Thursday, June 20, 2013

Forming Friendships after Marriage, Part 2

+JMJ+

To get caught up on this entry's back-story, make sure to read Forming Friendships after Marriage, Part 1 before continuing any further. Part 1 ended with me explaining that in my struggles to make new, local friends the Lord often gifts me with some encounter or realization that provides me a sense of renewed hope and strength to persevere in my efforts. This is where Part 2 begins:
"This week that renewed hope and strength came as a result of one friend's tragedy...which just goes to show that God truly works in mysterious ways...."
On Tuesday I received a text from a dear college friend - who also happens to be named Stephanie. She is an awesome woman of the Lord and although we were never "best" friends she is without doubt a true friend and someone I always loved as we attended and then led retreats side by side throughout college. We were both leaders in campus ministry and share much in common, including the fact that we each have 2 sisters whom we love dearly. I don't communicate with Stephanie on any sort of regular basis, but she is one of those sisters in Christ that I will always feel connected to and know I can rely on if/when I need prayer support. A few weeks ago she even offered to come visit once the baby is born if we still live here in Ann Arbor.

The text she sent Tuesday afternoon requested prayers for one of her sisters - who was in critical condition with a very poor prognosis. I had no idea what was happening but I immediately began praying for Steph and her family.

Stephanie & me in spring 2010
A few short hours later she texted to inform me that her sister had gone to heaven along with her sister's beautiful baby boy. The complications had arisen as her sister underwent a c-section to remove her stillborn son. When I learned that her sister was gone my heart was absolutely breaking. Steph is one of only a couple people I use as an example of pure and sincere joy, love, and happiness whenever I try and explain to Michael what someone's personality is like - or what kind of friend I can envision them being. He has met Steph and understands immediately what I mean if I compare someone new to her...which says a lot about her because as I said, she isn't even my best friend and I communicate with her irregularly/somewhat infrequently yet she holds such a special place in my life.

My heart may have been breaking for her, but I quickly pulled it together because Steph had sent her message as a group text to 3 people and requested that we help spread the news to some family and friends. Having been given a task that could help in her time of mourning I immediately focused on doing what she asked. I spread the word to 7 or 8 mutual friends and knew that they would lift up her family in prayer and pray especially for the repose of her sister's soul. The next morning I awoke to a text from another mutual friend (who I accidentally left off my contact list) who had heard from yet a different friend. Everything has snowballed since then and when I logged onto Facebook this morning I saw that Steph's wall had already been covered with 50+ different messages expressing their deepest sympathies and promising their prayers...and I'm sure there are several more that have flooded her private inbox. This young woman and her family are some of the most radiant followers of Christ and the outpouring of support for them in this sorrowful time is only a further testament to this fact.

Watching our mutual friends spread the word to one another like wildfire has been so beautiful to behold...and it blows my mind when I realize how many faith-filled, genuine people I managed to meet through my campus ministry involvement in college.

As I reflect on all of this I can see plainly that I still need to find a way to socialize with people here in my current city...but I also understand more deeply that I am in no way, shape, or form alone. Witnessing these friends and acquaintances lift Stephanie and her family up in prayer and communicating with one another has made me so incredibly grateful to be part of such a network of brothers and sisters in Christ. I know now that no matter where I move or how few friends I may be able to find in each new place, these people will continue supporting one another and would be there praying for me if I ever needed it.

On top of that, I am so grateful to be connected through the blogosphere to so many fantastic women of faith! As I have struggled to make new, local friends this blog has introduced me to countless women I genuinely relate to. I fully plan to continue seeking out friends I could socialize with in person, but the blessings of technology that have introduced me to so many other newlyweds/wives and mothers - as well as keeping me connected to my closest friends and family - are an amazing gift I am deeply thankful for. I appreciate every single one of you that has offered up prayers for my pregnancy, our growing baby boy, or any aspect of my newlywed life since I began this blog. If you could, please send up a prayer or two for my wonderful friend, Stephanie, and her family during this difficult time. May God bless you all!

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
-Blessed Mother Teresa

7 comments:

  1. "Steph is one of only a couple people I use as an example of pure and sincere joy"

    yes and amen. i was talking to a friend about this and was explaining why i was so upset beyond the sorrow of the situation was that stephanie is SO GOOD, she is just the definition of goodness and joy and being alive, and it hurts to see someone so good, being suddenly thrown into so much suffering.

    you two will always be steph ho & steph po to me! ;) you were like my big sisters at college! :)

    Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

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    1. It's so true! People that know her always agree - she is SO GOOD, so joyful, so full of life. I feel blessed to know her. Although while I'm at it - I feel so blessed to know YOU, too!

      Haha, now that I'm married Steph has called me "Steph Ku." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but it keeps the tradition alive. ;)

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    2. you bet - Steph Ku and (soon to be) Steph Fa....hehe :)

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  2. I'm so, so sorry to hear about Stephanie's sister. That is absolutely heartbreaking. I am sending prayers for her sister and her sweet baby boy.

    I know what you mean about finding friends-my husband is in the military and we move frequently. We've been here for over a year and a half now, and even though I have the gym membership, the weekly Mass attendance, my son's Gymboree class, etc, I still haven't really found a group of friends to hang out with. Which is a bummer, because with my husband's career I definitely depend on girlfriends a lot!

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers for her family!

      It's nice to know I'm not the only one in this boat - although I wish, for your sake, that you could find the right friends. At least we have the blogging world and have found each other! :) I've found that this, at the very least, keeps me from going insane when I don't have people in person to meet up with.

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  3. How sad for your friend...I can't imagine. I will pray for her family.

    You are right that you are not alone, even if you do not have local friends. It is one of the blessings of technology. When we were in Germany, my two best friends did their best to schedule Skype dates with me at least every 2 weeks which was pretty difficult with the time difference. But I felt connected through Facebook to everyone and I had the blogging world.

    Maybe your husband's job will take you to NJ and I can be your local friend!

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    1. Thank you for praying for them.

      That's really sweet of your friends! Technology really is a blessing when it's used in the right ways.

      It's totally possible that his job could take us to NJ (there are several medical device and pharmaceutical companies that use engineering consultants like him) - and if it does, you'd better believe I'll hit you up! :)

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