I remember the meal like it was last night. They brought over pork chops, a wonderful wild rice, and a pineapple and cheese casserole. I don't remember it because of my allergy to pineapple. I remember it because it was something to remember. It was delicious, no doubt, but it was more because of the conversation before that day and the relationship that formed over that meal and after.
When Tim and I moved to South Carolina in 2000, he was a few weeks from graduating from Auburn. We had baby Jillian (10mos old) and Emily on the way. We were renting the home we were to purchase a few weeks later. It was a crazy time. We were young, first home, and away from family and friends. We visited a church that later we called home; but just after visiting two or three times, our Emily made her presence into the world a couple weeks early.
I remember the assistant pastor's wife and the youth pastor's wife, came to visit me in the hospital. They had just left a baby shower and brought me leftovers from it, along with a gift. That was my first time meeting them. They were precious. I saw their heart and love for people. They became sweet friends of mine.
The church threw me a baby shower after Emily was born and set up meals for two weeks. We were surrounded by love. The meal referenced above, was slightly different though. I received phone calls over the best time to drop off our meal that whole week, but this one came with an invite to stay and eat it with us. Molly took hospitality to another level.
Never meeting this couple, and two babies, a new town and a "paper mill" working hubby, I didn't turn down the opportunity for fellowship. I needed it.
I am not even sure how any of the conversations went, but I know after that night, we did so much together. Date nights, game nights, girl's nights, etc. We enjoyed the same things. We looked up to them. They were leaders of Young Life (for you locals, that's like our K-Life). They had a heart for Jesus. They knew every one in town. Literally, you couldn't go anywhere with them, without someone (or two, or three), approaching them with a hello or thank you.
It was exciting times in our life. Newly married, new jobs, new towns for us all. For us, a new family; but as they ministered to children surrounding them, literally at their feet, they struggled with infertility. I remember after the first couple months God laying on my heart, while I was taking a shower, to pray for Molly. And I did. For days and months I did. Since then, I found that God was laying it on my heart to pray for marriages struggling in infertility every time I took a shower. Call it strange, but it was my place to do that. Seriously, I don't know if it is because a mother hopes to have 10mins of uninterrupted time to herself or what, but I seemed to be able to calm my heart and pray for those specific requests.
This past Monday, I found myself weeping in the shower over the news I had heard days before over Molly's diagnosis of Colon Cancer. It was all I could do just to mumble words out of my mouth. It's when the Book of Psalms became so real once again, and I knew He heard my cries, and it was okay if I could hardly get out the words. I felt so humbled. And not to joke; but seriously, I am naked before God, weeping over my friend's life. I kept pleading for mercy and healing, and at the same time, started to feel hurt over God allowing this to come into her life.
And then, I praised Him, and as hard as it was, I praised Him for what He was going to do in her life through this. And in other's life. And in my own life. And then, I wept over how much He loves her and how much she loves Him. And for just a second, because I am so selfish, got jealous over the level of intimacy He is going to take her to through this, because she is going to see God way beyond even the deepness He has taken me. Would I want Cancer?? Certainly not! I want my cake without the calories, a marathon without the run. That's just how I am. Even though, I deeply know that my most favorite place to be, is when I need Him the most and I witness His faithfulness. All of this kept running in my head and bursting out of my heart.
I kept praising Him for how much joy, perseverance and grace, she has. How she loves Jesus, and will proclaim His name forever. Even during this trial. How she has worn her love for the Father for everyone to see, and how she is draped in it.
I feel honored to know her and call her my sister in Christ. She opened up her love and heart to me without even knowing me, the day she signed up to bring me that meal 13 years ago. Since then, she and Shawn have grown their beautiful family of Four children in the Lord, and serve Him daily in their lives.
At this moment, I am awaiting surgery results as they have gone in a couple hours ago to remove the tumor and some of her colon. Her Liver is a concern as well. They are not sure of the stage of cancer until in surgery, so if you would, please pray for healing for Molly. Please pray for strength for her and the family, and as they look to the next steps after surgery. Please praise our Heavenly Father for her life and the thousands of people she has touch with her heart. I am so very thankful for her life and the ministry she lives daily. She is His child, His beautiful creation, and I know He wants us to go to Him with these requests.
Thank you, friends.
To God be the Glory!
*photos via Facebook*