Sunday, September 13, 2009

Maryland Friends

One of the best things from last year if not the best are the people that God brought into my life. I moved to Maryland not knowing what to expect about anything and all I can say is that I experienced God's blessing more abundantly than I ever could have asked or imagined through these dear friends.

The day we moved into our  town house Helen Lowe came over with a loaf of friendship bread. My head was in the clouds at the time and I was utterly exhausted so I don't remember much of our first interaction other than her kindness and how cute she was: short, blond and six months pregnant. My second memory of Helen was on a Sunday afternoon and we were sitting outside while the kids and husbands were playing something. That was when I first learned of Matt's brain tumor and first experienced Helen's incredible faith in God. I was amazed at her acceptance of whatever the Lord had for her and her family. Matt and Helen had moved from Michigan a few years prior. They had left a beautiful home, their life, family and friends to be apart of Covenant Life Church. At the present time Matt had already undergone two brain surgeries and sometimes frequent, sudden seizures. Matt and Helen have six, wonderful, vivacious, creative and loving children (she was preg. w/ the sixth when I met her). During that Sunday afternoon conversation with Helen my heart was immediately knit to  hers. I told Eric that I didn't think I'd be able to move away from Maryland in June and leave her and this was only one week after being there. In my journal I wrote that I had wondered if the real reason God had us in Maryland was because of the Lowes. It was a highlight of the year to help Helen and Matt and to have the oppurtunity to know and love their family. I miss her so much. I miss making a pot of coffee in the afternoon and taking it over to her house only to be continually interrupted by Ollie. I miss encouraging each other on South Beach and talking about how much weight we were going to loose. I miss watching her kids and listening to the boys talk about "Clone Wars" or building Legos together. I miss Emma coming over for a very short lived math class but always apologizing for being too early or too late. I miss Ollie always wanting to give Annie a treat and Dalton being Dalton. I miss our double dates, hanging out on Sunday nights as couples, coming over for a glass of wine after a long day, Matt's friendship with Eric and just living life together as neighbors. 
Betsy Ricucci is one the most encouraging people I have ever met. What's truly special about her encouragement is that it is entirely and completely built on a solid understanding and genuine belief in the gospel. She truly is amazing the way she builds others up. If you were to share in a ladies meeting something your were struggling with - her focus wouldn't be on your sin but on the reality that God is at work in you, showing you your sin, bringing conviction and that it is the same spirit and power that is showing you that is going to help you. She'd be so excited and rejoicing with you at God's work in your life and heart. She's the ultimate cheerleader in faith, hope and godliness. The first time I met Betsy was at a lunch for the wives. She stood at the door with a big grin, a hug, communicated gratefulness to all of us for our sacrifice to come and then she said "I so look forward to learning from you" What? Well at the end of the year Betsy and Gary had a list of all the things that they had learned from each of us. I was awed by their humility and belief that because God was at work in each of us that there were real ways to encourage us. Betsy is, as someone said last year, one of the most quotable people you want to write down. If I wasn't in a conversation with her then I wanted to listen to her in a conversation with someone else. I'd be encouraged, faith and hope would be built because she was always sharing victorious truths of the gospel. I had met Julie Purswel years ago but didn't really know her. I am so grateful for the oppurtunity to become friends with her. Julie, like Betsy, is also very kind, encourgaing and gracious. The first week at Pastors' College I received a birthday card and journal from her. That was the first of notes, offers to pray and encouragement that I would receive. Watching Julie up close was a treat. Her love for her husband, Jeff and her two boys was joyful and lively. She was an encouragment how she served her family and especially how she released Jeff to serve the College, Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries. Again, her life and actions were because of a deep love for her Saviour, to bring him pleasure with her life and a love for others which was manifested in the many ways she sacrifices of herself for those whom Christ shed his blood. I don't even think she considers her life a sacrifice but rather a joy and priviledge to serve.
Jen Lockhart (Good Friends post) was another PC wife and neighbor. I really, really miss Jen so much and if I think about if for more than a nano-second I get all weepy. Jen, like Helen, was one of those people you could just hang with. I loved finishing up school, letting the kids loose and getting to visit with Jen. She is so humble and laid back. Jen would always be asking questions about stuff and my favorite that she would regular ask was just "what are you having for dinner tonight". Everyday, Sarah would want to go over to Jen's to play with Ezra and Ella and most days she did go over. When we left Maryland it was so hard for us to say goodbye to the Lockhart family. Sarah cried for weeks and had set up what Rachel and I called the "Lockhart altar" with their family picture. She's doing better......on most days. 
Amanda Jordan and Tiffany Hansen were in my fellowship group last year. I am so grateful that the three of us were put together. I was encouraged and provoked all year by these ladies humility, faith and wisdom. Though our times to get together were sporadic I really, really miss it and them. Unfortunately, they both happen to live very far - Texas and Arizona so I won't be able to catch up with them any time soon. Missing all the dear friends that God blessed me with last year makes me long for Heaven when we'll all be "home" together.


Heatherelle said...

Marie, those were such wonderful tributes to your Maryland friends. I'm glad the Lord blessed you so abundantly during your time at the PC, and that those friendships can continue long-distance. And I know I'm no Helen, but I'd love to share an afternoon pot of coffee with you, anytime! Love you!

Rebekah Judd said...

No wonder you loved Maryland! We just came back from visiting Jen and are praying she has the same things to say about her friends next year. I don't even like coffee, but I'd do it for you, Marie =)

Matt Lowe said...

okay, that was too much. I'm sitting here bawling! I miss you so much friend. It's just not home here without our Hughes family. Know we love you all and although we don't do life together right now, you are still very much part of our lives.
love you!