Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Letter to God

Dear Lord,

It's me, and it's the same old thing. I thought I'd better talk to You about it. It's festering, and I know it will only spread its poison deep into my heart if I don't.

I had such hope when I reached out that last time. I told myself not to expect too much, not to expect anything at all really, but my heart just doesn't seem to listen to my head. I waited with hope for a long time, going over all the valid reasons why it wasn't sensible to expect an answer. But then I began to feel the hurt and resentment bubble up from down deep inside.

I tried Father, I really did. I even wrote a poem about not letting feelings rule my heart. I knew what You wanted me to do. I am so slow to learn. I looked again  this morning. When there was nothing there, I just let the feelings overwhelm me.

It is amazing the way one emotion snowballs into another, gathering momentum and size the longer I allow it to roll unhindered by wisdom or reason. Disappointment, to anger, to bitterness to discouragement, to a turning inward that shuts everything else down. It begins to color every area of my life until all I see is covered in shadow.

I began to rattle off the list of things I would never do again, the ways I would never put myself out there again, the ways I was such a failure. And then You reminded me:

A conversation with my daughter - just a few short days ago - when she was so upset with a friend that amidst a shower of tears she declared the friendship over. When the anger subsided a bit, she admitted there was just the slightest chance there may have been a misunderstanding, a reasonable explanation. I dispensed my dose of motherly wisdom, and she wrote to the friend. The misunderstanding was cleared up and the friendship salvaged.

Before she wrote that letter, I told her there was always the possibility that it wouldn't be - that the hurt might have been deliberate. Then there could have been forgiveness - even if there had been no apology. We always have that choice. When we chose to forgive, even under those circumstances, we let go of the anger and bitterness that hurt us far more than the other person.

Thank You for reminding me. Thank You for Your infinite patience with this oh so slow to learn daughter. Forgive me for letting my feelings take precedence over my faith. I know the enemy likes nothing better. Look how far off course I let him take me.

I'm giving this to You - yet again Father. I don't want to ever take it back again. I don't imagine the situation will change, but I choose to embrace forgiveness and grace. They are the gifts You have given me in abundance. How could I withhold them from anyone else?

 Ephesians 4:31-32

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

With deep reverence and love,

picture:Henriette Browne, 'A Girl Writing', oil painting, about 1860-1880. Museum no. 1083-1886