"WHOA!" I think this word pretty much sums up the past few days. The craziness began around 10:45 AM on Wednesday morning this past week. I was heading to get my hair cut after school and on the way, I received a phone call from on of my best friends (Sisterhood Girl's), Karla. Her immediate words to me were, "Meredith, something really strange has happened. Alyson (another one of our Sisterhood Girl's) has had a stroke." My immediate response was "WHAT?!?" I seriously thought I had heard her wrong. Surely she didn't say that Alyson had had a stroke. Alyson is 30 years old and fit as a fiddle. I can't really describe what my mind and heart felt at that moment...most definitely shock and a sense of bewilderment. My jaw stayed open and my body felt numb for at least the next 20 minutes until I could process everything.
Let me just give you a brief background of my personal relationship with Alyson. She has literally been in my life since we were in preschool - so about 27 years now. And just to make what could be an incredibly long story short, we have been in each others lives, through every major event, since the day we first met at the ripe old age of around 3 or 4 years old. Sure there have been seasons where we haven't been as heavily involved in one another's lives as we should have/could have been (throughout our college years, etc.), but we realized after the first decade or so of our friendship that we were simply in it for the long haul...kind of like getting married..."til death do us part." I can't tell you what an overwhelming thought this is for me...to know that as rare as lifelong friendships are, not only do I have Aly's, but 4 other incredibly precious girl's as well. That the Lord would show such favor on me blows my mind!
You've heard me refer to my Sisterhood Girl's many times and in no particular order, these girl's are Alyson, Kimi, Kacee, Karla and Courtney.
Actually, I'll just show you a picture so you can have a face with their names. From left to right is Aly, Courtney, Kacee, Me, Karla and Kimi - taken on my wedding day. Aren't they beautiful? With the exception of Courtney, who came into our lives during our middle school years, we have all been friends since elementary school. And we love each other just.like.sisters. We have seen each other at our worst and at our best just like sisters do, get frustrated from time to time with each other just like sisters do, forgive like sisters do, laugh so hard with one another until our sides hurt and our mascara has covered our faces just like sisters do, talk about things that you only talk about with your sisters, prayed for and with each other just like sisters do, and we all hurt when one of us hurts...just like we all have been over the past few days since Aly's crazy run in with this stroke, that none of our human minds can wrap itself around.
My Pastor is always reminding us of how hopeless and helpless those without Christ truly are. I've heard him say those words over and over, but not until earlier this week did those words finally pierce my heart. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for Alyson's unwavering faith. I haven't heard a negative word fall from her lips since her incidence on Wednesday. Instead, I've heard words like "God is all knowing, He is in control, He is GOOD, He is going to use this for His glory, etc.". She has 2 babies and a husband at home, a classroom full of kindergarten students to teach. Shouldn't she have been saying, "Who is going to take care of my babies, Why did this happen to me?, etc." According to the world, yes. She should have been saying those things. The world is full of sin and without Christ, so it is without hope and it is helpless. But...Alyson has Christ - so there is HOPE and help and peace for her during probably what have been the scariest moments of her life thus far. Alyson has matured enough in her faith to know that His Word is true. That when He says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you", or when He says that "our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all", she can trust and have hope in that! My heart truly breaks for those without Him...for those with no hope, with no anchor when everything around them feels like it's coming apart. Aly - I would give anything to reverse what you are going through, but know that He IS using this situation in your life to bring Him glory. Others have and will continue to see this Hope that you have and my prayer is that their hearts will be so drawn to the Him that they see in you.
I know many of you have already been lifting up Alyson and my plea is that you would continue to do so. She has made much progress but still has more to go. Doctors are still trying to determine the cause of her stroke and at the moment, she is still battling some major side effects. As she would say, "My God is all knowing, all powerful and all good so I know He will use this to His good." Words to live by right there. :)