Chapter Two - Defining Moments

Joy explained, “Our friendship reminded me that God had provided someone who loved me as much as I loved them, and I needed it so badly because many of my relationships through the years had been flawed in one way or another. I never felt comfortable in a relationship that was just emotional; instead, I had a wonderful spiritual embodiment about it that I can’t explain—it’s just there, and you know that you are fulfilling for each other God’s plan for your lives and the lives of those you touch.

“I had lost my identity. I was a pastor’s wife, a minister in my own right, and I was a vital part of so many things. But after 44 years, everything changed overnight.

“Because I felt God wanted me to be strong for my people, I confined my grief so they could share theirs. But instead of experiencing a loving interchange within their grief, fear and insecurity flourished among the flock. The church secretary stepped in front of me, sneered at me, and said, ‘You act like you’re glad he’s gone.’ I cried softly, grief stricken by the loss of support that left with the death of my husband.

“I suffered rejection in many areas that were not my fault. My identity was totally gone. I could not go back there and be who I was. The people at the church loved me so much, so I didn’t want them to know that the new pastor had told me not to come back because, ‘the congregation loves you more than they love me. You cannot come here anymore.’

“Isn’t that just awful? Later I confided honestly with another young minister, telling him, ‘I don’t know who I am. I’ve lost my identity.’ He looked at me and said, ‘I have no use for people who talk like that. I have no use for you.’ Can you believe that? I was looking for someone to help me understand.

“If there was any time in the world when I needed you, it was right then—I needed our friendship. It felt so good and comfortable. You didn’t make demands on me. You didn’t make

6:39 am