Gloria and I met for the first time on a hot summer afternoon several years ago when I stepped outside my apartment to water my flowers. Gloria and her family were new to the community, and when she saw me outside she came over to introduce herself. We chatted about life and our families. We only had a few minutes to visit before I needed to go inside to rest, but a friendship had begun. Little did I know how incredible Gloria’s friendship would be in months to come.
We were only able to visit together one or two more times before my health took a severe turn for the worse. My chronic illness had slowly been growing worse that year, but by the time fall came, I was so weak and fatigued that I was confined to bed for 22 hours or more each day.
My husband had already been taking care of all of the shopping, cooking, and cleaning in our home. Suddenly I was no longer able to help out even a little, and the burden of keeping the household running fell to him completely. He had two young children and a primarily bed-ridden wife who needed his daily care, and he needed to manage all of this while also attending seminary. We were overwhelmed, and we were very grateful for our church and friends who stepped in to relieve some of our burden.
Even though we were new friends, Gloria came by to visit me when she heard I was so ill. Then she went above and beyond anything I ever expected from a brand new friend. She offered to help us by bringing a meal to our family every Wednesday evening, by taking our son to Awana on Sunday evenings, and by taking care of our two young children each Thursday afternoon.
I never expected a new friend to be so committed to a friendship with me! Gloria was intentional in loving my family and me well. After a few weeks I let her know that I was doing a little better and that she didn’t have to keep bringing meals each week. But she knew that it would be helpful for us, and she insisted on continuing to help. She brought a meal each week until we moved away nine months later. And she didn’t just bring a meal for one night; there were always leftovers that lasted for two more meals! It was a huge gift and a big help to my family.
Gloria also insisted on continuing to care for our children on Thursday afternoons. She was a busy mom with three children of her own, and a baby on the way, but she gladly gave of herself to help our family in our time of need. Those Thursday afternoons gave my husband much-needed time to study, and they gave me much-needed time to rest in a quiet apartment.
Gloria loved me and served me in a time when I had nothing to give in return except for my gratitude. I will always be thankful for her service and pursuit of friendship during my very hard days and months. Now that we live in different states, we don’t get to see each other very often, but we still keep in touch. I pray for her regularly, and I thank the Lord for the blessing of this kind, generous, and faithful friend.
Do you have a friend who has served you in a sacrificial way? How have you served a friend self-sacrificially?
Rachel Lundy is a wife and mother of two children. She lives with dysautonomia, a condition that leaves her mostly homebound. She writes at Cranberry Tea Time about life with a chronic illness and the hope and joy she has in Christ.