Sunshine in the Valley

humor and encouragement from my heart to yours

Surprised by Love Part 1

on June 12, 2013

Ever had life seemingly change in the blink of an eye? You get used to it being just the way it’s always been….and then suddenly everything is different. That happened to me. And my poor little blog was sadly left in the dust!

But here I am again, picking back up where I so suddenly left off, and trying to figure out how to condense the events of the past year into a readable post! I think I have an idea though….everyone loves a good love story, right? :)

Well…this is mine. My very own, real-life, fairytale romance. I get starry-eyed just thinking about it!

But that is not how it began. No, no…..long before “happily ever after”, there was a dark, dark road…..darker than any previously known before to myself or My Love. It was a road that looked endless, with no light in sight, leading into the valley of loss and grief and suffering. Thankfully my story does not end there…..because God had a different plan! But I’m getting ahead of myself…..

My story begins, really, where my blog abruptly ended. Lyme disease began to get the better of me, big time, and I was sick. Very sick. I missed a lot of work, and then had to go on short-term disability and spent the majority of my time in bed, cared for by my sweet little sister day and night. I had a lot of time to pray and think, and a certain situation grabbed much of my thoughts and prayers throughout this time. A sweet patient of ours had been diagnosed with leukemia just one year after her precious little son was born, and it was bad. Really bad. So many people were heartbroken for this dear family, especially as time passed and she grew more and more desperately sick. I remembered her from the clinic, and what a sweet person she always was. I begged God to heal Amy, and to help her family, and I kept up-to-date on her condition by reading her husband’s blog (which a good friend of theirs had told me about). Josh’s deep love for his wife flowed through every word. I was amazed by the beautiful bond they obviously shared, and marveled at his strong faith in the midst of this unimaginable trial. He was likely losing the person who was dearest in the world to him, yet his faith in God never wavered. He clung to His promises, and faithfully gave updates on her condition every day. HE was the one needing encouragement, yet I came away from every post receiving spiritual encouragement myself….yet with a keen sense of sorrow for all they were enduring, especially Amy. I felt for them all the more deeply because of my own health crisis. My suffering was nothing compared to hers in many ways, yet I knew what it was to be terribly sick with no end in sight, and it drove me to pray fervently for them. I found myself particularly moved by a certain post, and started to leave a comment, but hesitated. I almost felt like I was intruding on a very personal time in their lives by saying *anything*, as a stranger….but then again, as a blogger, I knew how encouraging it was to receive comments, especially to know that others were praying. I left the comment and continued to pray.

Then the day came when Josh posted that God had taken Amy home. Her suffering was over, and she was with the Savior she loved. The news was heartbreaking. It was so hard to understand why God did not heal her. Countless thousands of prayers had gone up for her healing, and we knew God was able….so why didn’t He? It’s an age-old question, and the only way I knew to deal with it was simply to acknowledge that He is sovereign, and in that sovereignty chose that she should live with Him. She was certainly in a better place, but my heart ached for her husband and son, and parents and in-laws she left behind. Josh’s faith in the midst of it all, again, was an inspiration to me as I faced my own battles, and I continued to read his blog. His heart was laid bare during that time, for all the world to see, and I knew that the Lord was receiving much glory from the testimony he maintained in the midst of the darkness of grief and loss. I didn’t know him from Adam, and never expected to, but the Lord used his words to help me. I left a couple more comments on his blog, but certainly never expected to hear back from him. I leave comments all the time on blogs, and rarely does the author contact me! But I was in for a surprise….. :)

What I did not realize was that since we both have Word Press blogs, my comment linked back to my own blog. As Josh went through and began replying to comments a few weeks after Amy’s death (he’s one of the few bloggers I know who does that, ha), he found my blog and began reading it.  Recognizing a fellow believer going through a fiery trial, he reached out to me in a short email, thanking me for my prayers for his family and asking if there was any way he could pray for me as well since he saw that I was sick. He felt the same empathy I had, upon hearing of Amy’s trial. I was very touched, and wrote back, sharing with him my latest prayer needs and asking if there was any further way I could pray for him too. I was astonished that he would even think of taking on someone else’s burdens while dealing with such a heavy one of his own! But that’s Josh. He always thinks of others!

Thus began a friendship. :) I was surprised by how quickly he opened up to me, and how easy it was to talk to him in return. When you hit rock bottom as we had, you’re just very real. You cut through the silly stuff that so often comprises ordinary conversation, and get straight to the heart of the matter. We both found that it almost seemed easier to talk to an “outsider” about these things than to those closer to us who would be more affected by our pain. We were just very open with each other, and I think that is why we “clicked” so quickly. We were two believers, enduring the darkest times of our lives, and God used that open, often raw correspondence to help us both in ways we could never have imagined. Josh was mourning the loss of his love, and balking at any sense of returning normalcy. I, on the other hand, was mourning the loss of my health, and longing for that sense of normalcy to be restored. Both the similarity and difference of our situations made us remarkably suited to encourage and uplift each other, and we quickly became very good friends. We wrote to each other every day, and his emails began to be the highlight of my day. I was stuck at home thanks to increasing seizures and weakness, and it was so refreshing to be able to talk to someone who understood so well!

We began discovering that we had an extraordinary amount of other things in common, as well. We shared a love of music…the same beliefs about God and viewpoints of suffering….liked the same movies/books….both loved to hike but disliked sports….and that barely scratches the surface. It was rather…..eery. :) When we began talking on the phone, we would sometimes talk for hours, yet it felt like only minutes! I began to realize that Joshua Grenier was a kindred spirit….and it totally confused me because I thought only girls could be kindred spirits, lol. But no, he definitely was, and in time became my best friend! We talked about serious things, silly things, and everything in between. Neither of us expected anything to “happen” romantically because the timing was totally wrong. I was very sick and he was very much in sorrow. No way! We were only just friends, and would stay that way.

Or so we thought….

(to be continued…)

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7 responses to “Surprised by Love Part 1

  1. Pamela says:

    Lydia, you should turn this into a book! You are an excellent writer and I can tell this is going to be a great story.

  2. I can’t wait to read Part 2! ;)
    What a neat story…

  3. Sherry Baxley says:

    Lydia, I love your story! I keep up with you on facebook and have loved seeing you so happy!
    I’m so glad you are sharing your story with us and I have to admit I was very curious to know how it all came about. God always has something far better for us than we could ever imagine or ask for. You’ve got a wonderful husband and a beautiful boy in one lovely package and I think it’s great! Love and prayers, Sherry Baxley (Como, TX)

  4. Reblogged this on GreenEars and Sham and commented:
    Enjoy this new post on my wife’s blog….She has been so busy caring for Benaiah and me that she hasn’t been able to take the time to write on it until lately. She has had the itch for a while, so I encouraged her to think of a topic she loved and just start writing again slowly….and so she chose to write about US and it just came pouring out. I am very proud of her and astonished by how great a writer she really is! Enjoy!

  5. Charity says:

    Well, I ‘ve heard it from you first hand, but I love reading it too! So much heart in your writing. Thankful to know such a sweet couple. <3 Charity

  6. Lindsey Drain says:

    Lydia, as a friend and co-worker of Amy’s and a follower of Josh’s blog as well, I am pleased to “meet” you! I have heard Josh’s side of this remarkable story, but it is fascinating to hear yours! Please do continue! And thank you for taking care of Josh and Benaiah. I know Amy is smiling from heaven and thanking you too! -Lindsey Drain

  7. Gayle says:

    Can’t wait to hear “the rest of the story”

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