Olivia has been a dear sisterfriend of mine for 6 year now. We met at a small group where we were both new. Neither of us had any idea the hills and valleys we would walk through. As our friendship deepened we found a safe place to be honest about it all. It was my privilege to share friendship with she and her hubby as they endured a brutal season of loss after loss as they tried to grow their family. As I think about the desert woman on the cover of her book, I remember so many conversations that left me amazed that they had this endless supply of water in the desert--Living Water. They weren't perfect and didn't pretend to be, they grieved through various emotions, but they let us grieve with them and up close, so close that I also felt their confidence in God's goodness in a way I had never experienced before. I know that I didn't always do it right as her friend, there were times I complained about my pregnancy or over emphasized that I was sure they would have a bio baby one day (when what she really needed was a listening ear and a hug), but she was so gracious about it that it wasn't until years later that it occurred to me, maybe I wasn't always as sensitive as I could have been. But my hope is that as they walked through the desert season that they knew we were there with them, mourning with them, and imperfectly offering up our own water bottles when theirs got a bit low.
I know that when we had our miscarriage she absolutely was that for me. There is one story about Olivia that especially comes to my mind every time I remember her friendship to me during our miscarriage.
When we found out we were pregnant I immediately went to Target and bought a belly band, so sure that I would need it soon since it was my second baby and I would show earlier. Days later, before I even had the chance to take my belly band out of the Target bag and unwrap it, I began to miscarry. Since I had just gotten a clean bill of health for myself and our baby at an uneventful ultrasound the doctor felt the best thing was to schedule an ultrasound for a week later and wait. After we officially got the news that we lost our baby Liv was such a caring friend, writing texts and letters and burning me a cd to listen to as I processed our loss. One day she simply asked "What do you need? What can I do?" And I told her I needed someone to go with me to return my belly band because I didn't think I could do it alone.
When I got to the customer service counter the lady working asked what my reason was for making the return. I stood there, feeling so helpless and lost and shocked that it was me--that I was the woman who lost her baby and I was the woman who had to return maternity stuff because the future was so unclear. I stood, like a mute statue, staring blankly and on the verge of tears. Olivia put her hand on my back and gentle scooted me over, saying "I'll do this. You don't have to."
I walked away in a fog of sadness and started shopping, she caught up to me and we shopped and got my first outing back into the world behind me. I'll never forget that day and I'll forever cherish her friendship (which we were so new to when our babies met in heaven).
I know you'll feel just as loved and safe and understood when you read her book. She wrote this book for women in any season of waiting for a child. Liv writes with truth, sincerity, sensitivity, energy and most of all hope. What I love about this book is that you feel like you are sitting down and having coffee with a friend who knows just where you are and refuses to throw naive cliches your way, but instead offers you eyes-wide-open, grace-filled, hope.