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: