If my memory serves me correctly I first met Glaphre' (Glay-free) Gilliland when I was 35 years old. I couldn't have possibly known it then but she was going to change the course of my life.
Glaphre', by all accounts, was a true woman of faith. A published author and highly sought out speaker in her day, she was soft spoken and possessed a child-like giggle that would make even the grumpiest of old men smile. By the time I met her in person she had already been ill for many, many years. Bedridden from a disease I can't even pronounce, she would eventually become my mentor and one of my dearest friends.
Deeply loved and admired by both family and friends, Glaphre' loved God and she loved people...and she loved me. It was as simple and yet amazing as that. It was easy for me to get lost in conversation when sitting by her bedside and over the eleven years I knew her, despite obvious pain from her affliction, I never once heard her complain. Early in our friendship I innocently asked her if she hoped for a cure, dreamed of getting well...and...if she believed God would ever heal her. Her gentle smile wasn't taken back by my forward question and her reply was one I should have expected for someone who possessed such an immeasurable amount of faith...
"Of course I want to be healed. I pray for it every day, Beck! But I trust and believe God has a purpose for my life either way."
Glaphre' would call me at least once a month and being the big mouth that I am I was always eager to share with her my latest makeover project or design. She loved being in 'the loop'. She never wanted to talk about her life, only mine. My guy, my kids and my work and my...my...well...my everything. Because she was home-bound I think she especially loved hearing about our little vacations, new places to shop, the latest feminine fashions, great food, and of course, home decor. Like me, she loved pink. But...only in it's softest, sweetest shade...
One day in early March 2003 I found myself on the doorstep of my faithful friend. Things in my life weren't going so well and I was in a deep, profound depression. I had just lost my job and my little family was experiencing something I'd prayed we'd never, ever have to face. I don't recall much about that visit except for laying across the foot of Glaphre's hospital style bed and sobbing like I was five. I remember when I finally quieted myself down enough to understand what was going on around me I found my friend praying softly by my side. She didn't try to make me feel better...we both knew I wasn't going to for a long, long time. Instead she held my hand while lifting me up to the Most High. She believed in the power of prayer and even though physical healing never did come for Glaphre' the prayers she sent up to heaven in my behalf took my life in a new direction. As the years passed I came to realize that what I thought would be a source of hurt and sorrow would one day become one of my greatest joys.
This past week I set aside a bit of down-time and re-read one of the books penned by my long-suffering friend. She's been gone for five years now and I miss her so very much. Today, more than any other day, I understand that one of God's greatest gifts in my life was Glaphre' herself. She taught me how to crawl beyond the protective box that so often surrounded my heart, assess my strengths, accept my imperfections while allowing God the honor of making something beautiful from the scraps of my life.
Blessings to you today as you trust the Most High to make all the difference 'when the pieces don't fit...'
Love to you~