Thursday, October 23, 2008

At Your Own Risk

That phrase follows a lot of terms, "enter," "continue," "participate," all at your own risk, in other words, assuming the liability as you go.

This morning I made a truly conscious effort for the first time in a long time to really connect with the Lord. I prayed, sought, directed my heart and my mind toward Him with great intention. I know, as Christians, that's what we're supposed to do, every day, but I fail in that, a lot. And I cannot imagine I am the only one.

Somewhere when I got up this morning and made the decision to do this, there should have been a sign that read, "be purposeful at your own risk," or "seek His will at your own risk." You see, having given the Lord my attention, He decided to start speaking. Sometimes what He has to say isn't always a pleasure to hear.

Nine months ago I had a falling out with a family member. To protect both the innocent and the guilty I may have to be annoyingly vague, so forgive me if that is indeed the case. Something happened that I felt required a certain decision be made by me. I made the call but without telling this relative my reasons behind it because I didn't feel it was my place to judge her or the situation. I shared with someone I hold more obligation to the reason for my decision and asked them not to tell her. That person didn't do what I asked and this relative was extremely offended when she heard my reason behind my decision. It was about setting a righteous example for my son.

When my relative called me on the phone after my confidence had been broken she spent a mile and a half ripping me to shreds. I know it was a mile and a half because I was walking a track at the time. When she first called I tried to apologize for jumping to judgment but she told me she didn't want to hear my phony apologies and then proceeded to spend the next 45 minutes telling me I was a horrible mother, a horrible Christian, a hypocrite, it went on and on. All I said through the whole tirade was, "you should stop, you can't take these things back." To which she replied she had no intention of taking them back and that she has kept her mouth shut for 38 years (my whole life) not telling me what she really thought of me.

When I got home that night I sent her an email trying to apologize again for what I felt I had done, not addressing my initial concern with her directly. She wrote me back an email that was just as vicious as the phone call. Here are a couple of direct quotes.

"self-serving, self-righteous, legalistic, unkind, hurtful, unfair, manipulative, judgmental, reactive, immature and highly hypocritical"

Toward the end of the letter she wrote this, "From this point on, I have to take responsibility for my not speaking out and being honest with you, allowing myself to be compromised. What I said was deliberate, thoughtful and not said unintentionally in the heat of anger. My words were not meant to be forgotten or taken back."


Now, for me, I think there is a difference between saying something about something someone has done, versus who they are. This wasn't about what she felt I had done but rather who I am. That's just me.

Re-reading this letter, well, it's not good. I haven't done it until I decided to write this post, but it brings back all the hurt and pain from the venom I felt that day. There was also a lot, A LOT of criticism about my parenting, remember according to this person, I am a "horrible mother." You know I think that hurt the most, because I know I am far from a perfect mom. I fail in that are all the time. It's like an Achilles heel for me.

In the beginning I was really hurt, and for a while angry, but not as much or for as long as a lot of people suspected or accused me of it. What my eventual feeling about it was simply that the words that were said could not be taken back. They would always be between us, and although I truly feel I forgive this person, I also feel just as strongly that I could never have an intimate relationship with the where I felt safe and able to make myself vulnerable. I still feel that way.

Other things have happened in my family that have nothing to do with me, despite certain people's efforts to make them about me. The family has truly taken the "fun" out of dysfunctional.

So fast forward to today, with my open ears to God. I told you in my last post I felt like I was supposed to spend some time here blogging about things God has done in my life, sharing parts of my testimony. So I was pondering the things God has done when he reminded me something about this relative.

This was the person who gave Christ to me. That's all God said. He just reminded me that I came to Christ through that relationship. When I was a child most of my memories of being in a church were with this person. I walked an aisle and accepted Christ at 12 at Sonlight Church because this person took me there. When I was a teenager the few times I went to Rose Drive Baptist church, it was because this person took me. And when I was deep in pain and sin and desperate for God, this person took me to the church where I have remained for nearly 17 years.

I don't know what my next step is. God didn't say "call" this person, or "write" this person. He didn't say, "reconcile." All He said was "remember." I prayed a hard prayer in response to His directive. I prayed, "I'll do what You ask, Lord." And now I have made myself accountable to whoever reads this! He hasn't asked anything yet, but I know He's working in my heart. It is not a matter of unforgiveness, I have released my anger, but now I have to wonder what else God is going to ask me to let go of. But as I wait for Him to speak, for now I am just remembering.

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