So many new changes are occurring in my life right now. The first being that I, Heather am going to be re-entering the workforce after an almost 14 year break. A plan that I hadn't ever thought of, but yet HE has planted so deeply within my heart. The second being that I am slowly joining the land of the living with the people of whom I did life with before I lost Seth. The third being that for months now I have been relinquishing my plans for my life, and have reached out for help for not only myself, but for my children as well. All which have led me to placing two of my children in public school, and only homeschooling my oldest two. All plans of which I NEVER wanted, or asked for... however because HE loves me so much, HE saw, HE knew exactly what I was going to be needing, and HE has given me just that.
Yesterday I drove up to join my dear sister's in CHRIST at a Winter Retreat. The theme of the weekend away was "Better Together." It was all about friendship, and why HE designed friendship, companionship, what keeps us from being authentic GOD honoring, CHRIST LED friends, and where in HIS word TRUE FRIENDSHIP is modeled within HIS word.
If I am being honest HIS Daily Teachings began yesterday at 3pm as I was driving to the retreat I had been praying that I would somehow be a blessing to the women of whom I was going to spending time with, and that our conversations would be blessed, and that I wouldn't feel jealous of their seemingly happy lives. I should have prepared my heart for what I was going to hear next, as I know it was HIM speaking deeply into my heart. HE was asking me to apologize to one of my sister's in CHRIST, someone WHOM I was deeply jealous and avoided like the plague, as I couldn't bear to see how happy she was with her family of 3 precious little boys. She was moving up in our church, in the world, and the more I looked, the more the enemy spoke into my ear. "See all she has and you don't have, GOD didn't trust you and that's why HE took Seth away from you. See all that you will NEVER have, and she's gloating to you, with her smile." I am so ashamed when I think about how much I allowed the enemies words to creep into my heart, and how I made agreements based upon the assumptions that I had made about her.
Which brings me to the moment that I heard HIS voice, and felt HIM leading me to apologize. I froze, I cried, I denied, and I said. "no.... no way, I'm not sorry, I will NOT apologize, I'm the one who lost her son, I am the one who has had to struggle living my life. I am the one who has had to watch everyone live their happy oh so freaking blessed lives, forget you, NO WAY..... NO HOW..... pick someone else, I am NOT doing it.
The closer the retreat I got, the more I felt HIS insistence on me apologizing and admitting to my jealousy, my anger, and my resent. All of which led to complete and total discontentment, and comparison, both of which led to a breakdown, and downfall of our friendship. Over and over I "tried" to reason with HIM, I "tried" to negotiate with HIM, as if to say, "nope NOT gonna happen, I will be nice, I will be friendly, but apologizing NO, I REFUSE!!!!"
Feeling satisfied in my justification as to my telling HIM no, I "thought" I know I made the right decision for me, as I'm the one who's hurt, hurting, and will continue to be hurt for the rest of my life. Foolishly allowing myself to believe that I was really in control of my life, and that I, Heather knew myself better.... you know even more than the ONE WHO created me?!? I laugh now, but I wasn't laughing last night.
At 7pm my dear sister in CHRIST K spoke a message that began with what Better Together looked like, but when we allow the lies of the enemy to creep into our hearts, how quickly our friendships can change, and our hearts can be hardened. Again I felt HIM prompt me, go to her and apologize, and I sat straight up into my seat and said, "NO." By this time I was sure it had to be the enemy setting me up for a fall so I pushed the voice aside and began to reason WHY HE would NEVER ask that of me, as I wasn't wrong, I have been hurt, am hurting, and will continue to hurt. My life will never be any easier when it comes to living without my son, and though the waves of grief will lessen, they will never go away, and it won't be until I am on the bridge into forever, that I will see my son, as he will be waiting for me.
Well if I had any doubts the entire time she was speaking, at the end of her message she was talking about those of us who NEEDED HIM, to release, restore, renew our hearts, and our friendships. Again, I heard HIS voice, "go to her and apologize." It was then that K spoke and said, "we're going to do an altar call, and we will have people up front to pray for you if you need prayer."
One of the blessings of the retreat was having some of our talented sister's in CHRIST from our church lead us in worship. The words of the song began to register in my head, and my tears began to flow. Before I knew it, my tears came pouring out of my eyes, and this ache, this longing this need, this urgency began to rise up into my throat. Again HIS voice spoke, "go to her, she is right there, I have placed her there ON PURPOSE, go to her and apologize, let ME love you, let me HUMBLE you, let go and TRUST ME."
"Are you hurting and broken within
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well
Jesus is calling
O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ" O Come to the Altar "Elevation Worship"
Finally after a break in my tears was received, the push, the urgency was heard, "go." With that I quickly moved straight into her arms, where I collapsed and cried with all the pain in my soul of how very, very sorry I was for hating her, for being jealous of her, and allowing all of my animosity to come between us. I sobbed deep into her chest, as if I were crying deep into HIS chest..... (I almost positive I left some of my face on her shirt.... sorry M :( My tears fell violently from my eyes, as if HE opened the floodgates of all my pain, sorrow, and anguish in losing our friendship in the past year. I cried so hard to her, all of my sins, and all of my thoughts, and struggles in "trying" so hard to survive losing my son, and how everywhere I went I was horrendously reminded that Seth is gone, he is just gone. There's nothing to see, hold onto, other than memories, he is just gone.
I don't know how long I cried, all I know is when we reached our hangout time for the evening, I had to go back to my room to wash my face, as I had cried most of it off. As I was in my room trying to regain my sense of self, I felt this huge release, a relief, HIS gift to me. I realized it was because I allowed myself to be humbled, HE blessed me immensely with the much needed release and relief of tension that had built this massive wall between us. As I made my way back into the meeting room, I was able to look her in the eye and have a conversation with her, without feeling upset. I also saw my therapist, and she told me how proud she was of me, as she watched me walk over and fall into her arms. My therapist told me that I was very brave to do that, as she knew how much my heart desired for us to reconcile, as I couldn't stand that we weren't close friends anymore. However, I didn't want to be hurt every time I saw her, as the enemy loved, and loves NOTHING more than to torture my already tortured soul.
This my friends leads me to this, today here and now, I'm standing up and I'm saying that even though it may not seem popular, I CHOOSE to be humbled, I CHOOSE to BE CHRIST LED, I CHOOSE HIM, as I know HE loves me more than I could possibly imagine. This is not to say that I'm somehow living in this dream-like euphoric state, please, I am human, and I am emotional, and I'm going to make mistakes, I'm going to make agreements with the enemy whether I realize I have or not, but the one thing that keeps me anchored to my FAITH is HIS constant and abundant love and grace for me.
I am confident more than ever that HE will STOP at NOTHING for me to feel HIS love for me, even if that means that HE is wanting for me to BE humbled by HIS teachings. I am confident, that I will make mistakes, but that HIS grace will be enough for me. I am confident that I won't have a moment where I won't be reminded of all that I have lost, yet I will be reminded that forever is waiting for me. I am confident that each new day brings a new set of challenges, however HE is in it, and has already walked through my day ahead of me, and all I need to remember is to open my hands, my eyes, my ears, and my heart to receive ALL that I am NEEDING to live today. I am confident that HE is indeed doing a good work deep within me, for a greater purpose that I can't even begin to fathom. I am confident that I am mess but I'm HIS mess, I am perfectly flawed, and through HIS deep endless love for me, with HIM teaching, leading, and guiding me, I will climb this mountain of learning to TRUST not only HIM again, but the other perfectly flawed people in my life.
My dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS, it is my humble prayer that you will let go, and let HIM open the floodgates of your pain, that you will allow HIM to release you of your struggles, and your sin. I pray that in my sharing another part of my story you will know that you are not alone, and whatever it is that is holding you back from standing up and going to where HE has called you, I pray that you will know that for as long as it takes, HE will speak straight into your heart, and when you do, HE will be there with arms open wide. HIS invitation to you all today is this, "O come to altar, the FATHERS arms are open wide, FORGIVENESS was bought with the precious blood of JESUS CHRIST."
always with so much love, respect, understanding, and compassion,
Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,