In the weeks after Barry's death, so many people reached out to me, encouraging me with Scripture, prayer and kind words. It was a blessing that cannot be adequately described with words on a blog. I was/am so thankful.
During that time, two different people spoke the same idea to me that penetrated my heart and mind. They were both people that I greatly admire and respect. One was a widow who had walked the same path that I was setting out on. Her words carried so much weight because I knew she knew what I was struggling with. Even more, she is a godly woman who has used her life to proclaim the truths of the gospel all over the world - I want to be like her. The other was a sweet friend who is a missionary. He is one of those men who chooses his words carefully, whose words are always full of godly wisdom and truth - I want my son to be like him.
They both spoke of something that my heart desperately wanted. They both spoke of a fear that was overwhelming. They spoke of what one would call "home-builders."
You see, not only was I dealing with the grief of losing my best friend and husband, I was also dealing with the fear of how to live life without him. When you get married and build a life with someone, you each have roles and jobs. Without Barry, I was now responsible for every aspect of my life. I was also solely responsible for every aspect of my childrens' lives. No pressure there...
Here is what these two friends said to me:
"Again, I am so thankful for His presence - that He is watching over you, that He is a husband to you for now. You will learn more about that as you watch Him at work in your life. He takes care of me like a husband - people offering things I would never think to ask, comforting me, giving me wisdom for all kinds of decisions, teaching me His intimate presence, that oneness that you understood with Barry - which has helped with the loneliness."
"I also learned to appreciate all the more the “home-builders” in my life. It is kind of so many to point to the sky and say, “Look! The storm is gone! We are thankful with you.” But there are those few precious saints who say, “The storm is gone. But everything you knew was injured by it. Let me get my tools—I am going to help you build again.” Please forgive me if this is too forward. But I am asking God to rise up strong men and faithful women as home-builders with you in this time."
I share this with those of you reading for this reason - to show you that God is faithful. He hears and answers the prayers of his children. He knows our needs and meets them in beautiful ways.
I have had several friends step into my life and become home-builders since Barry passed away. And this week, that has been demonstrated in a big way. After Barry died, I was left with two cars. After several weeks of prayer and just letting some of my emotions settle, I made a decision about which car I would keep and which car I would try to sell. Then, I was faced with the task of actually selling the car. Now here's the problem I faced: I've never bought or sold a car. My parents gave me a car to go to college. Every car I've had since then, Barry bought for me or sold for me. I didn't know the first thing about how to sell a car. And to be honest, I didn't want to know how to sell a car!
But God knew my fears and my needs. After hearing that I had made a decision about which car I was wanting to sell, one of my best friends informed me that her husband was going to sell my car for me. I cannot express the gratitude I felt for this help. He came and got my car to take to his house (they refused to keep it at my house, not wanting strangers coming to the house to look at the car). He made some repairs on it. He posted it on Craig's List and fielded all the questions and calls. He did the research and found the help we needed to make sure everything was legally taken care of correctly.
While in the process of selling my car, he was injured playing softball and his ankle was shattered. He had to have surgery. And having every reason to quit, he continued to help me and sold my car this week.
In all of this, God has been so faithful and so generous. It took several months to sell my car. Sure, God could have sold it in a couple of days. But I think he allowed it to take some time. He was showing me that not only is he faithful, but he had given me friends that would be faithful in being home-builders in my life.
So, thank you Beau and Melissa Schmidt! Not only are you some of the funnest people I know, you are a sweet gift from the Lord and a beautiful example of his goodness.
(And just so you know, the Schmidts didn't just sell my car. They watch my kids. Melissa has cleaned my house, planned my birthday party, spent hours crying and praying with me and for me and has been a safe place for my son to grieve the loss of his daddy. And they don't just do this for me. They do this for lots of other people.)
"And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." Matthew 25:40