Only one of the things in that list pertain to what I want to write. I had to announce a big decision this week. I knew it was going to be painful to some people. I'm being a little vague because there are still some people who do not know. I prayed through my decision, sought counsel, and trusted God with the decision I made and the fact that my announcing it was going to be difficult. It was one of those decisions that was more difficult. It wasn't, "Of course you have to do this; the other is sin." No, both choices were perfectly good, righteous choices. But in my time with God and in my conversations with people, I could just feel my heart stirring and leading toward the decision I made.
Once the decision was made, I began asking God to show me when to make the announcement and how to do it in such a way that would be edifying and hopefully not discouraging. So I wrote a letter. I had Brent read it. I reread it. I made some changes. I reread it again. And I prayed that God would give me the courage to give the letter. I was going to give it in person. The purpose of the letter was simply so that my words would be down on paper, hopefully preventing my anxiety and stress from doing the talking instead of my real feelings. In my time praying, I just hoped that God would make the announcement easier . . . make the person receiving the announcement more understanding, calm my nerves, etc. I was still stressed when I did it, but I had on some level convinced myself that because I was seeking God and following his commands and direction for my life, it was going to go well.
It didn't. I guess it could have been worse, but it certainly wasn't good.
So the rest of the week was a challenge. The people it hurt are people I have to see all the time. And it's hard to face people you've hurt . . . even if your intentions were not to hurt them.
As I thought about this and prayed through it almost constantly, I was reminded of how silly it was for me to expect God was going to make this easy on me. I thought about Scripture and how often people suffered for following God and making the decisions He wanted them to make. The list is endless, but the most significant, of course, is Jesus. He had a choice, and He made it for us, even though it hurt him. And every time I don't live my life according to His will, it hurts Him again. And he was hurt for me . . . there was nothing in what he did that he deserved. Every analogy breaks down. And this one does quickly. The decision I made will benefit me in many ways. There are things I will sacrifice, but not a lot . . . not my life like Jesus. There are people who will benefit from my decision, but there are people who are hurt because of it. Jesus' decision was for the benefit of all mankind, and only hurt him. Life is not easy. Sometimes we have to walk through some really hard things, maybe because we were hurt by someone, but maybe because we did the hurting (even if it was unintentional). So as I have been walking through this over the past several days, I have been trying to see what God wants me to learn through it.
My friend, Isabel, says, "It's easy to love the lovely. It takes Christ's love to love the unlovely." One thing I have learned this week is that the unlovely is sometimes someone you would not typically put in that category. I have also learned that though I want to run and though I want to be angry with the unlovely person(s), God can help me love through those feelings, if I will submit them to Him. And this love that comes from God and exudes through us makes a lasting impression on people. I will continue to have to face this challenge (these people/person) for a while, maybe forever, I don't know, but I am praying constantly that God will help me love so that He will be glorified.
And then I look at the positive. While it didn't go as well as I had hoped, the announcement is made, and I am excited for the change. My boys are back from Haiti . . . they are healthy . . . Jason loved it . . . they are both seeking to serve the Lord in incredible ways. We didn't owe on our taxes, and I got them done on time. And the stress at work, while it will continue because of the nature of the job, is allowing me a little break, and overall the lives I have seen changed outweighs the stress. Money is temporary, and we have so much more than so many people. And we ended the work with with an amazing time of worship and praise with great friends. God is amazing . . . providing for us as we need. We don't normally have Friday night praise and worship nights, but He knew how much I was going to need that last night . . . He is truly incredible!