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Have you ever met someone who you thought could not exist?

This may sound like a strange question to some, but it is one I have had to answer “yes” twice in my life. The first “yes” was the day I met my future husband, Justin. I, honestly, did not believe a man could exist that would match in my quirks, deep stubbornness, and lofty expectations. Long-story-short, God had knit a man together who spoke my soul’s language. Justin has been the only one until God introduced me to another “yes” in the form of a silver-haired, seventy-something year-old soul.

Her name is Mary: a woman of small stature, but fiery spirit and inviting eyes. She invited me over to her quiet, tranquil home because she had a story to share. We nestled into her upright chairs, and I asked my first question. Typically, I record each conversation, and this time was no different. The moments of life that danced off her lips were enchanting, like the moment she was given permission to adopt her little girl. Some were gripping: when she chose to pursue medicine in a time when that profession was deemed only for men. And other moments left my heart treacherously low, when she battled for her life during a heart transplant as a Type 1 diabetic. “You shouldn’t be alive,” I say in awe. “No, I shouldn’t,” she responds confidently. “But, here I am.” I was rapidly entering into her heart space, and it would soon be her turn to enter into mine.

It took one question. “Why do you think you’re broken?” she asked me, with a knowing glance. I looked at her with a mixture of fear and shock. I often prided myself in helping people feel comfortable and assisting in taking walls of insecurity or pain down. Yet, rarely did I have someone asking me to do the same. My mind uttered one word: run.

“Good question,” I mumbled, as my brain tried to figure how I could escape the depths of the question, and those that would soon follow it. My heart reached out for the strand of hope, and out fell the words, “I am broken because it is easier to listen and help others than expose and share my own pain and quieted suffering.” My moment of honesty carried her directly into my brokenness. And, believe me, it was a heavy place. Insecurity loomed around each corner and fear had decorated every square inch. Yet, Mary rushed in. She picked up my soul’s burdened frame and held it close.

As I left her home later that evening, I was overcome. My mind and body were fatigued by the emotional stirring, but my spirit was uplifted. When I retold the evening’s events, my husband reminded me of a prayer I had prayed six months prior.

“God, I want someone who can peer into my heart and speak life into the dying parts. I want someone who has dwelled in brokenness, but has faith to step out of it every day. And God, if I am being honest, I don’t think someone like that exists.”

At that time, I didn’t believe someone could match my needs, my questions, or the intensity of my old soul. I was wrong. God had knit Mary into the fabric of my life for such a time as this. And, in my own words, I believe God kept her alive—in the face of death—for that one moment, for me.