IMG_2191  “If you question who would surround you during suffering but don’t know the answer, now is the time to begin growing those friendships.Facing the hardship together is so much better than facing it alone.”

Just Show Up: the dance of walking through suffering together.

~Kara Tippetts & Jill Lynn Buteyn

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I am surrounded by community. Wonderful, giving, selfless community.

These are the people who walk with me through the hard and the messy. Hold me up when the need arises.

I am in that season. The season of messy and hard. The season of needing.

And I am stubborn, independent, and just plain mule~headed.

I am quick to say no to offers of picking me up and taking me places. I am agonizingly slow. I need you to carry my bag, my gatorade, to know where the emergency meds are, and how to call my husband. To understand I cannot stay “on hoof” very long, and once we get there, you may very well need to take me back home.

I am learning to open up to the neediness.

In the opening up I am surrounded. Embraced. Filled.

Embraced by those who just show up.

Show up with a rented, lightweight wheelchair, so as not to deal with the transferring of Zippy the motorized scooter. Willing to take me anywhere I longed to go.

They planned ahead, they plotted, they prodded, insisted I wear real clothes! Smile. That part was a stretch, I tell you!

They are close to my suffering.

Often finding me in comfy pajamas and fuzzy socks. Content to simply set with me. Bring me soup and brownies.

Having walked through their own seasons of hard, I feel safe with them. Their patience overwhelms.Their love, tender and unyielding.

They have seen me at my strongest. We have pounded out miles with each other. Crossed finish lines together. Met at the track for speed work. Raced up hills.

Shared coffee at Starbucks. Doubled over in laughter.

Today, they embrace me in the hard and the fragile. I let them in. I am blessed.

As we laughed and giggled, loaded up a shopping cart at Trader Joe’s, I am reminded, these are the times God reveals the sweetness of his provision for me.

I was gifted a bouquet of fresh cut flowers by the produce man. Just because.

The flowers brighten, bringing sunshine into my space.

Provision in the wilderness.

Audio books handpicked and delivered from the library. My Soul Sister calling me afterwards, excitement in her voice. Sharing what she had chosen, how much fun she had doing this for me.

It was no small, ordinary thing; the picking out and delivering of books. It was big to me.

…I will see the the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13~NIV

The goodness of the Lord reaches through the goodness of friends. They have cared for me in my neediness. Accepted me in my frailty. Listened when I have whined. Encouraged when I am discouraged. Laughed at my wicked humor.

In her book, Roots and Sky, Christie Purifoy says, “In the wilderness we lost some things and surrendered others.”

I have lost a plenty, surrendered much. Empty spaces hollowed out.

In the hollowing, there is filling. The slipping away of strength gives way to leaning.

Days I wondered where God was when the crumbling began.

He was watching over me, preparing the wilderness. Providing me with lasting friendships. Not the superficial, the tangible ones. Growing my community, surrounding me with those who embrace in the hard.

The ones who show up. One phone call, one text, a tremor in my voice brings them to this place.

Though their life moves on as mine sits still, they are here with me.

Those who love, when your dignity has been misplaced. Your vulnerabilities, on display.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…Hebrews 12:1~ESV

Today…we still run the race. Together. I ride, they push. They embrace. They show up.

Graced by God 

Tammy Mashburn

other places you may find me…

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