I have this friend.
She’s pretty awesome, and next to my husband I’d say she’s the person I’m closest to.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about those around me, and just how blessed I am to have a few very special individuals in my life. Again, next to my husband, she is the first person that comes to mind.
I’ve known her for five years, but it might as well have been a whole lifetime. I feel as though she’s always been there – lifting me up, helping me along and just generally making life that little bit better. When we first met and were still in that “sounding one another out” stage of friendship – still getting to know what we were both about – I remember having a long conversation with her in the foyer and chapel of our church. I won’t post the details as they’re pretty personal to me (and to her, too, I assume!), but suffice to say that I knew this person had been placed in my life for a reason. Honestly, at that point I had only known her a few weeks and what I told her then I would never have dreamed of saying to anyone else – including those I’d known for years – but somehow I sensed that she’d be receptive. So I tentatively pushed ahead.
After we’d shared a little of our respective journeys through life and certain trials to that point, she turned to me and said, “You know, it isn’t a coincidence that we’re both in this ward at this time. Heavenly Father always knows what we need exactly when we need it“. I remember thinking that she was absolutely right, and it was incredible to me that after all I’d just managed to struggle through (and had been struggling through for years before), here I was joining a new church, getting a whole new perspective on life and meeting someone who was telling me, “Hey, I’ve been there. I hear you. It’s OK”. The way our stories matched up was nothing short of incredible. Mainly little points that I don’t think anyone else would have made that much of a fuss over, but to me it was lots of little “lightbulb moments”, and I felt so many doors open that day. I remember going home and crying with relief that I had finally managed to open up, and I had found someone who could relate. At that point I had a small inkling, but I couldn’t have known just how wonderful a woman she would turn out to be.
As time went on, I found that as well as being a friend, she was a fantastic mentor in the gospel. She was a recently returned missionary when we met, and although I was initially blown away by her knowledge, she has since impressed me in other ways as well. She has taught me so much about how to live the gospel. How to nurture your faith and question without being questioning, about how to accept that we don’t know everything but that we can thrive on what we do know. About how to use your faith as a lifeline if necessary when all else fails and you’re faced with trials that you don’t know if you’ll make it through. She’s also taught me how to deal with heartache with real grace and integrity, and how to develop a servant’s heart.
As the years have passed, I’ve learned more from her as she has continued along the path of life a short way ahead of me – how to be a patient, kind, compassionate wife. How to have the best start in a temple marriage and how to set up a gospel centered, spirit-filled home for your family. How to make it through the heartache of trying to conceive for months on end whilst trying to understand the Lord’s timing through your pain. And then, how to be a wonderful mother to a beautiful little boy, and treasure your time spent with this amazing little spirit entrusted to your care. How to really be there for your friends when they need you.
I wonder sometimes whether she recognises all of these qualities in herself. But I think probably not – she is such a humble, unassuming person that I don’t think she would ever understand for herself the full effect of the example she sets through the way she carries and presents herself. But she really is something special. She is a dedicated, powerful woman of God, committed to her walk with Christ. And it absolutely shows.
I hold this woman very dear to my heart. We have shared many special times together – happy, sad, awkward, and we’ve had a few very sacred moments, too.
She said to me in the temple recently during one of my particularly difficult times, “well, we’re more like sisters anyway, aren’t we?”. We absolutely are. Thank you for saying that. It meant so much to me.
I treasure you as a sister. I love you so much, and I am so blessed to have been on this journey with you thus far! I’ve loved growing with you, laughing with you, sharing with you, and crying with you. I think those times are probably the most precious of all to me – you’ve seen me through some of the most trying times in my life, and I honestly don’t know how I would have coped without you.
It will never be enough, but thank you. You really are such a special, sweet spirit. You inspire me to be more, to do better and to reach higher.
You’re simply wonderful.