Kindred Spirits

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Silver and Gold

“Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver the other gold.”
Whether you are a silver or gold friend, whether we are ‘meeting’ for the first time, or we already enjoy a history of memories, we love and appreciate you.  Both have tremendous value and have priceless worth.
For those of you who are personal friends, you know that I, (Joy, aka“Faith”) have been on quite the journey for the past 16 months.  I want to briefly share my story for our “silver” friends and explain what will happen over the next little while. 
Back in January of 2010, a cyst was discovered on my left ovary.  Tests were completed and my family Dr. was not overly concerned about its existence.  My heart rested in his knowledge and whenever pain would flair I would tell myself it was a simple cyst and not to be concerned…until…September when I began to experience other symptoms as well that sent me back to my Doctor.  Thus began months of tests. 
In the middle of this, after a routine mammogram, I was contacted to have a needle biopsy done.  December 24th found me clad in a beautiful hospital gown, being poked and prodded.  Merry Christmas to me.  Actually, the Lord’s timing in this was incredible.  Diane, (aka “Hope”), and I were together during this time as she was spending Christmas with my family.  She lightened the mood by taking glamour shots in the hallway as we sat together during recovery.  Unfortunately, the results to those tests came back inconclusive, and I return in June to have them completed again.  The fun never stops.
To make a long story shorter, it was finally decided at the beginning of this year that I would see a Gynaecologist.  Upon being examined in her office, she immediately walked me over to see the surgeon and I was promised immediate, urgent attention.  At this point it was decided that I would have a complete hysterectomy to remove the mass that had continued to grow. This surgery was scheduled for March 22, 2011.
As I was leaving the surgeon’s office, he suggested I have a CA 125 blood test done to screen for cancer.  He sent me downstairs to the clinic where the test was completed.  The results came back “extremely elevated”.  The next thing I knew I had an appointment booked with an Oncologist in the Cancer Center.  After spending about three hours there and being thoroughly examined, he quite matter-of-factly informed me that, in his opinion, everything was pointing towards cancer and the surgery, originally scheduled at the local hospital, would be cancelled, and I would have the operation performed at a more specialized facility.  Although this news was a shock, the move to this new location was/is a blessing.  The mass will be biopsied during surgery and if benign only my left ovary will be removed.  If however the findings are not favourable, they will proceed to check lymph nodes and anything else they deem needful at the time.  This surgery is now scheduled for Tuesday, May 3rd.   
After having my pre-op Tuesday, I now know to expect to be in the hospital for four days.  Our prayer is that all will proceed without any difficulty and I will be home to rest and recover soon.  As I will not have access to Internet during my hospital stay, I was longing for a way to connect with so many who have faithfully been praying and walking with me on this journey.  I want you to receive updates as quickly as possible so that you can continue in prayer and praise with us.
Diane and I have been contemplating the creation of a shared Friendship blog for some time.  Suddenly need intersected with desire and within a couple of days “Hope and Faith International” was birthed.  It will serve double purpose.  We trust that as we share our friendship journey and all that God is doing in our lives, your hearts will be blessed.  We also wanted a place where our “silver” and “gold” friends can come and read updates concerning my health.  Diane will be in constant contact with my family and she has lovingly and willingly agreed to keep you all informed as to my progress.  Even after arriving back home, I may not have the energy to post here for some time, but she will share my heart and hers with you.
Many of you reading this may have already received an email detailing much of what I’ve written here, but we wanted any “silver” friends stopping by for a visit to understand the situation and the depth of friendship that would extend such kindness to another.  I ask that all of you would keep my precious friend in your prayers as well.  Distance at times like this is difficult.  We long to be side-by-each, holding the other’s hand…there to wipe a tear…offer encouragement…pray.  Often times just the sound of a friend’s voice or her silent presence in the room brings a calm that ushers in rest.
We are so thankful that we share the friendship of another Friend.  A Friend who will never leave us or forsake us.  A friend Who’s presence speaks peace over anxious hearts.  He stands between us today holding both our hands, joining us in love and calling us to trust in Him.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Two Little Girls, One Need

In 2009, God drew two little girl’s hearts together.  They embarked on a journey to read through the Bible. Yes, by age and appearance they were women, but both carried unfulfilled childhood longings. A yearning for a best friend…a pal…a confidante…a kindred spirit...would continue to rise within each of them, as there were unrealized desires.  Throughout the years they would watch from the sidelines as best friends did best friend things. Sleepovers. Swapping clothes. Chick flicks.  Secrets shared. Giggles. Laughter. Hugs.

A cup of tea, a date remembered, a prayer shared, an invitation extended and their worlds began to change.  No longer were they two…separate and alone…their hearts were woven together as one.  Late night chats. Skype. Prayers. Tears. E-mails. Even comfortable, contented silence. They had found a safe place to share their thoughts and dreams.  The curtains of their lives had been drawn back, and each were enjoying the other’s view.  Their heart’s felt home.

‘Home’. A place of rest, belonging and acceptance.  Each had welcomed the other over the threshold of her life, extending hospitality to thoughts, dreams, disappointments, fears and failures. They had not turned aside, away or out. Taking each other by the hand, tenderly holding one another’s heart, they listened, prayed, encouraged and received. Shame didn’t shock. Questions never ridiculed. Secrets held secure. Silence accepted and not pushed. Laughter shared. Over a cup of “virtual tea” they never rushed thoughts, expected perfection or hurried their hearts. Patient. Caring. Identifying. Loving.

Across two countries, God knit two hearts together.  Both anticipating adventure and travel.  A “Y’all” and an “Eh” embraced.  Borders without boundaries.  A Canadian longing to visit the USA and an American wishing to see the true North strong and free.  Silent aspirations seen and granted by an understanding and all-knowing God.  Divided by land, united in love. The stitching was elaborate. The thread, His Spirit. The design, a breathtaking original. One-of-a-kind.  Childhood lost became childhood found.

"Girlfriend candy".
"Fried Green Tomatoes" and Kleenex.
Shared Napoleon dessert at the bakery.
Road trips.
Late nights. Later mornings.
Hands held. Prayers spoken.  Fears conquered.
Shared clothes. Shared secrets.
Giggles. Laughter. Tears. Hugs.
Comfortable silences that speak beyond the power of words.

"The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had."
They enjoyed the refreshing of those wordless retreats. An understanding that flows beyond audible communication. Time on the "porch swing" to just enjoy the treasure of being in the company of one another. Kindred spirits surpass the need for words.

Now every day, along with the tangible gifts received, they unwrap another of much greater value. Acceptance. Love. Trust. Loyalty. Faith. Hope. The key of friendship extended a welcome with a lifetime guarantee.

Today they continue to thank the Lord for the cup of blessing He has poured into each life. They thank Him for the good times warmed by light hearted laughter. They thank Him for difficult times made less challenging by support and prayers. They thank Him for sharing times that wouldn't be the same with anyone else. God has been so gracious to allow them to join the "Best Friend Forever Club". Nothing will ever compare to the precious memories held so dear to their hearts.

What continues to make this friendship so special, is that they share the same Father. Together two little girls crawl up on His lap for one another. They rejoice in His presence. Weep at His feet. Kneel in prayer. Worship the One who continues to weave His Presence through their lives. "A cord of three strands is not easily broken." (Ecc.4:12)

Lord, thank You for being the One who knits our hearts as one.  Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.