Thursday, April 17, 2014

Be Still: Part III

Welcome back. Here is my last post on Be Still. I hope you've been able to gain something from this. I'm still learning it and striving to do better.

That weekend my parents had planned to go to a christian gospel concert "The Crabb Family" concert. I was excited for them to go (they don't get much alone time or get to go anywhere just the two of them) and have a good time, but due to some sudden circumstances that week my parents decided to take us with them. My sister and I got to stay in the hotel and watch "The Hobbit"! Which neither of us had seen yet. It was nice and fun to get away for a while.

However, during that quiet and peaceful time someone kept surfacing to the forefront of my mind. I cried quite a few times during the movie because it made me think of him (LOTR's were his favorite movies). Long story short, this boy broke my heart not too long ago. After he pushed me away I tried to forgive him because I knew it was the right thing to do. And, honestly, the only way I was going to move past it all. It had been a few months since I thought about him. I'd been focusing on recovering because I had a lot of emotional pain. I really loved him, but not just in a romantic way.
That never got in my way of our brother/sister friendship. But it was all tossed away like a scrap of paper and I lost the only brother I ever had (I'm the oldest of three sisters). It truly tore me apart.

Through our entire relationship God had helped me keep any feelings from dissolving our friendship. No matter what my feelings may have been so long as we kept the brother/sister friendship I would be okay. Romantic feelings will pass, especially when you hand them over to God {1 Peter 5:7}. And so I did.

Even after I told this guy I had feelings for him and he said he wasn't interested, I helped him pursue another girl. I even made friends with her and we got along really well. Ironic, right?

After I finally said enough was enough, I'd been finding it extremely difficult to forgive him. He'd hurt me so bad in the months leading to the end. The arguments, pushing me away, etc,. They churned in my mind and heart until a bitter poison coursed through my veins; that bitterness aiming for my heart. It became so embedded in me that I couldn't read God's word for encouragement and comfort without feeling hurt, angry, argumentative, and confused. When I realized how bad it had gotten it made me even sadder because that's not what I wanted. I didn't want my relationship with Christ to be estranged. He stuck by me, helped me through all those times, and he hadn't stopped now. He didn't want to me lock myself  away with the lights off. He didn't want me to be sad, hurt, and alone. But the only one who could ask for help was... Me.

He was already there and waiting. I began praying. Asking him to heal me. I wanted my that closeness back with Jesus so badly. I had a lot of healing left and only He was going to get me through it.

It took some time. At first it was very hard to push through that hurt, but God sent a random person (though she couldn't have been truly random if God sent her!) my way that helped and put some salve on my wounds.

I posted previously about her: Getting Over Your Ex w/ Jesus! by Deeanna Scott. If your having trouble getting over an Ex-bf/gf than I highly recommend reading her posts. Or even if you aren't, its worth sparing a few minutes to read. Her message felt like it came straight from God! It was exactly what I needed to hear.

Back to that weekend, it had been two months since I started asking for God's help and healing. I had been thinking less and less of my friend so it was strange when I suddenly kept thinking about him for no real reason.
After The Hobbit, I got a notification that he signed up for an app that I had. Coincidence? It made me think twice about it and so I began asking God to show me what it was he wanted me to do. A week of praying and I got my answer: I needed to tell him I forgave him. I didn't know if he harbored any hard feelings towards me since I was the one who technically ended it, but when I thought about it I didn't want him to grow in the same bitterness from regret and guilt as I had been. No matter how much I wanted him to know the pain he caused, I didn't want him to live with that burden forever.

I composed an email (there was no way I could talk to him, if he would have even talked to me) and sent it. I didn't care if he emailed me back; I almost asked him not to. I wasn't there to be a friend to him again. I just wanted him to know I forgave him and even apologized for anything I may have said or done wrong.
He replied back an hour later. Sometimes I really wished he hadn't and just left it to me to assume he received it and did with it whatever he wanted. At least I had forgiven him, finally, and could truly move on.
I was scared to read it, I didn't know if he was going to be angry or want to try being friends again. Neither of which I wanted. But I had to trust in Jesus that there was a reason he wanted me to go through all this. So, I opened it.

I cried. He wasn't angry, but the reply was... so forced. He only said what he said out of obligation. There was no heart or sincerity like before. I might have even overlooked it, but some things he said kind of hurt. Like when he said he had 'already forgiven any feelings he had hurt from me'. So he didn't forgive me but forgave himself for being hurt by me? So did he forgive me or just himself?
After reading his apology, forced or not, I was glad he saw what he had done wrong (he apologized for things I never thought he'd see) and prayed again he would continue to grow from it and would be able to do better now.
However, he couldn't leave it at just that, he had to tell me how he is now (less than two months later) engaged to be married (to a different girl). Why did he need to add that? Why couldn't we have just parted ways without knowing anything else about the other? He already made it clear we could never be friends and I had made it clear I wasn't coming back. So since we're not going to be a part of each other's lives, neither of us needed to know how the other was doing or what we've been doing or what our future plans were. As sad as it makes me to say it, I think he wanted to see what my reaction would be. Why? I don't think I want to know. Since it would just raise more questions and hurt that much more.

Though the apology was bittersweet, instead of letting the bitter part come back inside I asked God to help me accept the good in the email and say goodbye. That's when I realized this wasn't about me freeing my friend from pain and guilt, but freeing me! I had yet to completely let him go. I had been in that healing process and I was finally at the next step: forgiveness for myself. I didn't know it, but God had it all planned out. I sent my final goodbye email, thanking him for apologizing and wishing and blessing him on the rest of his journey.

It was a grieving yet humbling experience. Never in my life so far had I had to let someone once so close and so precious to me, go. But I know he's in God's hands. I'm not God, I can't fix him or change him. I was brought into his life to help him for a season in his life. I didn't walk away empty-handed though. I gained a lot from the experience during and after.

I learned:
  • What it feels like to be loved
  • That God's love is 100x more than even that love
  • Who I'm supposed to rely on completely: Jesus!
  • That I am capable of more than I thought
  • Forgiveness {Ephesians 4:31-32}
  • I'm more secure in myself than I realized
  • And that I am able to truly live out that kind of love {1 Cor 13:4-7}

And I'm learning more as I seek Him.

Throughout that entire experience starting from part I of this post, was that God was whispering* this to me through everything during those two weeks: "Be still and know that I am God. Though these people have hurt you, I will heal you. Though you are sad, I will dry your tears. Though you feel alone, My arms are wrapped around you tenderly but firmly and they will never let you go. I will take care of you because I Love You."

It's an overwhelming yet calming feeling.

*My youngest sister quoted back to me from one of her books during this time as well.
"God whispers because he is close." -- Crash the Chatter Box, Steven Furtick
That couldn't be any truer. :) GOD BLESS.

Be Still: part I
Be Still: part II

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