For reasons I don’t know but am very thankful for, 18 years ago when I was eight months pregnant God said, “Hey Kim, meet Marti. From this day forth, your assignment is to do life together.” He then proceeded to give us 6 boys in 6 years. And from the moment we became mamas (10 months apart) she’s been a safe place for me to land. She was the adult voice on the other end of the phone when I’d spent the whole day surrounded by super-hero capes, Nerf guns and The Wiggles. She was the bringer of donuts, coffee and nose-running-snot-dripping-crying-out-to-Jesus prayers on my couch when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And she oscillates from being a source of great belly laughs to a key ingredient in the glue God uses to put me back together when I’m broken.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I take this kind of friendship for granted. Not the other night. As I sat and listened to Josh talk about his last year with his mom in front of a group of mourning family and friends, a feeling of thankfulness washed over me. “Thank you Jesus that this guy is in our lives. This guy who is so strong, yet so completely dependent on you.”
And afterward, when I hugged Marti and felt the tension in her shoulders release and heard her say “You came,” I didn’t want to let go. Because wrapped up in that hug was 18 years of “you came.” That’s just what we do.
I don’t know if I could even count the number of times “she came” in my time of need.
When I had a miscarriage, she came.
When a child was struggling through some really tough mama-can’t-fix-this-stuff, she came.
When almost all of the things that could possibly go wrong did, and I couldn’t see through to the other side of the yuck, she came.
When breast cancer knocked the wind out of me, she came and she came and she came.
We’ve had more happy times together than sad ones, and the happy ones are oh so much more pleasant to experience. But the sad ones, uffdah, the sad ones bind us in ways a sunny day coffee date at Panera could never do.
So as she and Josh sit in their grief, I will pray for them and long with them for easier days ahead. But at the same time, I will be overwhelming grateful that God has given me a mama-friend with whom I can share the burdens of heartache.
And I will be hopeful that Jesus allows me many more years to be a recipient and giver of, I-couldn’t-do-this-without-you-hugs and those two sweet little words, “You came.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.