After battling depression and an eating disorder for more than two decades, many (including mental health professionals) believed I might never get well. My hope was fading.
Then the phone rang.
“Hi, Sheryl,” my sister Kathy said. “I want you to live with me until you get back on your feet.”
Tears of gratitude streamed down my face. Kathy wasn’t giving up on me. Her invitation represented the type of love found in this week’s section of 1 Corinthians 13. “[Love] hopes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7c ESV). Or as the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition states it,
[Love’s] hopes are fadeless under all circumstances.
My sister’s gesture gave me the courage to hope again. A few weeks later, I met Joan at the church I attended in my new city. She kept me laughing and never allowed the stress of my instability to keep her from including me in her life. I’m also thankful for my other siblings’ encouraging phone calls, especially Teri’s, who often visited and sent care packages while I was in one hospital after another. Finally, I’ll always remember Aunt JoAnne, who never stopped praying for and encouraging me to get the help I needed.
I’ve dedicated this week’s column to these special people – and to many others who stood with me as I fought to break free from that long, painfully-dark season.To those who believed in an all-powerful God for Whom nothing is too difficult – even when “nothing” included me.
I know I wouldn’t be enjoying healthy relationships (including my marriage to Bert), working for Wave 94, writing this weekly column, and managing all life’s stresses if it wasn’t for those who refused to give up hope for me so many years ago.
Life is complicated and often stressful. When we’re blessed to have people who love us with the God-kind of love – people who refuse to throw in the towel after most people have forgotten there ever was a towel – our lives become simpler. More manageable. More livable.
If you’re feeling hopeless today, I encourage you to seek people who won’t lose hope for you. If you’re in a stable place, consider allowing God to use you to be there for someone else. This isn’t always easy, especially when they push you away. But find ways to stay in touch.
Something as simple as inviting them to watch a lighthearted Netflix movie with you can help create a non-pressuring, safe climate – and an open door into their lives.
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