She Chose Jesus

I met her the day I moved into the neighborhood where I would spend the most of my time raising my kids.  She was a single mom and lived right next door.  Her kids and mine were close in ages.  They all quickly formed friendships that were more like brothers & sisters.  I knew the minute that she walked away that God had a reason for me to be placed next door to her.

She was a young widowed mother to three amazing kids and they all needed direction.

I prayed hard for the strength to be the kind of friend and neighbor they would need.  I tried to step in when she was too fragile to keep up; finances, working multiple jobs, going back to school, depression, family squabbles, loneliness and just plain out hurting!  She was a mess most of the time but I never missed a chance to tell her — YOU ARE DOING SO WELL!!  KEEP GOING, FRIEND!!!  YOU ARE A GREAT MOM!!!!

One night emotions hit a wall!  The whole family was a wreck with tears and someone came running to our house for help.  Nothing in this world feels quite as humbling as knowing you have a friend who trusts you with their most unattractive pain.  Most of us want to hide any flaws we have from the world all while our hearts are torn into a million pieces from the need to reach out.  Soon the broken family of four was lined up on our living room sofa, crying and spilling hurts that had been bottled up and squished down for several years.  How do you talk about the death of a father?  How do you answer questions that no one really has the answer to?  This poor mother was doing all she could to meet the immediate needs of her children…..but was lost when it came to helping them cope with losing their daddy.  Afterall, she lost him too.  Her heart tried to fool her into thinking…..she could just go on and live!

It wasn't that easy.  Death isn't freedom to everyone.  The ones left behind……are stuck with the pieces and nothing ever seems to fit back together.


That night on the sofa, my hubby spoke hard words.  Words that we hadn't wanted to push onto her or her sweet kids.  But God reminded ….only the truth could set this family free.  She hung on every word, she listened….she cried and then she admitted her need for CHRIST in her life.  She fully accepted Christ that night and moments later all three of her precious kids did the same.  The Holy Spirit moved inside my family living room so powerfully that night, that I've never forgotten it.  It was one of the sweetest blessings of my life as a Christian.  She was special to us before…but after that night, our hearts were forever joined.

A few years later, we would still be neighbors but not friends.  I still don't know why.  My love for her never changed….

She would go on to remarry, move out of our neighborhood and not long after that find out she had cancer.  What happened on my couch 10 years ago seems monumental in my heart today as I read the news of her funeral.  Who knew that within such a short time of accepting Jesus into her heart — she would meet him face to face?  For her, I rejoice and praise God that HE placed her in our neighborhood.  I'm overwhelmed with thoughts of the celebration she is having in heaven today.  I thank her for trusting my family so much and deciding to follow Christ.  She was a beautiful friend to me and I missed her terribly when she stepped away from our friendship.  That's water under the bridge now.  I can't dwell on "what if's" or "what went wrongs".  All I can do now is remember her and pray for those she loved and left behind.  The journey begins for each of them all over again.


Dear God

Thank you for giving me a friend in Caryn.  I'm overwhelmed by the memories we shared.  Her laugh will always be in my heart.  Bless her family as they move forward now without her there to share each day.


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