(A repost edited from the archives)
Forgiveness is . . . accepting God’s sovereign use of people and situations to strip you of self importance, and humiliate your self love. –Martha Kilpatrick
I had a friend.
We had a falling out.
We literally went from spending any and all free time together, to not speaking. It wasn’t a dramatic explosion of hurtful words.
No, it was more of a steady trickle of hurtful comments, misunderstandings, jealousy, and hormones (I was pregnant at the time). It was a slow and steady burn, that within a matter of a couple of months, after 4 years of an intense and glorious friendship, had consumed any recognizable shred of what had once held us close. We were as strangers to each other.
It felt like a death.
I grieved. I cried.
I felt deep, deep anguish and loss.
Then became angry.
I blamed her for ruining what we had, I blamed her for being so insensitive and careless with our relationship.
My first child was born and my life shifted from doing whatever it was I kept busy with before him, to just learning how to live with this new bay, this little person who needed me in ways I had never known before- all day and through the night.
Then we moved.
The wounding from this burned out friendship began to slowly scab over, and I moved on. But I never could stop really missing what we had. This friend I lost had been family to me. We had invested so much in each other. We’d shared secrets, cried together, laughed until late at night, shared meals, shared homes, we had history.
Fast forward 5 years. FIVE YEARS. I had been busy with life, busy having more babies, busy living in a different state, making new friends, just getting on with things, but I would often think of her, what had happened, and I would hurt. I longed for that friendship. I missed her fellowship. Inside I was praying for God to restore what we had. I didn’t want another friend like her, I wanted her. I wanted what we had before it broke down and crumbled.
I tried my best to put it out of my mind, to just move on, but at one point, I began to think of her constantly; what was she doing these days, how was her life, what was happening in her faith journey?
Then, one day, during a particular time I had been thinking often of her, she called me.
Out of nowhere, she just called me.
My insides churned with ridiculous joy as we talked. I could not believe that after all of this time, 5 years, 3 babies, a move and all sorts of other happenings, we talked like we had never stopped talking. I cried, we laughed, we apologized, we forgave.
It was amazing. It was inspired. I have no doubt that our friendship was restored by the loving and gracious hand of God, who is in the business of mending broken hearts, the business of healing.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
I grew up a lot in the time between our connecting. I realized that as much as I thought she needed to be forgiven by me, I was in need of forgiveness myself. I had acted in such ugly ways towards her and all the while, I had been so insistent that the whole mess was of her making.
While I hated that we had lost 5 years of communicating, that time was critical to leading us to the phone call that finally came that day. We needed that time to grow up, to mature in our faith, to experience life without each other.
And God answered our prayers, he restored us.
I am so grateful for the relationship I have with her now. Even though we don’t get to see each other, since we are miles and miles apart, we have a connection that is stronger than before. We have been to the dark place of brokenness and been healed.
This is a gift. I give thanks for her daily. Thanks to God for her fellowship, her inspiration and her encouragement.
This experience constantly reminds me that when things are hard, and hearts break, there is a healing that comes. It isn’t always on our timetable (pretty much never is). But if we wait on the Lord, and trust it to him, if we let it go, he is able and willing to fix that which we break.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
~Always Alleluia, indeed!