I've been searching for complete sentences to construct complete thoughts out of the broken phrases that have been running through my head for the past week. This week has been one of those times that everything little thing seems like a big deal and God seems to be hanging out in the distance rather than right next to me. Deep questions about life and the way I should live continue to bombard my mind and heart, becoming more and more complex. Let me share one with you.
One day last week was especially challenging. I had had a very long day and had many pent-up tears to cry when my dad picked me up that evening (he wasn't letting me drive in the snow yet). Through a face full of tears, I explained my "horrible" day to my patient father as he navigated through the icy streets. "Dad, she's just awful. She doesn't like me and I don't like her and it's so hard to communicate with her! It was just a horrible day!" I was hurt and upset and all I wanted was for my dad to justify my feelings. My dad, being the down-to-earth kind of guy that he is, proceeded to explore some of the reasons that this particular person may be the way that she is. That was not exactly what I wanted at that moment. I didn't care why she was the way she was. I wanted to be hurt and live in my little pity-party world without interferance. I continued to listen to my dad as we talked more about the situation. And then he prayed. The words that came out of his mouth next made my jaw drop. "God, I pray for this person. We bless her, Lord." Bless her?! I didn't want to bless her. She'd hurt me. She didn't deserve a blessing. Blessing her meant that I had to forgive her and that how she'd treated me didn't matter. And it did! I sat silently in the passenger seat, quietly collecting my thoughts. Shouldn't forgiveness be my first response to hurt? Shouldn't I want to bless her and pray for her salvation and understanding of God's love for her? It's been drilled into me since I was a small child: "forgive as your Heavenly Father has forgiven you." Sounds simple enough, right? Sure. In theory. That night, I realized that I have some pretty deep spots in my heart that I haven't yet allowed God to penetrate. I've kept pockets of hurt and pain from Him, knowing that if I allowed Him to open them, they would ooze and overwhelm me, causing even more pain. I wanted to have my own pity place, a place safe from conviction to allow me to dwell on the past rather than let God heal the wounds the past has left. A situation that happened last night opened up another pocket, causing me to realize yet again that forgiveness has been a continual struggle in my life. As hard as it is for me to admit, I'm thankful that God has brought this struggle to light. He is challenging me to forgive, even when it hurts, to be a living sacrifice. Yes, it hurts. And it's hard. But I'm willing to learn, willing to be poked and prodded and molded until I reflect my Savior's image. Why? Because He's worth it. And I love Him.