For months I have been struggling. Struggling to listen to God, to put down my anger and hurt, to put forgive. Oh the struggle has been painful and long. My heart was burdened, carrying tears just below the surface so that whenever that broken relationship was mentioned I crumbled. Tears brought on anger, anger brought on regret and regret brought on tears. Hmmm...can you say vicious cycle?
Through the encouragement of my small group I wrote a letter. A letter about forgiveness to the very person who I felt wounded me. I poured my whole heart (and lots of tears) onto the keyboard as I typed........and typed.................and typed. I listed every detail of every incident that led to radical changes in my family's life and impacted the way I perceive church, ministry and just how much I want to be (or not) in these things. With all my hurt on the screen in front of me I began to pray.
Father, you say to forgive. That's what I want. I want to set all these things down and love. Just love. I no longer want my days colored by the lens of pain that I choose to cling to. I want to be the woman you want me to be and I cannot do that until I put this away. Help me Lord. Forgive me that I have not forgiven.
(Ready to shout Amen with me?) Our God is good. As I typed the last period on that page I was able to forgive. No need to rehash moments long over. No need to point fingers or feel defensive. Forgive.
I didn't mail the letter. I didn't feel I needed to. To mail the letter was to pull the pin on an emotionally loaded grenade and launch it into some else's lap...whew I feel better!! Do you??
The lens through which I look at life has changed and I knew if for sure yesterday. I had gone to a large consignment sale nearby, hoping to find great deals satisfying the great bargain hunter inside me (ummm...I didn't but that's for another day). I had a bad morning preceded by a difficult week (again...that's for another day) and was feeling the need to be with God, to worship, to be fed. But where could I go? I was in jeans and a sweatshirt and most services were well underway.
Then it occurred to me. I could slip into our old church. They would be just finishing up worship. And I knew I wouldn't be out of place in my casual clothes...they are truly a come as you are bunch.
God pushed me into the church. Beckoning me to meet Him in the walls of a building that reminded me of home. Have you ever visited a house years after you move out? You know the rooms and remember what they felt like when you walked the halls. And while the feeling of home is comforting it hangs just behind the curtain of your memory, now you can only put your hands on the new, unfamiliar reality of this sacred place. That is how I felt. I knew many of the faces and was greeted by hugs from a few. The sermon, while a new subject, had a the feeling of a familiar winter coat -- warm, protective. However, it all felt new, strange, unaccessible in someway. I was an "outsider" who remembered the warmth of being an "insider".
God was there. I felt Him. I teared up as I sang to Him and was thrilled as the Scripture echoed His voice into my ears.
In God perfect's timing I walked out of the mire of disobedience and "unforgiveness" in time to revive my overwhelmed heart and weakened spirit!! Hooray. How cool is that? And if that wasn't gift enough, God gave me one more small gift to carry in my heart.
As I was greeting friends in the lobby after service I got a hug from someone I had never expected it from. You see, my reward for obedience to our Faithful Father was a hug that revealed forgiveness and acceptance that runs two ways! The very person my never mailed letter was addressed to was surprised to see me and moved to different place in our relationship -- a hug.
God knows just what we need, just when we need it. I took a moment to plug back in a place that I swore I would never set foot again, and look what waited for me there...love.