Column Post by Glenda Harbinson
I’d sat on that sill many times before. The large window was a favorite place of mine, never mind that it was in a washroom. it was a long, tall window overlooking the neighborhood and I could sit there thinking, praying, and meditating knowing the locked door assured nobody could walk in on me.
Recent visits to the windowsill hadn’t been happy ones. I had been sitting there seeking privacy to cry, to silently scream my WHY’s at God, to sob until I couldn’t breathe waiting for answers that never seemed to come. I wasn’t mature in my faith, yet I knew that God heard me and that He answered me. I also knew that He didn’t always say yes. I begged him to say yes. I had no idea the silence meant “wait five more years”.
For many years I had prayed for a friend who would know me intimately. One who would know the dark side of life that I had experienced and love me enough to help me walk through it. A friend who would stand up to me and not be afraid to tell me what I needed to hear. Six years before, God had sent just that friend into my life and we had both been deeply happy. God had used her in my life in numerous ways and I believed He had used me in hers as well. How could our friendship be going so badly downhill?
Every time we spoke any more it seemed to go poorly. If I tried to approach something, I hurt her feelings. If she tried to talk to me, I allowed my own heart to be hurt. We just could not get it right. She had recently lost her mom, and the ache of losing my dad was too fresh for me. It seemed those experiences should bond us, not drive a wedge. But that wasn’t how it was working. Somehow it almost seemed we competed for who hurt most. At least that’s how it felt to me. I wasn’t seeing very clearly at the time.
I cried. A lot. I asked God to fix us. I got angry at my friend, at God, at myself. None of this helped. God seemed to be silent on the issue until one day in my window I heard Him tell me, “Let her go.”
Excuse me, God? She’s my best friend. Let her go?
“Yes, my child. Let her go.”
It took me weeks. I couldn’t do it. She felt it, I’m sure of it. I hate that I hurt her more in my refusal to obey God, but I didn’t want to let her go. Finally, on another night sobbing in my window I told God His will sure had to be better than mine, and I agreed.
That’s where God and I divided in plan. I couldn’t articulate what was wrong. I couldn’t tell her, in part because I had no idea myself what was happening, and in part because I was both afraid of hurting her and afraid of her response to me.
I didn’t tell her. I blocked her email and told the kids not to answer the phone. Oh, I was so wrong. I was weak and I didn’t show the love of Christ at all in those decisions. I could spend the rest of my life beating myself up for that. But God is an awesome God and He forgave me.
Five years later, after several tries at reconciliation, we are growing stronger—and on a much firmer foundation than ever before.
I was a long time coming to the realization that I had also done wrong and had played a part in the destruction of this friendship, but I have grown and realized that God can take a hurting, broken, resentful “don’t want to see that I was wrong, too” heart and transform it.
We’re still a work in progress—and we always will be—but as long as God is the artist we are bound to turn out to be something beautiful.
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Glenda is a homeschooling mom of four in New Brunswick, Canada. She also fosters one teen and provides respite care and tutoring for another. She and her paramedic husband Mark have been married for 24 years. Glenda’s writings often reflect her personal experience parenting and teaching children with developmental and learning differences, as well as a particular empathy for moms with chronic illness. She blogs at http://pwsmommy.homeschooljournal.net/ and can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org