This afternoon, I was privileged to spend some quality time with a woman I attend church with. This was only the second occasion I had actually followed through on an attempt to bond with a lady, outside of the church walls, since I lost my best friend, of her own choice.
You see, 3 years ago, I made a very stupid decision. I separated from my husband and decided to pursue love elsewhere, while still married. After I realized how wrong I had been, I returned home and marital healing began. The restoration is ongoing, but my beloved and I have grown in the Lord tremendously since that event. We have matured and bonded in ways I never knew was possible within a marriage.
Anyway, during this trial, I expected my very closest friend of 5 years, and godmother to my 3 children, to help me overcome my selfishness toward my husband. I needed her to lift me up in prayer and encourage me in God’s truths. However, I met a harsh response when she said my friendship was no longer beneficial to her and that she would no longer continue to be a part my life. I was crushed! This woman, to whom I’d poured myself out in many ways…This person, with whom I cried and trusted God to help her conceive a baby…and He did…thought I was no longer worth her time or effort as a friend? It shattered me. It devastated me and I withdrew from friendship. I closed that part of myself off because I never wanted to feel a pain like that again!
I have always believed that when a sister or brother in Christ is in bondage or struggling, it was the job of the body to lift them up, correct them if necessary and help restore them to their proper place before God! I never thought that, that was the time to turn away and hightail it to a more accommodating climate! That’s just me though…
Anyway, I said all that to say this. There is real healing in the fellowship of believers! I laid myself bare today. I opened up my pages and read my dark, self-destructive story to this woman today. And she did the same! We spilled ourselves (in between pauses of parenting) over coffee. I have been a druggie, a heavy drinker, a porn/sex addict, a sexually abused, suicidal basket case of fear and self hatred, an adulteress, and a victim of domestic violence. As it turns out, we share a lot of the same life experiences!
Through all of this, we didn’t see someone who deserved to be abandoned and forsaken simply because of the terrible decisions made on their part. We did not see value according to what that person could offer us, or how they could benefit us. We simply saw…the Grace and Mercy of our Magnificent Heavenly Father. We saw healing, restoration, wholeness, and supernatural provisions! We saw a sister! We saw family!
I am so SO thankful to belong to a body of believers where I feel it is 100% safe to be EXACTLY who God created me to be! I do not feel a need to “fit in” or put on a mask of false joy!
This family I have found is the kind that will drop everything to pray with you when you’re less than yourself. They go out of their way to bless and help you! They are aware that you will struggle and sin, and they don’t condemn you for it! They pick you up, dust you off, and say, “I’ll carry you if you can’t walk on your own.” These are REAL people! Transparent people! Each a hand, an arm, and the heart of a living God!