Monday, February 2, 2015

in His time

This is a belated post. I never intended to write this. But I have had a nagging feeling for a while, and the prompting to sit and write was so unbelievably strong that I couldn't fall asleep. So here I am, at 1:00AM, writing my heart out because something inside me is telling me this can't wait. Perhaps I'm insane. Or perhaps someone, somewhere, needed to read this.

Two years ago, I wrote a snarky post about girls who complain while on their period. (I had a blast being pregnant. Throwing up, shredding fire pain, bruised ribs. I mean, who wouldn't want that?) After I wrote that, someone chastised me for not feeling "lucky" to be pregnant. I responded with this story of why that person was right. I wasn't lucky. The miracle of life doesn't happen by luck. I was blessed. So, so blessed.

But that is not the point of this post. Remember the story? I loved and lost two little children who meant the world to me. I told you of my broken heart and the betrayal I felt from the woman I called sister. I talked about the pain of losing those kids.

I never talked about the pain of losing a friend.

If you read the story, you have a taste of the emotions I experienced. I was angry. I was so, so angry. Anything that went wrong in my life was instantly blamed on my sister-in-law (we'll call her M). I took any chance I had to say something negative about her or her character. I thrived on the hatred and blame I felt toward her. Once I got started on a rant, I could go on for hours. I had transformed the memory of this woman into something that wouldn't hurt me to look back on. She's gone? Well, good riddance! She was so boring on this day and said something so rude that day. We're better off without her.

Of course, I knew these feelings shouldn't have been harbored. We are taught to forgive and forget. I can't forgive her. I wanted to forgive her. I needed to forgive her. The weight of my hatred was bearing down on me.

So I prayed. I prayed that I could overlook her wrongdoings and forgive her. I prayed that I could forget her.

I didn't forgive her. And I certainly didn't forget her.

We always hear that the Lord works in mysterious ways. That he will answer our prayers in His own way, and in His own time.

Maybe if I say I've forgiven her, it will be true. She needs to know I don't hate her anymore. I wrote to her. I told her I forgave her, and I believed it. She did what she thought she had to do. I don't agree with it, but we can all move past this.

Two years went by, and still- anytime her name was brought up, I had a mouthful of negative things to say. I was frustrated with myself. I was frustrated with the big man upstairs. I thought that by now, my prayers would have been answered and my fairy-godmother would come and help me move past this road block of bitterness.  So, I prayed some more. I prayed that I would find it in me to change my feelings toward this woman.

This last October, my mother-in-law went with a couple family members to go visit the kids. They would be staying with M. It would be the first time she would have seen M in two years. I anticipated some good gossip when she returned.

It didn't come from my mother-in-law, but I got that gossip. I ate it up. I added to it. My memory of M was changed even more. She was suddenly this horrible person who was only in my life for a short, insignificant amount of time. It pleased me to know she was still the devil who occupied my memories.

I then visited my m-i-l to get her scoop on the trip. My bonfire of hatred was blazing, and I couldn't wait to add more wood.

Instead, I was given a bucket of water.

Scratch that. I was given a fire hose.

My mother-in-law spoke of a kind woman. She spoke of a loving woman who cared about her family and children. She spoke of someone who was living with the choices she had made, regardless what those choices may have been.

I went home, my mood dampened. Well, that wasn't the juicy gossip I was expecting.

I thought about what my mother-in-law had said. I thought about M. I thought about my prayers. Yes, I had prayed. I had prayed a lot. But my effort to change my feelings ended the second I said "amen".

I took my mother-in-laws words, and erased my tainted memories. I resurfaced memories I had buried. Memories that hurt me to think about, because they included someone who wasn't in my life anymore. Someone who was fun, and kind. Someone whom I loved.

I sobbed. I miss you. I miss you. I miss you. The words played over and over in my mind. I had spent two years so focused on anything that would validate my hardened heart toward her, that I had forgotten the friend - the sister - who was no longer in my life. My heart ached. I missed her so much. I couldn't believe I had let two years go by pretending I was glad she was out of my life.
Was I okay with what she did? No. But that didn't make her the devil.

I thought about the fact that each of us make choices that at one point or another are going to hurt someone. I know I have, and have been so blessed to have received love and forgiveness in light of those mistakes. Who am I to deny her the same thing?

Reflecting on all of this, I realized the Lord truly knows what is best for us. He answers prayers- and not always the way we are expecting. It took me two years and a LOT of prayers to realize this. I didn't expect it to take me so long to find the love in my heart to truly forgive, but sometimes it's best to put our faith in Him and trust in His time.


  1. Anonymous2/02/2015

    Thank you for being so brave. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for 7 months. I keep praying and fasting and getting frustrated that I'm being ignored and that I'm not being blessed with my eternal family. The Lord's timing is so tricky and important. Thank you for reminding me of that.

  2. What is th back story with your sister??