As 2022 fades into the dawn of 2023, I’m nostalgic, scrolling through the never-posted photos on my iPhone–birthdays, sporting events, time with friends. I have so much trouble posting anything these days—partly limited time, partly because photos never tell the whole story, can’t even come close. I struggle with social media’s inability to capture our full humanity and the ease with which we humans crop out our raw selves to preserve a pretty image.
This year I’ve been most encouraged not by public memes, blog posts, or podcasts, but by friends who know my raw reality and speak into it with wisdom and grace.
Sheila is one of those friends—we’ve laughed, cried, and prayed together through the delightfully frightening years of raising teen boys. She’s the one who, only this fall when I was tempted to believe lies about myself and God, interrupted me mid-sentence with: “Stop! Who cares what [others] think or say. Your confidence is in Christ. Silence the lies! God is writing your story—you have his promises!” Sheila’s blunt re-direction to Christ was exactly what my heart needed in that moment, and I’m deeply grateful for her courage.
Then there’s my Italian friend, Shari, sending me humorous day-in-the life pics of parenting little girls adopted out of severe trauma. In the midst of her own frayed-end days, Shari makes space to share her heart and pray with me: “No wonder Christ says each day has enough worries of its own! Ha! I just look to the next important thing and so on, to get through the day, lest I be completely overwhelmed! Praying much today . . . entering the throne room, leaning against it awhile, sitting on the floor like a child safe by her Dad—and learning just to be!”
Throughout 2022, my hubby’s witty humor in the face of human weakness—mine, his, and everyone else’s—reminds me that God delights in his children, flaws and all. Jon pauses busy days to banter with our daughter, goof with our boys, and chase me around the house for a kiss. The mere fact that God paired a rational over-thinker (him) with a scattered empath (me) illustrates God’s humor. Jon and I are each other’s live-in entertainment.
Then this past summer, when old family wounds reared their head, and I faced difficult professional dilemmas, my ‘retired’ counselor-friend, Ruth, offered her listening ear. The gift of space to share my burdens is not something I experienced with my own mother. Ruth sacrificing time for me was a redemptive act—Christ parenting me through her tender care.
A few weeks ago, my friend of 25 years, April, called me up for one of our regular phone dates. A voracious reader, foster mom, and biblical feminist who’s not afraid to speak up for the marginalized and abused in the body of Christ, April carries a fearless thoughtfulness. So, when I shared my current struggle to rest in Christ as I face the dark realties of human suffering, she sent me this reflection:
“Studying Colossians 3:15 tonight. I found this version to be clarifying, and . . made me think of you learning to find rest in Jesus: ‘Let the Shalom—peace—which comes from the Messiah be your heart’s decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be a part of a single Body [of believers].’ Bec, you are chosen, holy, and beloved. Because of this true identity, you can live as described in the rest of the passage. Love you.”
In 2022, these friends—and many others left unnamed—offered me comfort from their unique personalities, sufferings, and stories of learning to depend on Christ.
Each offered the truth that Christ gives peace in the midst of our fears, questions, and doubts. Each imitated Christ in how they drew near to listen, understand, and simply be with me.
Each lived the reality of Christ “comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
So, as we press into 2023, I’m wondering—how has Christ comforted you in 2022 and who is he calling you to comfort in the year to come?
For fun and the friends who wish I posted more often–the Blomker Family, 2022, in no particular order:)