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hands, candle

We sat around a table on the back patio. Eating tacos and sharing stories throughout the evening. Good-hearted belly laughter weaved its way into every story told. Soon, my boys abandoned their dinner plates to wrestle in the grass as us grown-ups; my husband, myself and a long time friend, lingered over chips and homemade salsa.

We’ve shared life for many, many years with our friend. We knew each other in the past, and we know each other in the present—and we have offered grace to one another in the evolution from the then to now. And as the candles flickered brighter in the night our friend turned the conversation toward his heart.

He told his story.

And for several years we’ve listened to his story. We’ve heard his hurt, his pain, his heartbreak. And we’ve prayed restoration over him and clung to Hope for him. But tonight it was clear his story was moving into a new place—a healing place.

Because God doesn’t want us to live in the place of a broken hallelujah, he wants us to move into a healed hallelujah. It’s the healed hallelujah that gives evidence to the work God has done in our lives. And God was moving our friend into a new season of release—releasing him into a new chapter of his story.

“I didn’t want anyone, for you… to think…”

His voice trailed off, and tears got caught in my throat.

“Don’t start crying,” he said to me.

Tears welled up in my eyes because of the answered prayer for restoration—it was not the way we had hoped this answered prayer would look, but sometimes healing means letting go and moving forward.

And then he said something to me and my husband–something that resonated deep in my heart.

“The Krämer’s stayed with me through all of it.”

We. Stayed.

We stayed through a friend’s mess. We opened our doors. We fed him meals. We had him make us meals. We encouraged him. We were available to him. We listened with all our hearts. And when we didn’t know which way the story would end—we stayed.

There is power in staying.

I understood the tears coming through the words of my friend. There is something holy and sacred about those who stay with you in your mess. I know this from my own journey. I am forever changed because of my staying friends. They link arms with me through the depths of my brokenness—as well as celebrate the victories of my healing. And through every moment, whether high or low—they stayed.

I thought about many things as we said our good-byes to our friend that night. I was encouraged by the journey this man walked. He never hid in his man-cave. He too stayed. He stayed faithful to his healing process. He stayed in community. And now he is giving back and staying with others to guide them in their own healing journey.

And as my husband and I turned in for the night, I reflected on my own life. My mess. My healing. My journey. And many faces came to the front of my mind. The faces of dear friends who graciously stayed with me on my journey, and as a result, they taught me how to be a staying-kind-of-friend. And then what I’ve always known to be true rang louder than ever.

We were never meant to live this life alone. Not without God or each other. We were meant to journey the mess and the heartache together—and always with grace.

Grace—it’s the staying power of every relationship.


Grace to you on your journey, Laura


Share a time your life was impacted by a friend who stayed. Are you a staying kind of friend—or do you avoid and run when things get hard?

Here or somewhere…be real. Share your journey.