There are those people in life that you meet and you bond with them. It doesn’t mean any of your other friends are less important. It simply means this friendship is different.
When I first met Jessica I had recently had a new baby who was back in the hospital with a mystery infection after being completely healthy at birth. When I met Jessica I was exhausted and had only one friend because I was so new to Oklahoma. When I met Jessica I was coming off of the worst summer of my life to date. From hand-foot-and-mount disease to a getting fleas while camping, the whole summer felt like a mess. I was emotional, not working out, not eating right, pumping 8 times a day to keep up with milk supply, lived no where near family and didn’t know how to cope with the trauma I had experienced with a rough baby delivery, postpartum depression, Taggart’s infection at 10 days old and the hospital experience while still having two other small children at home. I don’t even know how many times I sat crying on my kitchen floor, went for sometimes days without even knowing the last time I ate or showered, and was terrified to even unpack the boxes we’d moved here with because I was afraid the internship Jared had wouldn’t turn into a job and we would be moving for the 10th time in less than 6 years with three little kids. Y’all, I was a wreck and my faith was struggling. All I could focus on was keeping myself moving forward one day at a time. Sound pathetic? Maybe. But, the reality was hard to swallow and I felt like I was failing. When I met Jessica, this was MY life.
What I didn’t know is when I first met Jessica is that she too had recently had a young child in the hospital for a transplant for a liver condition. She was tired and emotionally exhausted after years of fighting the illness and years of being in the hospital with one and having two other small children at home. She was struggling to keep her head above water. And you know what, when I met Jessica, she lent me her strength to get through one of the hardest times of MY life. She didn’t focus on her struggle. She just served.
It was a few weeks after meeting Jessica when I realized what all she was going through.
I. Was. Shocked.
I felt selfish for needing her strength when I should have been the one to be lending my strength. I felt selfish for not helping lighten her burden. I felt selfish because I was weak and couldn’t find a way to cope. I felt selfish for not being more.
But, Jessica never once made me feel so. She never made me feel unimportant, like my struggle wasn’t worth it because she had her own burdens to carry. She listened, comforted, let me cry, and helped me to pick myself back up again when I was ready and at many times since. To this day she is one of the kindest people I know. Her resilience and strength as a mother is inspiring. Watching Jessica as a wife, mother and friend help me want to be better than I am today.
Jessica is the woman I strive to become.