Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Reunited

There are a couple of things I'm really good at: reading (Is that really a talent? Probably not.) and talking (again, probably not a talent). There are several things I'm pretty good at: playing the piano, following directions (not glamorous, but it is helpful in life!), making others feel comfortable, and crocheting. And there are SO many things I'm terrible at: anything athletic, anything scientific, anything requiring adrenaline, and anything that involves my vocal chords and melody. But the thing I'm probably, hands-down worst at, is holding a grudge.

Before you think, How is that a bad thing?, you need to know that I have tried, on so many occasions, to stay mad. I tried to stay mad at my brother most of our growing up years. He was obnoxious at worst, and mildly irritating at best, until he was at least 11 years old. I got mad at him all the time, but it was the staying mad that I couldn't master. And sometimes, I just wanted to stay mad. I wanted to withhold forgiveness, because back then, I thought that offering my forgiveness meant that I was saying the wrong done to me was okay. So it was annoying to get over it so quickly! (I've always had a problem with consistency.)

(I now realize that forgiving someone has less to do with the actual offense than with the state of my heart. By forgiving, I'm not saying what was done is not wrong, or that I wasn't hurt by it, but I am saying that despite the wrongness of it, and the hurt incurred, that I can let it go because it hurts me more to hold onto unforgiveness.)

But enough of the theology, back to my problem. It's inconvenient not being able to hold a grudge! If my husband and I get into a fight--er, discussion--I want to be able to hold onto that anger, so I can prove my point with some fire! I want to show, in a tangible way, that I AM MAD! What generally happens, instead, is that after about 10 minutes of feeling unjust, persecuted, under-appreciated, and in general, a martyr, I start seeing how I was in the wrong, as well. Just as I'm throwing prayers up saying, "Lord, change that man! Convict him! He needs to get right! Smite him!" I start hearing little whispers of "Apologize. Submit. Quit being so dramatic. Stop focusing on your own point of view. Try not being selfish." And then I start feeling the anger slip away, realizing that I am just as guilty. Always. Because even if I wasn't the cause of the conflict, I am always a willing participant when it comes to having a ready answer that's filled with more sassiness than needed. (Like I said, talking is one of my talents!)

Last week, when we got a diagnosis for our daughter that was devastating, I responded with white-hot anger. At God. I would've liked to direct it at somebody else, but there was no one else to blame. God made her, and all I could think was that He did this to her. Which means that if He wanted to, He could've not done this to her. So I was angry. Beyond angry, I was furious. Livid.

Remarkably, I sustained this anger for six days. Six days! That's a record for me. My old record was something like six hours. But there was a problem: every time I felt overwhelmed, I turned to God in prayer. Halfway through the words, "Lord, I feel . . ." I'd remember that I was mad at Him, and I'd finish off, lamely, "Oh, that's right. I'm mad at You. I'm not talking to You." This happened again, and again, and again.

And then I realized that I felt so much more alone, because I couldn't--no, wouldn't--turn to the One I always run to first when I'm hurt. And I had a breakthrough. It was literally one of those moments that I know I'll never forget: I saw, so clearly, that the reason I've never been able to hold on to anger is because I treasure relationships above anything else. And when I'm mad at someone, there is a break in communication, a distance, that I simply can't stand. I may be mad at my husband for some little wrong, but within just a few minutes I realize that the wrong is not worth missing out on intimacy with him. My relationship with my Father has always been important to me, but it is absolutely essential, like air to breathe and water to survive, now that I am walking in a very dark, very long, very lonely valley. And although this "wrong" done to my daughter, which very likely is not a wrong at all in His eyes, as hard as it is for me to accept, is not worth a break in my relationship with Him.

Does this mean I'll never again feel angry about this situation? I doubt it. But it has shown me, with clarity I've never had before, how important walking with God is to me. And while I wouldn't have chosen this path for my family, and right now I'd still get off it if given the choice, I can see that He has amazing things, amazing truths, planned for me along the way. If only I can get out of the way and let Him teach me.

25 comments:

  1. This is like reading the diary you used to keep hidden from me; then it likely would have made my hair stand on end; now it soothes a mother's heart to see where her hurting daughter is at. Even parents of 30 year old little girls need to be reminded He is the ultimate parent, and well-able to care for all that hurts you, better than we ever could. And yes, your brother was really obnoxious. That should encourage young moms - that they generally grow out of it.

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  2. I just blogged about this exact thing today :)

    You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers

    -H

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  3. This reminds me of the song God Ran.
    And then he ran to me and took
    me in his arms, put my head to
    his chest, and wiped away the tears
    from my eyes and said Son,
    Do you know I still love you? God ran...

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  4. Welcome home! Hope your sweet girl is doing well.

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  5. This is beautiful Sarah! I really have no words, just really, really beautiful!

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  6. Amen. Beautiful post, Sarah!

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  7. This post makes me so happy! (I have to say though,when I first read the title of this post that old Reunited song...you know, because it feels so good... kept going through my head....and going and going. I'm sure it will be there all day!)

    You are such an inspriation to so many. Hope that's not too much pressure. =)

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  8. Wow Sarah, how God is using you! Thank you again for your honesty and your vulnerability.

    When you have a free moment (not sure those exist for mommies!) you might want to check out this video. It's a good 10 minutes long, but worth the time. My friend was very touched by it, as she is right now dealing with anger towards God. Her husband has been struck with cancer and does not have long to live. He is in his early 30s.

    http://www.nooma.com/Shopping/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=270&Mode=WMV&PMID=122

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  9. A lot of times the Lord speaks to me before I even roll out of bed. Right before Josiah and his five stuffed animals and guitar crawls into bed with me, He speaks!This morning the Lord was showing me so much about my past and it's necessity. I thought about the difficult things I faced as a child and all the times I sat in my closet and cried wondering why I had to go through so much stuff. Today I am beginning to understand so much better. I can see that all the pain was in His plan. It was meant to be a part of my timeline. Those things had to happen or I would not be where I am today. I think the same about you. God is doing so much in your life and teaching you so many things. It's really a beautiful place to be even though at times it seems so bad, especially when it involves little Addie. I am amazed by your strength, amazed by your spirit. You may never know how many women you really have reached. Think about all the people that read this blog and don't comment. I am learning so much from you. In fact I had a situation come up yesterday and I thought about you and how you would handle it. That probably sounds weird but I just want you to understand what an impact you make in so many lives, especially mine. Thank you for teaching me Sarah. I remember on Beach retreat you telling me how Pace proposed. I STILL remember! You two have always had such a great story and I am so excited that the Lord has truly blessed your marriage. Big things are in store for your family! BIG things!

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  10. Thanks for sharing this. When reading I thought about my 4 year old daughter who is just like you in not being able to bear a rift. When she has gotten in trouble, she is so quick to come cuddle and apologize. What a sweet spirit that shows.

    Hugs

    Mary

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  11. Wow, all along reading all I could think of is what awesome thing that Lisa has you writing for her. Many christian women will learn so much from you. (Including me) :)

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  12. Sarah,

    Though I've just started reading your blog, I'm blown away by your honesty & your spirit. Glad that you're hearing His music once again.

    Thanks for sharing

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  13. This is a beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing.

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  14. O.K. so I'm catching up on your blogs so I can know what you and your blogmates are talking about. And SO enjoying it! I have to say this is a difficult time of waiting for me and once again, I've let my check book get into bad shape and frustrated my husband. "Why didn't you just tell me you needed some money!" Sorry, sorry, sorry, again. See we have more in common than you might have thought. About apologizing, I mean. I'm sure your check book is just fine. You know I begin to think this time is hard, then feel guilty about that because it seems so petty compared to what you are walking through. But then my training says, everyone's pain and difficulty are hard for them. There is no comparison. I had a pastor once who said, "God doesn't give dying grace to non-dying days." By that he meant, God will carry you through whatever is going on and you can't say, "Oh I could never ..." or "God knew who could handle that." That statement would make me think, "Thanks ALOT God. How about not trusting me so much!" So I agree with you that He gives us more than we can handle so that we throw ourselves on Him. It's called faith...or desperation. I get those confused sometimes. I've got so much saved up to talk to you about, that it will seem like rambling babble, or babbling ramble. So I'll just stop. I've enjoyed your posts so much and so far I've read all of June and all of the comments. I'm working my way back. I'm praying for you today.

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  15. Sarah, you are truly a wonderful role model for us girls, and especially us baby Christians. As your "little cousin" you need to know how much I look up to you, and how much you inspire me. Every day, reading your blog is like another lesson in faith for lil ol me. Thank you.

    Texas Gal- that is my all-time favorite song, and the first Christian cd I ever bought.

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  16. Sarah - What is it with us and the commenting? I could've sworn that I commented this morning. But maybe I skipped that last critical step: you know, publishing the comment.

    ANYWAY, I can't take conflict. I'm pretty quick to forgive. But I never realized, until I read your post, that maybe it's because I value relationships so much. Thanks for figuring that out for me. :-)

    Love you, Sarah!

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  17. Sarah,

    I came here after seeing Lisa's Journal. Thank you for blogging. I am a mom of a very active 91/2 month old son. Congrats of your family and Addie will be in my prayers. I look forward to your future posts.

    Michelle Forgey

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  18. Sarah- what a great post! Heartwarming. Thanks so much for sharing that.

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  19. Sarah, the way you're handling this and being so open and honest about your feelings is an inspiration to us all. I couldn't be prouder to be your aunt.

    xoxoxo

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  20. Sarah,
    It's awesome that we have a God who can handle our anger. I mean, if we can stand our children being put-off with us -- and still want nothing but the best for them -- how much greater is his capacity to handle our anger? I would think being a pastor's wife puts extra pressure on you to respond to everything the way "a good Christian woman should." Well, Sarah, you just be you. Go through whatever you need to go through to live authentically. I know I don't "know" you, but I love you as the sister you are in Christ. You're in my prayers.

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  21. Thank you for brining some perspective to my life...I tend to hold grudges and you're right, it literally tkes all your energy! I loved the way you explained how the apology does not make the "action" ok...you're the best. Thank you!

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  22. Wow, Sarah...wow. Thank you for sharing that.

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  23. May the Lord bless you and keep you!
    Thanks for your honesty.

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