Before beginning the Herculean task of awakening the teenagers this morning, I took a few moments to be still. Just still. My heart hurt as I lifted up my friends to the Father--my precious friends trudging through the shock and grief of a lost loved one. It occurred to me then how incredibly blessed my life has been to be full of loving, strong women such as these. So very blessed.
First and foremost is my mama-- moving to South Texas to care for aging parents, keeping the faith through seven long years of alzheimers, surgeries, hospitals, nursing homes, and so many trials. She, along with her sisters, are true Steel Magnolias. I come from a long line of strong women--big shoes for me and my cousins to fill. (Beebs, you are my hero and I pray that God gives me the grace to take care of you so well as you deserve when your time on earth draws to a close. Don't worry...we'll pick out a nice nursing home for you...:-) )
To all of the rest of you, my very own Steel Magnolias ( I know some of you are Yankees, but that's ok--we'll just ignore that for now) I want to say thank you. You have enriched my life more than you could possibly imagine, encouraging me to push through the discouragement of the mundane on to the joy. You've shown me that life goes on despite heartbreak and loss. I've watched as some of you fought for your marriages when everyone told you it was hopeless, and others of you, with grace and prayer, worked through the grief of a marriage ending. Because of you, I know that there is grace enough to survive the loss of a child or a spouse--that there is hope for peace. Many things you do seem simple...preparing meals or cleaning house for a sick or grieving friend, bringing groceries to a family going through hard times, or babysitting for a tired, worn out young mother. Some of you have opened your hearts and homes to precious children who had no one, while others of you would, at a moment's notice, drop everything to be there for someone who needed you. True servant hearts.
Prayers, tears, laughter, joy, worship, strength, grace, and love unconditional. You are all so amazing. My heart overflows.