A couple of years ago, I subscribed to the P31 Daily Devotions. They come to your email address every day, and it's free. About a year and a half ago, one hit my inbox that really made me stop and think about myself. It was entitled "Stained and Ruined" and it was the very day before I was scheduled for my first therapy session. I was in a bad place; unsatisfied, unhappy, discontent, generally sick of it all. The devotion that day was based on the emotional journey the writer had taken in recovering from the shame of sexual abuse. I read the words through my tears, completely relating to all the feelings she described. I clicked on her name, started following her blog, and here I am today participating in her online Bible Study based on a book written by another P31 Woman, one whose blog I have been following for a few months now. I don't know if anyone sees God's hand in all of this, but I have felt it, and that's good enough for me.
The past couple of weeks have been tough for me personally. I written several posts and then deleted them, not certain if I should discuss publicly what's been going on behind the scenes. It's hard for me, the blogger, when I'm going through these types of issues. I want to blog openly, but when it comes to certain situations, I shouldn't just put it all out there for the world to see. I've been in the midst of a major conflict with someone I used to call good friend. For me, the feelings date back almost a year. My friend did something ~ something very hurtful, showing total disregard to me and my husband ~ and though I tried to move forward in forgiveness, I couldn't forget. This little voice inside of me kept whispering, "You shouldn't trust her..."
That's what's hard in life. When you want to trust, to love, to maintain relationships, but you don't feel you look at things the same way. You don't feel the level of respect is the same on both sides. I've tried overlooking certain comments, playing dumb, looking the other way, pushing the doubts I had as far down as I could, and so on, but the sadness of the fact remained: our friendship had been permanently changed. Never having had this situation in my life before, it's been painful and difficult. In the past week, other issues have come up, and I completely lost my cool and said my piece in anger, something I completely regret. But what's done is done, on both sides.
I had to laugh when on Monday morning, I turned the page to chapter three of It's No Secret, the book we are reading, and see that it's about humility. And then look forward to chapter four and find that it's about conflict. In the words of Bruce Almighty: "Ok, God... now you're just showing off!!" You see, God is literally working big time on my heart and helping me to find ways to be His throughout my life. It isn't just about following all the right rules, looking and sounding a certain way, going to a certain building every Sunday, but more about oozing Him and His love and His hope to all those around you. That's what I'm working on. That's who I want to be. And I can't allow a conflict with a friend to hinder or slow down this work in progress.
It's hard. Life. It's disappointing. Imperfect. Sad at times. The past few days, I have literally had to stop myself and ask this question, "Are you moving in God's direction for your life?" I think I am. Does this mean you may lose some friends, acquaintances, desires of your heart along the way? Yes. And it will hurt. But that's life. Keep moving forward.
In the Bible Study portion of chapter three, the author, Rachel Olsen, gave a list of scriptures from Proverbs to read, and this one stuck out to me:
In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:19
Arrow through the heart, that one was. I can plan it all out, figure out my desired path, but God is in control, and if I am moving in a direction not ordained by Him, He will let me know. I've certainly experienced this in my life before... This is the place I am in my life ~ ready and willing to walk His path for my life, trying to do what will be pleasing to Him, not me or my friends or anyone else around me. It proves itself not so easy sometimes. But I am trying to surrender myself to what I feel He wants me to do.
I can't say that any of my rambling made any sense to anyone else in this world other than me this morning. But I don't guess that really matters either. It's me and You, God. I am listening. I hear You, I see the way, and I am trying my best to follow it.