WHAT just happened???
I’m literally writing this moments after this exchange.
And, I’m a mix of super stoked to completely humbled and on the verge of falling into a heap of messy, snotty tears.
I won’t butter this up for you. I just won’t. This world is full of way too much of that. I’m a tell-it-like-it-is-kinda-girl and my relationship with God is just that.
So, when I tell you this story, know it’s coming straight from the gut of my being – all the messy, all the redeemed – you’re getting a FULL mixed bag tonight.
So here it is.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving. A wonderful holiday that we (should) enjoy with loved ones. Those who we dearly love and those who we believe love us in return.
I’m a fan of this season. Not gonna lie. I’m a sucker for all things sentimental. I wake up Thanksgiving morning (and Christmas too) with an expectation of how it’s going to be. Of the people I’ll get to see and the conversations that will be had.
I dream of all the sweet little moments created throughout the day that will warm my heart for years to come. (I know. It already sounds like a sappy greeting card. *SIGH*)
The only problem is this little thing called family.
A family is made up of people.
Wounded, breakable, people.
People who are imperfect.
People who are hurting. And who often can hurt me.
I had an encounter with one of those people. One who I love more than I EVEN know how to explain. I’d give my right arm for this girl. And, I’ve not done anything wrong (that I know of) to her. But, she is wounded….
And, I did something she didn’t like.
Innocently, but still she was irritated.
She spoke unkindly.
And wouldn’t stop.
I set a firm boundary without being angry or crazy.
And, then it happened.
She said the words that only happen to me in nightmares.
She said she hated me.
And this is where it gets interesting.
I look over at my husband who is ready to call in a firing brigade to defend me. I look to my little ones who are shocked and confused. Then, I look in the eyes of this person who is filled with so much anger…
For a still moment it’s quiet.
They are all looking at me.
Waiting to see how I will respond…
Now, I can tell you how I would’ve responded years ago. I would’ve said some defensive comment and stormed off. Or I would’ve said some woe is me kinda response to really make them feel guilty for what they said.
Then I would’ve retreated and fallen into a heap of tears begging God to show me what was wrong with me. Screaming at heaven as to why this person hated me and what I had done to deserve it.
All of my old wounds would’ve made an ugly appearance and I would’ve cowered away to lick my wounds for months…possibly until the next Thanksgiving.
That is how it would’ve gone.
Just being honest.
But, this time was different. Very different.
In that moment of quiet, a peace rested on me that was uncomfortable. And, only uncomfortable because it was new. But, I soon was VERY okay with it.
I looked in her eyes and I was unmoved.
Not in stubbornness. Not in arrogance. Not in some weird self-righteousness stance. I was unmoved in love.
THAT was new.
She quickly got uncomfortable and left the room.
I then saw the faces of my little ones. Their faces filled with a million questions that would’ve sent me into a mom-guilt frenzy.
But, instead, I calmly I turned to them and explained what God calls us to hate (ie: hate what is evil, cling to what is good)
We are to hate evil. Not people. (It was a great teaching opportunity I might add. Thank you Jesus) Once my kids saw I was okay, they were fine and Zac eventually simmered down.
My kids saw that I was unphased by that behavior, heard me speak the truth of God’s love and rise above the atmosphere that she had attempted to create.
Again, didn’t see that coming.
But, here’s where I got completely wrecked by God’s awesomeness.
This is where it gets SO good.
She approached me later to apologize. Which I thanked her for. And again, old me would’ve seized that opportunity to utterly chastise her for her ridiculous behavior. (I can ONLY imagine WHAT my crazy self would have said. Oh Jesus…)
But, I’ve learned.
I’ve learned to allow God to potter me and not my circumstances. I refuse to give them the right to shape and mold me. And, in that moment I clung to Him with everything I had.
Before I EVEN KNEW WHAT I WAS SAYING, scripture came pouring out of me. (And, not condemning scripture to make me feel right and her feel wrong. That’s just gross) But, life-giving truth came out of me. Wisdom that I NEVER would’ve had if left to my own devices.
It was awesome.
She softened. She listened.
After she left, Zac asked me how I was doing. People, I promised I wouldn’t butter this up. I kid you not, this is what I actually said:
I don’t allow people to define me anymore. I know who I am….I really know it. And, you can spit on me, you can call me names, you can laugh at me and you can even say you hate me – but all you’re going to get out of me is love.
Zac threw his arms around me and just started laughing, saying how AMAZING GOD IS because only God could be behind a change that drastic in his wife 😉
I then started doing something even crazier.
I started SINGING PRAISE SONGS.
Who is this person???!
Like, I couldn’t stop myself. They just kept coming out of me. And I was smiling. Genuinely filled with joy.
As I sat down to write this, a wave of gratitude flooded me nearly knocking me down with tears. Because, guys, this is freedom. I’m free from myself. From my own insecurities, from my own shortcomings – when you’re free from that, no one can shake you.
Not even someone you love telling you they hate you.
When a deep, wounded place of my past was poked, all that came out was love – because Jesus has redeemed that place. And no one can reside there other than Him.
As I processed this with God, he showed me that this is fruit of what happens when we go all in with Him. When we allow the freedom of the gospel to penetrate EVERY ounce of our lives – when we refuse to hold anything back from him, HE DELIVERS ON EVERY PROMISE.
Like, joy instead of sorrow? Yeah, I’m living that in REAL TIME.
And, I’m seeing that when HE is what you’re seeking above everything else, loving those who persecute you isn’t something you struggle with. It’s honestly really easy. Like, it’d be harder for me to be full of anger and rage right now than love. It’s just not inside of me.
Jesus is inside of me. And he wants out.
I still have a ways to go on this journey. I want more of this. I crave Him.
But, one thing is for certain: I’m all in.