I was visiting my friends Mark and Charlotte today. Charlotte is three and she loves to see her name written on the whiteboard in the kitchen (or anywhere for that matter). And, Charlotte said to her daddy, "will you write my name, PLEASE?" So, he did. Charlotte. Rose. Novak. Then, with even more enthusiasm, "Write your name, Daddy!" And, then, "Okay! Now Cheri's" (prounounced 'cherry' in Charlotte speak). "Okay, now Mommy's."
"There," she said. "That's my family."
My heart broke. I love that little girl. And, Mark. And, the family they have allowed me to be a part of.
Mark is the best friend God could have EVER placed in my life to walk me through this divorce. Really. I can't imagine anyone better. A major reason why I am not a bitter, angry divorced woman is because of Mark. The whole story is quite remarkable -- as only God could fashion it.
Mark went through a divorce almost simultaneous with mine. He and Charlotte -- in their own grief -- opened their home and their hearts to me and allowed me to be a part of their family on a regular basis.
It was Mark who led the way in making sure that the right boundary lines were held to protect tender hearts. And, yet, never seemed to close his own. I have learned so much from them about keeping my heart open. About being honest. About letting go. About courage. And, about what God intended for love to look like. For a guy who grew up without much family of his own, I have never felt more at home.
I wish everyone could know Mark Novak. He's remarkable. And, God is so especially fond of him. My heart grieves that I can't pack him and Char in my suitcase and take them with me. But, they will forever be in my heart and part of my family.