Those of you who have followed me for a while know that we, as a family, went through a very difficult time as things fell apart at a previous church. It was a defining moment in my life, so I wanted to give you an update of how it ended.
I had come to the point that there were friendships that were over and I would never find the reconciliation that my heart so desired. I had forgiven..and then been bitter again..and forgiven again and again and again. I knew that God had worked much healing in my heart, but it was altered and it still hurt.
One early morning I got out of bed, checked email as I do every morning. This particular morning there was an email from the person I had most grieved losing. It was addressed to German (we share an email address) and he was traveling. As soon as he was awake, I texted him to "CHECK OUR EMAIL" and yes I did use all caps because it was important. This particular email began (in essence), "I regret how I mishandled our friendship and want to know if you could forgive me." German sent an immediate answer that said, "I'm traveling and can't answer much now but thank you for saying that and yes already forgiven." German and I cried together, rejoiced together and then sent an email that showed how God how worked in spite of how devastated we felt. We did not hide how much we hurt, but we rejoiced at a second chance. After an exchange of several emails, the relationship was really beginning to renew.
We have not been able to renew the friendship face-to-face. Distance has happened. And yes, it is altered because we missed six years of each other's life. But the empty hole is no longer there.
I tell you this, not to brag on us or him, but to celebrate what God can and does do. It would not have been possible to so readily say "Yes, forgiven" if we had not allowed God to prune and minister and challenge and comfort our hearts during those six years. God had already helped us forgive. And he did that when we could see no hope of ever reaching reconciliation. If you are in a place that has been deeply hurt by others, please, please, please don't turn to bitterness. Keep giving it to God. Keep asking for him to allow forgiveness to rule. He will honour that. And, if the opportunity for reconciliation arises, you will be ready because you will have already forgiven.
We are working toward a plan for face-to-face meeting. If you do the math you will see that these sweet friends have never even met our third child. They were so important to our girls in the early years, and I desperately want them to meet Tree. It will be sweet, because it comes after such a desert time. I am hopeful.
Be encouraged. Forgiveness is sweet.