I’m very excited, as today is the first ever Salvation Sunday post, as part of a link-up with another blogger I’ve been following. I realize this is a Monday, but I had a post planned out and was unable to get it up on time.
Those of you who follow my blog/interact online with me regularly know that my faith is a huge part of me, and while when I launched this blog I initially planned on speaking more about it, things haven’t really gone that way yet. So, going forward, Sunday’s will be the ‘designated day’ so-to-speak for my faith posts.
Recently, a friend who is very near and dear to my heart has been facing a separation and possible divorce. On the one hand, I find myself very grateful because this has brought us closer together, but on the bigger hand, it hurts watching her have to face this.
This woman, this amazing, beautiful, talented woman, has taught me so much through these last few months – taught me of grace, obedience, and the understanding of going above her own wants to pursue God’s requests.
In the early days of this situation, shortly after Christmas, my friend moved back to Ontario, and we saw each other for the first time since high school. I sat across from her at the restaurant where we had lunch, torn between wanting to cry as my heart broke for her and wanting to wave a magic wand and make it go away.
The woman I knew, and the teenager I remembered was what I used to like to call a picture of perfection. It wasn’t that she aimed to look perfect, or try to be perfect, she just always was. Largely because she never dressed, acted, or performed in school in order to get approval from anyone – just herself. She was one of the few Christian friends I had in school, and is one of the few friends period whom I’ve kept in touch with over the years.
But the woman sitting before me was broken. Her eyes, her smile, even her appearance – it was as if everything about her had been shattered, and it had. I’ve heard it described that the feeling of a marriage ending is the same as if one has experienced a death, because for someone who is still invested in that marriage, it’s often something they have no say or control over. That was the picture of the woman standing before me. But even then, as we talked and shared over pizza, there were moments, small moments, where she would break through, and smile and laugh genuinely.
When I left, I sat in the parking lot for a good fifteen minutes, first sitting completely stunned before the tears came crashing down. They were tears of heartache mixed with tears of anger, and tears of frustration at not being able to do anything to make this better, to make it hurt less, to help her fix it.
But there was something that shone through her that day, more powerful than anything else, and it was courage. In the week that followed, as she packed up her life to move back where she would have the strongest support system, that courage began to shine so bright, it became the first thing I ‘saw’ whenever I spoke to her. She couldn’t understand how I saw courage in her, because she was so afraid, so hurt and so angry. I told her that to me, courage is never the absence of fear or the ability to walk through the fire unscathed, but rather courage is walking through the fire despite the hurt and the fear, even knowing that you’re going to get burned.
In the months that followed, she became one of the most courageous women that I know. While this part may not make sense to non-Christians, she decided to continue to fight for the marriage, not necessarily because it was what her heart wanted, but because that is what is asked of us through the covenant of marriage by God. At first, I was like ‘HELL NO, WOMAN, HE DOESN’T DESERVE YOU!’, but then as I thought and prayed, I realized that she was right. Regardless of how he feels, she needs to be able to walk away from this knowing she did everything she should. She can’t control how he acts, reacts, or the path he chooses, but she can control what she does.
It’s about grace, and about seeking grace, something that I think we all often forget, Christian or non, when we have been hurt or done wrong by. Despite her feelings, her hurts and her fears, she has made herself open to the possibility of reconciliation, working on her end of things.
Often times, we think that the ones who aren’t facing something are the ones who do the teaching, but as I’ve found time and time again, it’s the ones we are supporting that have the most to teach us. In the last few months, this beautiful woman has taught me lesson after lesson about grace, forgiveness, and seeking after God’s will instead of my own. I’ve watched her grow from that broken woman sitting across the table from me into a woman still different than the perfect one I saw before. Now, I see strength. I see a woman with a battle wound that is healing and a heart that is growing bigger.
Yesterday, the sermon at church followed the death of Stephen, and how God was bigger than what he was facing. As I watch my friend, the same truth echoes through her every word, her every action and her every stride.
God is bigger than it all. Sometimes the things we’re supposed to do aren’t going to make sense. They’re not going to be the popular choice, and they may seem downright backwards. It’s not until all is said and done that we look back and go ‘huh. There was a reason for that.’
It becomes so easy in a tough situation to throw up our hands and say ‘I’m done, see ya later’, but when we fight through it, strength, character and boldness come into play. When I look at my friend, in spite of the pain, the struggles and the trials, I know that she is going to make it through. I see someone who has put her faith and her future in God’s hands, and watched as some of the weight has been lifted off her shoulders. As I continue to be there to support and encourage her, I can only hope and pray that these lessons she has teaching me will resonate when I face the next trying time in my life.
For more on Salvation Sunday, visit Brittany’s over at Pines and Palmettos, check out her post on Christians Tithing