Life is interesting.
Five years ago this summer I met a woman visiting Ohio from Iowa.
Before that evening, I didn't know her and she didn't know me.
After that evening, we never crossed paths again.
But she has been a huge influence in my life, simply by a few simple sentences.
We were at the same house for a cookout and only had spoke for a few minutes briefly that evening.
That was the extent of our relationship.
At that point in my life, I was still with Randy.
Only a small handful of people knew how horrible abusive he was. He was slowly killing me and I was in an emotional pit of mire.
There was a brief moment that evening, he stepped away from me. She looked at me and said "I know he's abusive to you. But don't worry. Someday you will get out from under it and over come it. I can tell you are a strong person under it all."
I didn't know how to respond.
I couldn't believe someone could read my secret.
It wasn't shame I felt.
It was hope.
That there was a glimmer of light that I could survive this.
It was a few weeks later, other things transpired, other friends spoke hope and I was able to stand up and escape his grip.
I never remembered that woman's name or exactly where she was from. I knew she was a cousin to some friends of mine in Ohio, but other than that, I didn't know who she was.
Tonight, a friend, here in Connecticut, asked me over to her house...her sister was here and she wanted to have a few people over.
I saw this woman at church today and I knew that it was her...
Tonight when I was able to talk to her and spend some time with her, it was confirmed that it was, in fact, her that spoke hope to me so many years ago.
What amazes me, is that this August is five years I stood up for myself. I usually 'celebrate' another year of overcoming this horror by going out to dinner with a friend. This year I decided to 'celebrate' the entire month.
Not celebrate the breaking of a marriage, but the survival of a family. We might be short a male figure in this family, but we are not short anything else. We have love, we have peace, we have hope.
In 'celebrating' this five year mark, I have taken a walk down memory lane to that summer of 2009....a lifetime ago. And in that walk, this woman was part of my thoughts...and here she 'shows up'. Just in time to celebrate with me. To see me on the other side of the abuse.
Had to be a God thing. No doubt.
She didn't remember the conversation...but I did. I remembered the hope and strength she offered me.
It made me think how powerful our words are. We can destroy a person with our sharp tongues. But we can also save a person with the same lips. We can give them courage and hope.
This month instead of focusing on myself and what I overcame, I'm going to celebrate this month by building up my friends...encouraging them and giving them hope.
Will you join me in my month of 'celebrating'? Will you tell someone something encouraging? Will you do that for me?