The other day I received a phone call from a friend whose family has also endured her husband’s layoff and months-long job search. She is a person of strong faith herself and she calls me from time to time just to check in, even though I don’t see her much. I’ve been blessed with a strong support system, but this friend’s calls give me an extra measure of encouragement, simply because she has been there, and she understands my frustration, anger and anxiety. When she says, “I know how you feel,” she really does know how I feel.
I’ve always realized that trials strengthen and enrich us. But I realize that it’s not enough for trials to strengthen me — I’m called to use them to strengthen and encourage others as well, which is what my friend has done for me. I’ve been so focused on myself and my struggles that I had forgotten that I receive comfort so that I can in turn comfort and support others.