Hello again!!! I hate that it has taken me this long to write another blog post. I really had all good intentions of starting the new year with a post and then making sure I did at least one a month. Well, it’s March and this is the first one. I could make all kinds of excuses as to why it’s taken me three months to write this, but I don’t have any good excuses. I’m no busier than you are. I just haven’t taken the time to do it. Like a lot of other things that are good for me, I put them off because what needs to be done right this second takes priority. So right this second I am ignoring piles of laundry, taxes, changing out of my PJs, and a zillion other things on my “To Do” lists (yes, two of them. I literally sat down and wrote on today’s “To Do” list ‘Write a bigger “To Do” list.’ *Sigh*) to write this blog post.
I wanted to start with something that happened back in December because I believe it was a pivotal moment not only in my thinking but also in my heart toward God and trusting Him more.
My church did a series for the weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas. I made a point to do each week of the series, to follow along and really focus on that week’s topic. “Hope” week wasn’t hard, I think because I have been focused on that for years in writing my book. “Peace” and “Joy” weeks were harder. Peace is getting easier as I grow in my trust in God, and joy is something I really have to choose since I lean toward “what could go wrong?” thinking. So then “Love” week started. It was the final week, and I was really excited when I sat down early that Monday morning to really find out how much God loves me, how that is enough, and to have a whole week to let that sink in. So I watched the video and answered the first question.
“I know it’s not my job to seek revenge,
but in this situation am I called to go beyond that?
Or is that the most loving thing I can do?”
“How much do you really trust that God loves you?” I know that God loves me. I’ve never really questioned that He loves me.
I continued to answer the questions and quickly found out that the focus is going to be on loving my enemies the way God loves them, that loving them the way God loves them is to seek their well-being without expecting anything in return. I try to think of people who I have a hard time loving and wanting God’s best for. I thought of a coworker I used to work with at Jared years ago, but God kept nudging my heart. This is literally what my journal looks like (minus the cuss words; and for those of you who don’t know, John is Johnny’s, my son’s, father. We had a messy end to our marriage about two and a half years ago.) from that morning:
“My enemy is John. I can barely forgive him let alone “love” him. Surely I am not called to do something nice for him or to further his well-being while expecting nothing in return?
*crying break for 10 min*
I really don’t understand this and really what I’m called to do here. Where do boundaries come into the equation? I know it’s not my job to seek revenge, but in this situation am I called to go beyond that? Or is that the most loving thing I can do?
God, I really need you to meet me here and give me some clear insight into what this means. I need you to show me what this looks like. To love Johnny and expect nothing in return is a lot different than to love John or Rob or David (all ex-husbands. You can read a quick backstory in one of my older blog posts called “Hot Mess.”) and expect nothing in return.
God: Pray for John this week.
Me: Ugh! Why would I pray for the well-being of the person who has my child when I don’t get to?
God: Really? (I kinda pictured his face to be like the emoji with the flat/straight eyes and mouth.)
Me: Okay, fine. Then why should I pray for the person who ruined my life and stole my dream?
God: Look around you! Did he really? You are in a far better place than you would’ve been together. Your life isn’t ruined. Your dreams are in my hands. Not John’s. Pray for him this week and trust me.
Me: Okay, fine! God, for Johnny’s sake…
God: No, not for Johnny’s sake. Pray for John.
Me: What then? What do I pray for? You are going to have to tell me.
God: Pray for his protection. It’s the opposite of what you’ve been praying for him.
Me: Ugh! I don’t want to! This is one of the hardest things you’ve asked me to do, but fine. God, I pray that you would protect John today, as he is your child who you love and have created. Amen.”
I was literally crying and so angry the whole time I was writing that. Both Monday and Tuesday of that week I was close to being in one of the angriest moods I have ever been in. That was one of the hardest weeks. I prayed for him every day. It was clear to me that God was not asking me to reconcile with John and that boundaries with him are still needed. However, there was a conversation on Wednesday of that week where I would typically have torn him to shreds, but instead God revealed my very small heart change in having compassion for him as a broken child of God who deserves to experience the true love of Christ. The “Love” week concluded with God telling me to give John one of my books, “Hope’s Purpose,” with a note in the back to tell him that I was praying for him. I was like “Okay, fine, but I’m mad about it. I don’t want to give him my story!” God reminded me that it’s not my story. It’s His story that he graciously allowed me to tell, and it’s not my place to withhold it from anyone if He is telling me to share it. Also, that I needed to wrap it like a Christmas present, bow and all. So I did.
“They may have been abused, betrayed, and abandoned
by someone who should have
loved them and taken care of them…
The same power that conquered the grave and paid
for my sins paid for their sins too.”
I think my experience up until that week had given me a heart for those who have been hurt, those who have been abused, betrayed, and abandon by someone who should have loved them and taken care of them. That’s why my heart breaks so hard for things like domestic violence, abortion, sex trafficking, and child abuse (literally crying as I’m writing this paragraph). But then I look deeper, though, and think about the fact that God loves the person who is doing the abusing, choosing to have the abortion, and selling or soliciting sex. They may have been abused, betrayed, and abandoned by someone who should have loved them and taken care of them. They are just as broken and deserve to know the true love of God, that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for them. The same power that conquered the grave and paid for my sins paid for their sins too.
I feel like this ripped open a huge wound in my heart but that it had to be ripped open in order to heal properly. I don’t know exactly what I am supposed to do with this new perspective other than just try to show the love of Jesus to whoever is in my path each day.