If I had a dollar for every time I heard how different I looked in the last six months, I’d be on my way to being a solid millionairefollow. I usually reply with thanks or I’m just happy. While it’s much deeper than that, I go with it for the sake of time. I had a friend text me, who’s not even on social media, after she was shown a recent picture of me. She said I looked radiant. I honestly can’t take any credit, I refuse to. If I had enough time to tell you in words how much junk has been cleared from depths of my soul, then maybe you would understand my reluctance. We go through life as human trash cans, absolutely accepting every bit of the filth and garbage that life’s circumstances or negativity can throw our way. We then spend our lives trying to maneuver our way out the bottom of the barrel or remove the stench from its damage. Our hearts are absolutely clouded with residue and incapable of embracing the joys of life because in a lot of ways we’ve gotten comfortable living in garbage. I share my experience because my life has been an example of all that grace isn’t and is. I’m not perfect by any means these days, but I live free, open to life’s ups and downs, and with confidence in who I’m called to be. I’m fresh out of apologizing for it. As long as our hearts remain a landfill, we remain void of any potential for good to come our way. I spent many years struggling to shake the immaturity that came with a garbage heart. The simplest way I can put what has happened to me in the last year, is that my heart finally grew up!
I have encountered a number of people over the last few days that have put me in an awkward position. Not intentionally. I knew it would get to this point but I wanted to be sensitive to God’s timing. I felt prompted to write about it tonight after something extraordinary happened this morning. I’ve met a lot of people recently, who have struggled with unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and just stinking attitudes about life. I don’t believe one man’s struggle is greater than another. A struggle is a struggle. In my own journey to overcome these little heart leeches, I have learned that no matter how much we beg God to change someone or a situation, he will always start with changing us.
I’ve shared a little about my marriage difficulty, and with that being said, as a result have been walking down the path to dissolve my marriage for the last 8 months. I know this is a shock to many of you, and I would like to thank all that have kept this walk in confidence and allowed my family to heal in peace and without gossip. The fact that many of you are just finding out is a testament to the caliber of people we have surrounded ourselves with. Anyhow, I had to make a decision 8 months ago on how I was going to proceed. Not legally, but in my heart. Would I allow the bitterness that God had healed me from to creep back in and put on my boxing gloves? Or was I going to make the hard decision to pick up my cross and truly follow Christ. So I decided to take a gamble against human nature, and pick up my cross.
This meant giving up certain friends, refusing to speak negatively, eliminating the need to force our family or friends to choose sides, refusing to use my kids as pawns to get even, and even swallowing my pride to ride to church with him every single Sunday for the last 8 months because my kids wanted him there and realizing that he didn’t need my anger, finger pointing, or disappointment, he needed Christ. Taking solace in the fact that while he may not have gotten things right in time to save our marriage, there was still enough time for him to get it right with Christ. Not because I want him to, but because our kids need him to.
I wrote his family a letter 8 months ago, absolving them of the need to get in the middle or feeling like it was my side or his side. I assured them that I would do everything in my power to make sure the kids were still a part of their lives and encouraged them to pick their son’s side, not because they agreed with his actions, but because he needed their love and support if he was ever going to be healed. I say all that to say, my letter wasn’t received very well. It wasn’t personal, they were hurt like I was. We parted ways and there has been little communication, until today.
I won’t get into all the details but when we do things God’s way, no matter how difficult, he always gives us his best. We spend a lot of time fighting for what we think is right instead of fighting to get our hearts right. We can’t ever expect God to move on our behalf when we haven’t checked our motives. The old saying that God doesn’t bless no mess isn’t necessarily true, he can bless a mess, he just won’t bless a messy heart. Anyhow, after walking this road drama free, not because I couldn’t, but because I chose to follow Christ, my mother in law reached out to me this morning and it was a really good conversation. She asked if we could keep in touch, and my reply was, sure. God’s grace is amazing! This really could have been ugly, but when you choose the path of the cross, even in the ugly, beauty always, significantly abounds.
I’ve watched people who have hurt me move on with their lives as if nothing happened. They left me struggling to pick up the pieces from their damage for years. Until one day I developed this theory while begging God to take the pain away: Hurt me once, shame on you! But hurting myself twice because I can’t forgive what you did, shame on me!! Listen, aint nobody got time for that!! I forgive because I haven’t met a person who hurt me yet that was worth fretting over for the rest of my life. Their hurt is not worth my energy or my health! When memories of an offense try to rise up in my heart, I say “Hey heart, not my monkey, not my zoo, let’s keep it moving!