Sunday, January 12, 2014

In His Perfect Time - Lesson on Friendships and Grace

I have posted about friendships on here before but it has been awhile and I want to post about something a little different today.  A dear life-long friend sparked my memory today about a friendship that was mended only by the grace of God and it just made me smile.

I have mentioned before that I am not the best friend to have.  I don't say that for sympathy or to have a pity party or anything of that nature, but I can recognize my flaws and someone that trusts very little and has people-pleasing tendencies with the added "always thinking someone is mad at me" feeling is just not a great combination for attributes in a wonderful friend!  If nothing else, I am OVERLY self-aware!  :)   I have ALWAYS longed to have close friends.  I love being around people and more than anything I love sitting and talking and "doing life" with people.  I like having my "person" aside from my husband.  I heard recently on the morning radio show that I listen to that you should have more than one significant other and they were not promoting the "sister-wives" mentality but were instead saying that you should have close friendships in your life that you can share with and laugh and cry with.  I could not agree more.  I have had some INCREDIBLE friends in the past (and still do) but I have a tendency to always do something to mess it up.  

I can think of one time in particular….

I have a friend who was one of my best.  She was a college friend and I would say that we were pretty close.  We did lots of things together and I would stay at her house frequently.  I always looked up to her because I thought she was smart, and pretty, and HILARIOUS and everyone that I knew just liked her.  I really strived to be a lot like her, I guess you could say.  

One day I got my feelings hurt because I thought she was ignoring me (and turns out she was…for good reason, actually).  Bad turned to worse and our friendship just kind of ended.  I was hurt and I didn't understand what had really happened but instead of doing the mature thing and talking to her about it or perhaps, praying about it, what did I do???  I blasted her on the World Wide Web…right here… was dumb.  No, I didn't use her name but apparently a mutual friend recognized the post and told her about it.  Some of the things I said were ugly and hurtful and frankly the saying "hurt people hurt people" is a very real thing.  I was hurt so I wanted to hurt….her.  Looking back several years later…I feel so stupid about it and I just feel awful.  

After she confronted me, we didn't speak for years.  I would see her pictures and posts through mutual friends and I would wonder how she was.  She had a baby and I knew that and SOOO wanted to join in the joy of that with her but….couldn't….and it was my fault.  I would dream about the friendship.  I would dream that we would talk and we would be okay.  I would dream about seeing her again and just sitting and talking about life how we once did.  I would cry and I would PRAY about this broken relationship.  For some reason, this ONE friendship was so meaningful to me.  To this day, I cannot understand why the feeling of reconciliation with this friend was so important to me.  I would just PRAY sooooo hard that one day she would forgive me and understand that I did not mean those hurtful things and that I was a new person because I had been through healing from my past and I was less broken so my life was a little less broken.  Years of nothing.  My prayer would be, "God, please let her know that I am sorry somehow.  I am asking that we can mend this friendship.  If not God, please let the burden of it go away."  I cannot tell you how often I prayed that.

One April, I traveled to Little Rock for a Beth Moore conference.  She was speaking on relationships and friendships and brokenness and difficult people, etc.  It was FANTASTIC.  I was pregnant with Hannah so I believe it was 2011.  During one of the reflection times, I prayed that if this friend were in the audience somewhere that I might see her.  I never did.  

Later that evening I received an email.  It was from this friend.  I could have fallen out of my bed (that is where I was when I read it)…and I get goose bumps just thinking about it.  It was kind of a "peace offering" email if you will.  She said something of the nature of wanting to release me from what I had done to her.  I know that the email was intended to bring her healing.  You see, we were both at the same Beth Moore conference.  No I didn't see her there (and that was probably a good thing) but God spoke to both of our hearts about each other at that conference.  I felt the power of God then like I hadn't in a long time.  But while the intention of the email was to bring her peace and healing, it was so much more for me!!!!  It was healing, it was peace, it was hope, it was the beginnings of forgiveness and eventually reconciliation.  It was evidence, tangible evidence, that God answers prayers of His people.  It was evidence that He cares about what we care about.  

She will never forget those words that I wrote.  I know that.  Yes, I feel awful but I cannot dwell on that.  She said she has forgiven me.  Our friendship will never be like it was before and I am okay with that.  Our lives are very different than they once were….we both have changed and grown and matured because of life and because of Christ working in us.  This friend will always be precious to me.  I love her and I have prayed for her nearly every single day…even when we were not speaking but it is ONLY by the GRACE OF GOD that we now openly communicate.  I will forever be grateful for the healing power of Christ in that relationship.  He healed the wound but there is still a scar but that just reminds me of His mercy!

If you have prayed for something for what seems like forever, please don't give up.  God does everything in His timing and His purpose will be fulfilled.  If you struggle with friendships, I understand.  Pray about that too.  I continue to struggle with friendships.  All of those insecurities I listed…I still have them, just on a smaller scale.  Please don't ever give up, God can do anything and probably better than what you could think He could do!!  :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Something Old, Something New

I know it has been a long time since I have blogged.  What is a girl to do?  Go back and post what I {you/we} have missed or just move forward.  That is a good question.  I have started so many posts in the past few weeks and just did not finish them.  I think I will do both.  I do not think that I will post about EVERYTHING that we have missed, just recap and hit the highlights.

As a preview, 2013….I got full-force into a brand new job at a brand new hospital, I went back to school to finish classes in order to eventually apply to nursing school, Lauren turned 4, Brice turned 40, we took a mini stay-cation in the summer to a local lake, I ran my first 5K, I lost some dear friends to terrible diseases,  I grew apart from close friends, I grew closer to new friends, Hannah turned 2, Rachel turned 7 and started public school, we took a family trip to Disney World, I turned 33, I got two A's in said classes, we had another wonderful Christmas, and took a very quick trip to Arkansas and back.

All in all, it was a trying year.  I will say that more so than any other year, I believe I have grown tremendously.  I have grown in my personal, spiritual, and professional life.  I have learned what true friends are, I have learned that it is STILL hard to trust people even when your heart wants to so very badly. In addition, when you do end up trusting those people, sometimes they will hurt you…..and it is not fun.  I have struggled SO MUCH this past year with my people-pleasing tendencies and I am tired of that.  It is exhausting. I have LONGED for love and acceptance from people that really don't matter.  That might sound ugly but the energy that I have spent trying to belong, to make others happy, and just feel loved almost made me into a person that I have never wanted to be!!!  I have learned that patience is not a strength of mine…okay, so I already knew that but it has been tested more so this year than ever before.  I have learned that my husband is my strongest support and ally and I truly do not know where I would be without him.  More than anything else, I was reminded that God is faithful.  He loves me beyond what I can ever comprehend and no matter what happens or what struggles I go through, He is there.  Not only that, but He goes before me!  He paves my way and walks beside me.  What a promise!


New beginnings.  I love the idea that I can start over.  I kind of wish I could just erase everything from the past, but then again, I wouldn't be who I am today, would I?  I want to become closer to the person God wants me to be.  I want to be a better mom, wife, student, friend, and person.  I want to be able to say "no" but in a spirit of love and kindness.  I want to do a few things well and not everything half-heartedly.  I want to live for God and not others because He is the only one that matters anyway.  I want to stop worrying about what others think of me and not place so much importance on others opinions of who I am or what I do.  I want a gentler spirit (this is often a resolution of mine).  I want to love deeper, talk sweeter, gossip less, teach more, and be the best ME that God has in store!

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
~Romans 12:1-2

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