Friendships can be really tricky sometimes, and I was recently reminded of one that is very broken. Okay, let me first share what happened. It was Sunday morning, I woke before the girls while Elisha was on the bed inching his way closer to the side. (I'm at that stage with him where you block the baby in with big fluffy pillows and hope he doesn't fall off in the few seconds you look away)
I woke the girls and got them dressed with minimal tears (high five), had a quick breakfast and got out the door on time! (Miracles happen) They all went into their classes like brave girls, I strapped baby boy into the carrier and headed into church. I sat on the left side, which I haven't sat on that side in months. I found a seat on the end in case I needed to sneak out with Elisha, and just as I sat down I saw her.
I saw the woman who said some really hurtful things to me, made me feel like a complete failure and has unfollowed me on all socials (which is a big deal now a days) and avoids eye contact in public. I saw her sitting with her husband, in the spot she has always sat in, with her hair in a cute braid, sipping her coffee. I didn't even see her eyes, I didn't even talk to her in the lobby, I didn't even see the side of her face and EVERY SINGLE emotion from that really hurtful friendship came up.
Worship started and I closed my eyes and tried to focus, really I did. But I couldn't. I opened my eyes and I saw the back of her head again and began to replay every detail of it all. I was questioning myself again, wondering if it all REALLY was my fault. If what she said about me, my character, was really true. But the insecurity I felt quickly turned to anger as I remembered the words she said about the ways she thought I should be, the dirty looks she has given me since then and the complete fallout we have had. Halfway through the second song I realized I was completely stressed, shoulders tightened, swaying with Elisha trying to get him to sleep but squeezing him as I replayed all the hurts, all the words, all the painful memories. I took a breath and relaxed my body. I whispered, "Oh God, how did I get here? All by seeing the back of her head?"
I don't think I am alone. Maybe your emotions aren't as intense as mine, maybe you have the incredible super power to let things go, like really let them go and they just don't bother you anymore. (Oh to be like you) Or maybe you fall somewhere around where I am. Where you forgive someone, but sometimes, you can be caught off guard or be reminded, out of nowhere of it all. All the hurt and pain and plain confusion that someone brought to your life. And your mind takes you back like a time traveling machine and you are reliving all those moments again. You snap back to reality 5, 10 minutes later and you have to somehow shake it off, and move on with the day and pretend you aren't re-visiting that painful memory.
I don't have some amazing epiphany to tell you. In fact, that Sunday morning I am describing happened very recently and I am still trying to work my way through it all. But what I do want to share is maybe having expectations on each other steals us of the grace we are supposed to give? When relationships become like contracts and we have check lists that we think people should be performing at a certain level we lose the ability to love people for where they are, which is right where you are. Flawed, tired, busy, and trying to figure it all out.
When I know I want to change the way I think and the way I live I study the life of Jesus. It is the one thing I know that can really help, because He did it perfectly, walking with broken people, handling people who speak lies and hurtful words, people who compare and compete, loving those who misunderstood Him, not holding grudges, all the things we struggle with, He didn't.
He kept the peace, but was not a peacemaker.
He loved people, but was not a people pleaser.
He was inviting, and not intimidating.
He was content, not competitive.
And one big thing I am learning is we are all "In Process"
Our salvation is complete but our sanctification is never ending. (Thank you Griffin for that)
So, that friendship, that woman that was in your life that maybe said the wrong thing that you seem to not be able to shake. The time she let you down, she overstepped or didn't step in at all. When she left you feeling insecure, when she judged you, mistreated you, gossiped about you, put expectations on you...she is in process.
Her process is messy like your process. Her heart needs to be wrapped in grace in all kinds of ways just like yours. So even if you never got the, "I'm sorry", even if you never found the closure, even if your hopes were never fulfilled, if you can learn to take all of that to the Father, then that is how you will learn to let it go, that's how you can be free.
Because the voice you listen to is the voice that defines you and He can go beyond your hopes, He can speak truth over the lies that were said and believed about you and about her. He can use anything, anything, anything for our good and He can take our little and make it much. (It's all throughout the Bible and He does it all the time. )
I am learning that in the process of letting it go, you really gain what you really want. Peace.