Talking to Walls


As you know, if you've done any reading here, my family is on the outer edge of a huge transition.  You can read about it HERE and that links to other posts that will fill you in. 

In general we are doing super.  God has really brought new meaning to "beauty from the ashes".  Growth has happened, love has happened, Joy has returned and all in all things are going well, in ways that we never could have imagined 18 months ago.  As we have continued to move forward, He keeps opening doors to reconciliation.  I cannot complain for a moment about what God has done in this area.  Even in minor ways, He has shown up to make things new.  Relationships that were damaged as a result of lies, are now stronger than ever.  He is using this growth to change the very community of the town I live in and the community I am apart of and it is beautiful. 

But. It's also still really hard at times.  I won't lie.  Beauty from the ashes is not an instant transformation.  It takes about as much pain as you can imagine, I mean, fire has to be involved for ashes to be available. 

The hardest part of all of this? Of all of it?  Repeatedly standing up in the face of lies. Again and again, KNOWING you will be knocked down.  Knowing that your character has been sabotaged to the point that people won't even discuss it with you.  The infuriating feeling of knowing that people are believing lies and not being able to do anything about because THEY WILL NOT SPEAK TO YOU.

And why won't they?  Easy.  The leadership in this case has banned it.  In more than one instance, the leadership has called for a ban on certain people who have left.  Yes, a ban. Lies have been fed, a ban put in place, and as a result, reconciliation work has been stunted in only those areas.  In one week, I lost nearly every single "friend" on Facebook that still went to the church we left.  I was not only unfriended, but blocked as well.  All because one adult told another adult who they could speak to.   Some people won't speak to me in public if leadership is around.  And it's not just me.  It's happening in the grocery store, at school pick-up, everywhere and anywhere to lots and lots of people who dared to disagree.

And it's very easy to believe lies if you refuse to hear the truth.  It makes a lie nice and cozy and we have all been there and been seduced by that comfy feeling, right? If we stop to think about it, it's not so hard to understand why "easy" is the "better" choice.

I've been told that "the time for reconciliation" is not now.  Funny.  I thought that was the point of Jesus. 

Why am I sharing this? Because I know that I am not a unique snowflake with special heartache.  I know that there are others out there who have to stand up in the face of being lied about and mistreated all over the place. And I want to encourage you as you are there.  I know that every time I have shared what God has instructed me to share, good things have happened. 

God has been using this time to teach me and mold me {in ways I will admit, I would never have volunteered for} and it is worth passing those learnings along to you.  And some of these are just as much reminders for myself, since I am still working through all of this.  So if you need some encouragement in the face of difficulty with fellow sinners...

++First and foremost? God IS working.  Even if you cannot see it.  How do I know this? Because it is His character to do so.  Even if it looks like things are devoid of even the most delicate breeze...HE is working.  If you are not dead, it is not over.  Do not lose hope for God to be victorious.  Sometimes people are in things so deep that they become blind to what is really going on.  Time and God are the only way through.  In my instance, as people have "woken up" almost every single person has shared that they felt like a fog or veil was lifted from their eyes.  Only God can do that!  

++Why won't He let you move on and forget "those people", whomever they may be in your circumstances? Easy.  Has He moved on from you at any point in your life of sin? Nope.  No matter the depth of sin that you were or are in, He is consistently rightthere.  Our behavior has no effect on His love for us, our goal should be to work towards having the same attitude with others. When necessary, Love despite, not because.

++Do not become bitter.  Becoming bitter may play into the hands of those bent to hurt you.  Rise above that. Bitterness is evidence of something not being right.  Pray through that hurt and turn it over to Him and repeat as necessary.  He wants to use it...but He won't force it.   Do not turn into the people they say you are.  Decide that no matter what, you will want to be able to say "My doors were always open, I always reached out, I was always here" and stay true to that! YOU decide your behavior.  For me, it has taken me looking at the future and knowing what I want to be able to say of how I behaved and making sure that my actions NOW line up with my truth THEN. 

++Pray with the knowledge that you may be fighting a spiritual battle.  The only worthy opponent of such a foe, is prayer.  Like I said, in my case, the only actions and changes I have seen have been because of GOD moving and us waiting.  He has done things we could never have imagined or accomplished and none of them came about by anything other than His victory in a spiritual battle.  Our only job was to be there, waiting with grace and love to care for those "returning to us".  

++Continue to communicate with those who won't listen as long as God is calling you to do so.  Don't question that nudge.  If He says it, do it.  It's part of His plan even if you don't even see the seed being planted, you know the seed is out there.  Some seeds need to carry in the wind a while before they will take root.  As maddening as it is to me right now that God won't let me not care, I know He has to have a purpose it in.  He would never torture me just to torture me.

The big moral of the story? List to what GOD IS SAYING and not to how others are behaving.  It's hard work but it's GOOD work.  It's the kind of work that WILL pay off.

As I was pondering this last night, God brought Paul to mind.  A scholar friend of mine has reasons to believe that when Paul talks about the "thorn in his side", he is talking about people.  With that in mind there is this...from 2 Corinthians...

"At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

"My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness."


Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."
 


That is my prayer going forward.  That in my weakness, He will be made strong.  

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