God has been teaching me so much lately . . . in not so fun ways, I might add. It was really good that during the past two months Brent was teaching on faith and hope and that my personal study focused on cycles of sin, God’s sovereignty, and hesed (Definition provided by Sandra Glahn: “the one word chosen above all others to summarize what God is like: full of loyal, committed, merciful, enduring, faithful, covenant-keeping love.”). As my friends who are in ministry know, it can sometimes really, really stink. Or for those who are not in ministry, just being a servant like Jesus calls us to be can stink. There are times that you feel like you give and give beyond what most people would expect, yet the first time you fail to meet an expectation, people are quick to run. Loyalty seems to be a lost word in the world these days. I have spent a lot of time in tears, crying out to God in pain, and I’m not going to lie, anger.
I have wanted to run from relationships . . . current ones and the potential for future ones. I have begged God to teach me how to serve others the way He has called me to serve them (no strings attached and with genuine love) but without attaching to them on any emotional level. I want to do what He wants, but I want to save myself in the process, but that prayer has not been answered in the way I want. I was driving home the other night after having been physically attacked for 45 minutes by a hurting child (I’m not exaggerating. I was probably hit no less than 20 times and was kicked in the head, had my hair pulled, was scratched and bit, and this happened just after a pretty huge emotional hit unrelated to the little girl.), God reminded me that we are called into a RELATIONSHIP with him and a He wants us in relationships with others, genuine authentic relationships, which are not possible without some sort of attachment. Thus that prayer of mine will not be answered the way I want because it is contrary to His will.
So while I have a level of fear regarding friendships at the moment, I want to push past this, not let Satan win the battle, and nurture current relationships and create new ones. God has blessed me with some pretty great people in my life. Now, they are human, and who knows if they will be in my life a year from now (or a week from now for that matter. God is the only being I can count on to be there for all the tomorrows to come). But if I let something get me down so much that I don’t cultivate these friendships, they will be gone for sure. I will be losing out on so much that God wants me to learn and understand, and I will be missing opportunities to love and serve others as well. Instead of running from friends, my goal is to cultivate them. I am working part time now, which is a huge blessing, and it gives me more time to do just that. I’m feeling both apprehensive and excited for what the Lord has for me in the months to come.
The question that stood out to me from my Bible study on Ruth recently is, “Can you trust that what looks to you like an ending may be the beginning of something great?” Of course . . . or maybe not. I want my answer to be of course, but my heart and often my actions say anything but of course. Sometimes when I feel let down it can look like an ending, but when I look back at other endings, they were truly beginnings. I can see it now because I am past it. I’m no longer sucked in by the emotion of pain. What was hazy is now clear. But God does not say, “Trust Me when things are clear. “ He calls me to trust Him always, and I need to be thankful that He is there in the sun and in the rain. He has a plan for me . . . a more amazing plan than I can fathom. But achieving that plan may happen only by going through difficult moments.
So here I am pushing through difficult times and cultivating friendships. I had a fabulous conversation with a friend on Friday night, a nice park play date with another friend on Friday afternoon, On Sunday I spent time with friends from work celebrating a birthday, then enjoyed a barbecue with our neighbors. I had lunch with a friend today and another family over for dinner tonight. Not a bad start to my cultivating new and existing friendships. It has been encouraging, and I am excited to practice the qualities of hesed as I grow to be more and more like Jesus in my relationships with others while trusting the sovereignty of the awesome God who I serve.