If you're popping over from my post on A Widow's Might today, I'm so thrilled to say "welcome"!
One of the tangible ways God has poured out His lavish love on me these past 8 months of grief is through a group I have affectionately dubbed my Core Four!
My Core Four is not a group of fictitious superheroes (although, we're working on names and costumes just for fun). It is a group of Jesus-loving women, uniquely gifted and I believe specifically called by God to come alongside me "at such a time as this".
Let me first say, God has blessed me with an ARMY of support - not just these 4 ladies. I actually wanted to write a post calling out each name one-by-one and sharing how each person has served as the hands of feet of Jesus to Anna and/or me in these last 8 months. However, as I started formulating the list, it simply grew so large that I was afraid I would forget somebody. That's a treasure in and of itself. And, I don't take this "army" of support lightly.
However, there are times that I simply can't share everything my heart actually feels on this blog or other social media outlet. It's simply too painful, and honestly not very appropriate at times. That's where my Core Four comes in.
These are the ladies I feel safe in sending a text message to at anytime of the day or night I can also call these ladies, and they will sit and listen even as I share no words - only sob. They are the ones that don't always have the words to say but know the One that does and never fails to go to Him on my behalf. These four pray when they say they pray. I can also trust them with my deepest, most painful feelings, and I know they'll give good guidance and won't pretend to offer any advice not rooted in love. But, perhaps the greatest blessing I've received from these women (aside from prayer and encouragement) is the ability to speak truth to me. They will not allow me to pit-wallow without checking in to see what the latest cause might be. If unfounded, they will make sure the truths of God's word have been spoken into my life. They keep me accountable to His Word, and oh how I need that! Its so very easy in times of despair to not believe anything anymore, to settle into a "woe is me attitude"
These four are from four different stages of life - 3 married, 1 divorced; 1 grandmother, 2 with young pre-school aged children, 1 with children of all ages, 3 work outside the home, 1 works inside the home. The closest any of them live from me is about 35 minutes away. So, they are not just a hop, jump, and a skip away. We actually communicate most frequently by phone, email, Facebook, and texting. I've also known each of them for varying lengths of time - one for 21 years, another for 3 years, and the last two for a little over two years. Regardless of time, God has uniquely knit us together, and they are true sisters to me!
Friends, it is not good for us to be alone. Jesus, Himself, surrounded Himself with the 12 men that became His disciples. God never meant for us to be in relationship alone. He made us for relationship - 1st with Himself, and secondly with each other.
One of the things that's "haunted me" perhaps more than anything else about Chris' suicide is this very thing. Granted, he had a small group of friends. A few guys that he would like to fish and hunt with, a few at church he would joke around with, some at work that he would cut up with, but I know he didn't have a Core Four of his own. He didn't have a group that he could go to with alarming text messages simply saying "Help me!" (Yes - I've sent those at times.) And - he certainly never let me in on the deep burdens of his mind and heart that led to his final action. Could it have had a different outcome if he allowed himself to be surrounded by a "Core Four" of his own? Honestly, I'll never know the answer to that question.
I urge you, however. Allow yourself to immersed into a small body of close friends that can become your "Core". If you don't have that - ask God for it! He'll provide those people, because I KNOW that He wants that for you. Just open your eyes to see them around you, and open your heart to accept their friendship and love. Don't do this life alone. It's simply too hard.