Stories that Matter

Get Back Up ~ Dedicated To My Friend Sandie

You should know, I am a die-hard GWTW fan. I’ve lost track now exactly how many times I’ve watched the movie. But I have read the book only once. I’m thinking I need to rectify that.

The GWTW experience for me began as a lonely and homesick thirteen-year old wandering the musty maze of books housed in the library at my boarding school in the south of England. It was there I was introduced to Austin and Dickens and Tolkien, and eventually stumbled upon what had to be the biggest book my hands had ever held. Gone With The Wind.

As I approached our librarian, a fussy little man whose name escapes me, I felt as though I’d discovered the Holy Grail. He was not as impressed. “Are you sure?”

I remember those words today as though they were just uttered. The insinuation behind them still smarts. I was too young. The book was long. I would never get through it, let alone understand it.

But I did. I read it cover to cover, every spare moment I had, and devoured every word. And Scarlett O’Hara was forever emblazoned in my heart as Margaret Mitchell was in my head, and I knew then, though perhaps I didn’t quite realize it, what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Someone who never gives up.

Say what you will about Scarlett, Melanie fans, but you’ve got to give her this. She’s tenacious to a fault, yet she always gets what she wants. Well, perhaps not always. She didn’t end up with Ashley or Rhett, although I do take some license with the ending and envision her eventually reuniting with Rhett once she has finally grown into the woman he always knew she could be. But through every hardship and set back, she got back up.

And oh, that’s hard. Ask me how I know.

It’s hard because so much is unknown. Once you’ve failed, what else is there? Once you’ve lost your dream, had it even and watched it slip away, perhaps through no fault of your own, do you keep trying? Can you?

Some days my answer is no. No, I can’t and I don’t want to. Because it’s too hard. And honestly, sometimes it seems pointless. How many times, Lord? How many times?

As many as it takes. 

That’s it. That’s the answer I keep hearing again and again, every time life takes an unexpected turn. Every time I want to give it all up because I’ve convinced myself I can’t go any further.

I’ve had a hard month. I lost a lovely friend a few weeks ago. Her death was unexpected and blindsided the writing community she was so much a part of.

15085513_10153881799345899_848265414234336389_n

My friend Sandie Bricker knew all about getting back up. She did it time and time again and held out a hand to lift others up right along with her. She was full of fun and light and laughter and loved harder than most. She was a true champion and she loved Jesus. Those of us who knew and loved her take comfort in knowing that. But the loss is real. And hard. And we will need time.

As I pondered some things yesterday, this feeling of not knowing what’s next and how it can too easily incapacitate me, I received three very clear messages. Two were from friends who really didn’t have a clue what I’ve been thinking these past weeks, how helpless I’ve been feeling, yet their words reminded me again that God is in control, just as He always has been. And last night, as I was scrolling through the long message thread between Sandie and I that started in 2011, I found this word from my friend.

“It won’t help right now. But later when you look back on this conversation and how you’re feeling, you’ll think I’m a genius. Ready for it? … God has a plan for you. You don’t need to figure it out or know the details. All you need to do is put your gift to work for him, throw it at the wall and let him figure out which one will stick.”

Oh. Okay then. I’ll be honest, I’m still wiping tears when I read her words.

But. Wow.

How I needed that yesterday. How I need this today. And everyday. Because life. Life is just hard sometimes. And I will fall. I will fail and I will wallow. And each day that happens, I will need to find the strength to get back up. I don’t have it. But He does.

And thank God. Thank God for that. Thank God for His strength and His grace and His love. Thank God for friends like Sandie. Friends who don’t let you stay down, friends who insist you get back up even if they have to kick your butt to get you to move. I am so blessed to have friends like that in my life. I was blessed to have her.

And today I think of you, my friends who don’t let me stay down. I thank you. I need you.

We’re in this together.

images

 

share:

34 Comments

  1. Elaine Stock on December 2, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Cathy, your words always find the way to my heart at the perfect time, when I need a reminder that He is in control… and I don’t need to know the details. Thank you.

    So sorry about the loss of your lovely friend. Though I didn’t know Sandie personally I’ve prayed for her. The news was a shock.

    Still… have a blessed Christmas.

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Thank you, Elaine. 🙂 I hope you are doing well and you have a great Christmas too! Not sure I’m ready for it but am trying to put the decorations up today!

  2. Elaine Stock on December 2, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Cathy, your words always find the way to my heart at the perfect time, when I need a reminder that He is in control… and I don’t need to know the details. Thank you.

    So sorry about the loss of your lovely friend. Though I didn’t know Sandie personally I’ve prayed for her. The news was a shock.

    Still… have a blessed Christmas.

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Thank you, Elaine. 🙂 I hope you are doing well and you have a great Christmas too! Not sure I’m ready for it but am trying to put the decorations up today!

  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on December 2, 2016 at 10:07 am

    What a lovely testament to your friend Sandie, Cathy. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on December 2, 2016 at 10:07 am

    What a lovely testament to your friend Sandie, Cathy. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Margie on December 2, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I was struck by the truth of these words as I read them, Cathy. Almost 11 years ago, I lost my precious son, Alex. For one of the first times in my life, I did not think I could get back up. So I went to my Bible with all my pain and grief and I studied the scriptures and I cried out to God to please not let me be one who mourned without hope….and I did have hope because Alex was very careful to make sure that he knew that he knew that he was saved….less than a month before he went home to Jesus. My problem was this….my need to be in control….I never wanted to lose control…but over the weeks, months, and even the first few years, God continually spoke these same words to my heart….”Look at My Son….Look at Jesus.” I found out that the more I looked at Jesus, the less I needed to be in control. What was there that I could not trust Him with?? I pondered this and found that there was absolutely nothing in my life that I could not entrust to Him….and so I began to let go…to let go of grasping after things I had no power over…to change my whole outlook even on praying for others….to pray as Jesus prayed….”not My will, but Thine be done.” Giving over the controls to Jesus has been the most freeing experience of my life…He has given me beauty for ashes….He has turned my mourning into laughter…He has restored the peace and joy to my spirit. Does this mean that I don’t love and miss my Alex every single day of my life?? No, but I do have peace and the assurance that one day, one day we will be together for eternity….the things on earth are temporal, but God says we will spend eternity with Him if we put our faith in Jesus. Praise God for such blessed assurance!!!

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Margie! Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts. I’m so sorry for what you had to go through losing your son, I can’t imagine. But I love how God used that season to draw you closer to him. You have a beautiful testimony to share. 🙂

  6. Margie on December 2, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I was struck by the truth of these words as I read them, Cathy. Almost 11 years ago, I lost my precious son, Alex. For one of the first times in my life, I did not think I could get back up. So I went to my Bible with all my pain and grief and I studied the scriptures and I cried out to God to please not let me be one who mourned without hope….and I did have hope because Alex was very careful to make sure that he knew that he knew that he was saved….less than a month before he went home to Jesus. My problem was this….my need to be in control….I never wanted to lose control…but over the weeks, months, and even the first few years, God continually spoke these same words to my heart….”Look at My Son….Look at Jesus.” I found out that the more I looked at Jesus, the less I needed to be in control. What was there that I could not trust Him with?? I pondered this and found that there was absolutely nothing in my life that I could not entrust to Him….and so I began to let go…to let go of grasping after things I had no power over…to change my whole outlook even on praying for others….to pray as Jesus prayed….”not My will, but Thine be done.” Giving over the controls to Jesus has been the most freeing experience of my life…He has given me beauty for ashes….He has turned my mourning into laughter…He has restored the peace and joy to my spirit. Does this mean that I don’t love and miss my Alex every single day of my life?? No, but I do have peace and the assurance that one day, one day we will be together for eternity….the things on earth are temporal, but God says we will spend eternity with Him if we put our faith in Jesus. Praise God for such blessed assurance!!!

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Margie! Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts. I’m so sorry for what you had to go through losing your son, I can’t imagine. But I love how God used that season to draw you closer to him. You have a beautiful testimony to share. 🙂

  7. Emily Conrad on December 2, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Isn’t it funny how that question — Are you sure? — sticks with us for so long? I still remember that, upon telling a poetry professor of mine I was getting married, she said, “Oh, honey, are you sure?” 12 years later, I’m glad I didn’t let that doubt dissuade me, and I’m glad you stuck with GWTW, too. What a wonderful message of resilience from Sandie. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Emily, that’s true. I have had that happen a few times where people questioned the decisions I was making, but at the end of the day, I knew if I was on the path God had for me then yes, I was sure. 🙂

  8. Emily Conrad on December 2, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Isn’t it funny how that question — Are you sure? — sticks with us for so long? I still remember that, upon telling a poetry professor of mine I was getting married, she said, “Oh, honey, are you sure?” 12 years later, I’m glad I didn’t let that doubt dissuade me, and I’m glad you stuck with GWTW, too. What a wonderful message of resilience from Sandie. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Emily, that’s true. I have had that happen a few times where people questioned the decisions I was making, but at the end of the day, I knew if I was on the path God had for me then yes, I was sure. 🙂

  9. 1bgpayne on December 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Cathy, I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.
    I did not know Sandie personally but have read her words, I’ve seen her posts on YouTube and even caught her doing a Facebook Live post while she was in her car.
    She was a true light in this world and now a shining star in Heaven. She left you with some good advice in that conversation.
    ~Andrea

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Sandie was so much fun! I am so blessed that God ordained our only in person meeting this past August at the ACFW conference in Nashville. Had I known that would be our one and only time together, I would have spent every minute with her! But as she said herself, God has a plan. I do miss her.

  10. 1bgpayne on December 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Cathy, I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.
    I did not know Sandie personally but have read her words, I’ve seen her posts on YouTube and even caught her doing a Facebook Live post while she was in her car.
    She was a true light in this world and now a shining star in Heaven. She left you with some good advice in that conversation.
    ~Andrea

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Sandie was so much fun! I am so blessed that God ordained our only in person meeting this past August at the ACFW conference in Nashville. Had I known that would be our one and only time together, I would have spent every minute with her! But as she said herself, God has a plan. I do miss her.

  11. kyomegirl on December 2, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you, Cathy, for your heartfelt message of encouragement. Sandie’s words bring tears to my eyes. I’m going to write them on a post-it and stick it on my computer as a daily reminder next to the one with Psalm 143:8 “I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      God was certainly using her! I am so grateful for the friendship, short as it was.

  12. kyomegirl on December 2, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you, Cathy, for your heartfelt message of encouragement. Sandie’s words bring tears to my eyes. I’m going to write them on a post-it and stick it on my computer as a daily reminder next to the one with Psalm 143:8 “I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      God was certainly using her! I am so grateful for the friendship, short as it was.

  13. Angela Jeffcott on December 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Beautiful and so timely. Thank you for these words of encouragement. And I’m a GWTW fan too. Read it at 13 because I loved the movie so much. I envied Scarlett’s ability to do whatever and not care what people think. I’m so much a people pleaser. She truly is a different type of heroine.

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      I think that’s why she appealed to so many. I definitely need to read the book again! The movie is wonderful but the written word is irreplaceable.

  14. Angela Jeffcott on December 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Beautiful and so timely. Thank you for these words of encouragement. And I’m a GWTW fan too. Read it at 13 because I loved the movie so much. I envied Scarlett’s ability to do whatever and not care what people think. I’m so much a people pleaser. She truly is a different type of heroine.

    • Cathy West on December 2, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      I think that’s why she appealed to so many. I definitely need to read the book again! The movie is wonderful but the written word is irreplaceable.

  15. Bonnie Roof on December 3, 2016 at 1:52 am

    Cathy, your heart-felt posts always speak to MY heart!!

    I never had the pleasure of knowing Sandie, online or off, but was honored to pray for her – in the last few weeks I’ve made a point of reading more about her, personally, and was inspired by her joy and testimony. I’m looking forward to reading her books also. I wish I had known she was at the ACFW conference and had had the pleasure of meeting her this past August.

    I feel God brings many people in and out of our lives – some for longer periods than others – in His own perfect timing. Each one to bless, teach, encourage, and inspire us in specific ways. I’m so grateful for many special friends He’s brought into mine- including you – and pray I use my time here on earth to reach out to those He has brought and brings into my life, whether directly or indirectly, in the way He would have me do. Blessings, prayers, and hugs!!

    • Cathy West on December 3, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Thank you so much, Bonnie! It is always lovely to hear from you! How are you doing? We must chat soon!! xo

      • Bonnie Roof on December 3, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        It was such a joy to meet and spend time with you in Nashville this past August, and an honor to read, review your book and be a member of your street team, Cathy!! Always a pleasure to chat with you – if you don’t catch me in conversation online please private message or email me at bonnieroof60@yahoo.com – at ANY time. I love to chat – as you can tell by my lengthy comments, LOL!!

  16. Bonnie Roof on December 3, 2016 at 1:52 am

    Cathy, your heart-felt posts always speak to MY heart!!

    I never had the pleasure of knowing Sandie, online or off, but was honored to pray for her – in the last few weeks I’ve made a point of reading more about her, personally, and was inspired by her joy and testimony. I’m looking forward to reading her books also. I wish I had known she was at the ACFW conference and had had the pleasure of meeting her this past August.

    I feel God brings many people in and out of our lives – some for longer periods than others – in His own perfect timing. Each one to bless, teach, encourage, and inspire us in specific ways. I’m so grateful for many special friends He’s brought into mine- including you – and pray I use my time here on earth to reach out to those He has brought and brings into my life, whether directly or indirectly, in the way He would have me do. Blessings, prayers, and hugs!!

    • Cathy West on December 3, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Thank you so much, Bonnie! It is always lovely to hear from you! How are you doing? We must chat soon!! xo

      • Bonnie Roof on December 3, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        It was such a joy to meet and spend time with you in Nashville this past August, and an honor to read, review your book and be a member of your street team, Cathy!! Always a pleasure to chat with you – if you don’t catch me in conversation online please private message or email me at bonnieroof60@yahoo.com – at ANY time. I love to chat – as you can tell by my lengthy comments, LOL!!

Leave a Comment