Monday, April 16, 2012

She came into my life about a year ago, this breath of fresh air, bright and breezy, cheerful and loving. She was getting ready to (re)marry her true love in life, a guy from my church. We hit it off over dinner one night which was supposed to be a time of discussing building a website for his new CD and his music ministry. Instead, it was a time of sharing our life stories, where we had come from and where we had been brought to --- and we just clicked. Strange that this would happen! We are as different as night and day. The roads we traveled are from different ends of the world -- as far apart as any two roads could be. Here’s me, the goody-goody-two-shoes, raised in church, a Christian as long as she was old, and never knew anything about the streets, drugs, alchohol, abuse, etc. And there she is as low as a person can go. . . Never hearing about God and Jesus and what He did for her until one day someone told her she needed to be saved. Her response??? “Saved????? Saved from WHAT?????” I remember smiling but in awe of all of this. Was there ever a day that I did NOT know what being saved meant? I went to Sunday school from the cradle roll department on. And I’m looking into the bright eyes of one dear soul who had never heard, who was confused, hanging on to the last thread of life, crying out to God to somehow get her out of this hole. A God she never knew, didn’t know how to find Him, wondered if He was there, and would He even listen.
To follow her through her story left me awe struck. How these two came through the pits of Hell, rescued by God, picked up and dressed in robes of white, and now sitting here in a restaurant full of people telling me all this just left me with no words. And since then, we have been close friends. Vanessa has enriched my life, caused me to grow, to dig for answers to questions that I did not knew could be questions, to find reasons and a basis for my faith.

Yesterday was a glorious day as I was invited to share her day --- her fifth anniversary of being sober. Nothing better than a surprise party, a whole bunch of us churchy people, a whole bunch of other victors who are heros in my eyes, pizza and cake. But deep within me, the question came up: If this were me, would I have made it? Is there ANYTHING in my life that I have wanted and craved so badly but have given up for 5 years? I can hardly stick to a diet!

And so, the next thing on my list of gathered blessings is

606. Vanessa, and her victorious fight and celebration of sobriety.
607. Her friendship with me, though we are so different.
608. Her nonjudgmental ways of treating people around her.
609. Her willingness to walk with you through anything and everything.
610. Her honesty, risking asking the hard and deep questions.
611. Our dinners together, staying so long and late, being the last ones to leave.
612. Knowing every day is a struggle for her, but seeing her plug on through, clinging to Him for strength.
613. Learning that I was so privileged to hear the Gospel from childhood. Something I always took for granted.
614. Seeing that the Lord never gives up on someone, even though the world would just turn away.

Linking up the Ann VosKamp and so many others who are counting their gifts and sharing them each Monday. You can click on the banner here and find everyone who is doing this and read their beautiful lists:


Elaine said...

What an awesome post. I loved hearing the story of your new friend. Don't you love the way God connects HEARTS! Absolutely amazing and He always knows what we need in a friend...her for you and you for her. :)

Andrea Dawn said...

Beautiful post, Cora . . . the wonderful thing about knowing one another after the spirit and not the flesh is that facts and characteristics that would seemingly point to incompatibility between two persons becomes totally irrelevant. Blessings upon this treasured friendship.

Court said...

Aw, what a great friend you are. And I just love your name, my baby niece is named Cora. It's so elegant.

dsblanchard said...

Dear Cora,

I love how you recognize her struggle. FIVE YEARS of daily, minute-by-minute denying herself of the substance she wants most. THAT IS quite an accomplishment when you spell it out like that. I don't know many who could do it. She is a champion.

It takes one to know one and she found you Champion Cora! I love what Court said in a previous comment, "I just love your name,...It's so elegant." I smiled from ear to ear because I know how you feel about your name. Let's face it, Cora, you're on a winning streak here!


Kristin Bridgman said...

Oh, bless her and happy anniversary to her! So glad you have each other. Can I be just a little bit envious? I would love to sit at the dinner table with you and just talk for hours! :)

Alicia said...


I LOVE how God can tie us together with the most "unlikely" friends.. the ones we need and the ones whom have something to teach us. Love how you are celebrating with your new friend and sharing faith and joy together. So nice to meet you here. Thanks for stopping by the Overflow earlierl!

His Song to Sing said...

I'm so thankful that the "rabbit trails" led you to my blog tonight, Cora, because I can tell we have a lot in common besides blogging. Thank you so much for your comments on my blog design. I worked with a designer and thought she "got me" really well just from one phone call.

I'm a HUGE Ann Voskamp fan too! I had the thrill of hearing her speak and meeting her in Charleston, SC, at the end of March. A true highlight of my life. I have a Facebook discussion group about the book that is still active though we have gone through all the chapters.

I enjoyed reading this post about your friend Vanessa. What a beautiful friendship God has blessed with you with. I loved it when you said, "she has caused me to grow, to dig for answers to questions that I did not knew could be questions." I'm sure your maturity in the faith has been so encouraging to her.

One more thing ... sorry to go on and on ... thanks for the encouragement with the memory work! It's not easy for my 55-year-old brain but the Scripture Typer program really helps!

P.S. Check out my post on "Where I'm From." I enjoyed getting to know you there!

Lisa notes... said...

I so hear you, Cora. I have recently made some new friends who all come from addictive backgrounds. Quite an eye-opener for this raised-in-church girl. But also so encouraging! I love hearing their stories of God's saving grace. I can rarely resist a chocolate-chip cookie, yet they have learned through the Spirit to resist such powerful forces. Praise God for Vanessa and for your friendship with her!

Nacole said...

oh, i love this story about your friend, Cora--what a story of redemption! thank you for sharing this. i loved every part of your list--what a grateful list--i can truly hear it ringing out from your heart. and Cora, i love your name too, if i never told you. beautiful. love you.