For those who know me well, this will not come as a surprise, but for those who don't I'm about to lay something out for you that I've struggled with for as long as I can remember. Forgiveness has been a real issue for me. When I say forgiveness, I don't mean for things that are slight but for things that have cut me deeply. I can get over a simple argument easily it's the other things that I have trouble with.
Nearly two years ago a close friend hurt me so deeply that I walked around in a fog. The pain was so consuming that I wore it like a shield of protection. If I kept the pain on the surface then it wouldn't hurt as deeply. My friend hit me where I was most vulnerable and where she knew it would do the most damage. She told me she didn't think I was a good mother.
I had dreamed of being a mother for so long that I was nearly overwhelmed once Violet entered this world. Fears of being a good mother plagued me in ways I cannot convey accurately. I questioned everything I did and analyzed everything. My friend knew this and had the strongest means of attack when she decided to use it.
I'm not sharing this with you so that you can pity me. Rather, I'm letting you know this for reference, so you can understand the depths of pain that I felt. I was reeling due to the blow I took by someone I considered a close friend.
During the time that has lapsed, from that day until now, have been spent in prayer and in study of the ordained Word of God. I found comfort in the words that are centuries old. Wisdom from those who walked before me became my guide to walk through the pain I was dealing with. I tried to talk with my former friend and resolve our issues, as scripture tells us to do, but my attempts fell on deaf ears. There was nothing more that I could do other than work on forgiving her, something that I needed to do. It was something that I had to do, not only for myself but also for Violet. I had to forgive so that I could model forgiveness for my daughter. The last thing I want for my precious daughter is to learn unforgiveness from me.
As I delved further in scripture God began to show me things that I had not realized regarding my friendship with this woman. A sign of a good friendship is that you both are being edified. A support system of sorts is developed. You can lean on one another during good and hard times. This friendship had long since slipped away from those things. It became a source of stress and ate away at my self-esteem. Instead of getting the support I needed as a new mother I found criticism and judgement.
I'm sure I contributed to the downfall of this friendship as well. I know I began to pull away from it due to the busy schedule of being a new mom. I also know that due to the feeling of being judged I pulled away. I was at a loss as how to deal with my friend's criticism. I had hoped that she would stop on her on rather than sitting down with her and telling her how I felt. It took a major incident to bring everything to the surface. Once that happened, I'm sure I wasn't the most sane person that I could be. My emotions were close to the surface and took a great deal of effort to tame. I eventually had to walk away from the friendship in order to heal.
I'm not sure when forgiveness came. I just realized recently that it had happened. My prayers had become second nature for me and were my sole focus. I think that's what needed to happen in order for forgiveness to occur. I had to stop analyzing everything and laying blame at someone's feet. The situation, my pain, and the outcome had to be given totally over to God. Then, and only then, could forgiveness come and peace settle where pain once resided.
Pride is not the right word to express how I feel about this recent change of feeling. If a label had to be put on this, I have no idea what it would be. I know that I'm happier than I've been in such a long time. My friend's hurtful words hung over me like a constant cloud, casting a shadow of doubt deep within my heart. When the clouds lifted I began to feel more confident in myself as Violet's mother. I began to feel more secure in the daily decisions I made regarding Violet's care. The doubt and pain I felt gradually disappeared and was replaced with the peace and confidence I so desperately needed. It happened so gradually that I didn't realize it.
I haven't talked with my friend in a very long time. We touched base with one another once and it was the strangest experience. I no longer knew this person. She no longer knew me. We were basically strangers. I don't know how she's doing but I pray that she is well and happy. Our husbands met recently and they shared some things with one another about our lives, what was going on with both families. They seem to be doing well but are contemplating some big changes in their lives. I pray they have the wisdom to make what is the wisest choice for them and their children. Mostly, I pray that God is near them and showing them what path to take in life.
I miss the friendship I once shared with this person. It was hard to lose someone that you were once very close to. She and I were there for the births of our children and celebrated with one another the joy of becoming mothers. We shared so many things. The loss over this friendship felt close to grief. It also hurt that our argument didn't just affect us but also affected our husbands. When I lost my friend my husband also lost his with her husband. I hate that that happened and wish desperately that I could change that.
Violet may never know the struggle with forgiveness that I have. I pray that she doesn't. We must model for our children the things we want them to live out when they grow up. If we want them to forgive others then we must be willing to forgive when we've been wronged. If we want our children to be honest then we have to be honest ourselves. If we want our children to know Christ then we must walk a godly life in front of them. I had to forgive my friend so that Violet could learn forgiveness herself. Not every lesson we teach our children will be easy. Some lessons must be taught as we walk through it. I'm thankful that I made it through this one and am able to show Violet what forgiveness is like
As for my friend...
"Father please be with my old friend. Work in her life and bless her and her family. May she feel your presence in her life. May she forgive me for the things I may have said or done that hurt her. Thank you for working in my life and helping me to forgive. Thank you for the peace that you've given me. I love you, Lord. Amen."