As I'm sitting here this morning, I am overwhelmed with peace.
It's been a long time since I've felt such peace.
Surprisingly, after Joshua died, I experienced a time of God's hand upon me. I felt like he was holding me and comforting me in the times that I simply didn't know how I was going to survive. His peace came upon me and sustained my every breath. And as time passed, the overwhelming sense of His presence slowly faded away and I began struggling with my faith. However, through all of it, God remained faithful and clung to me even when I didn't want anything to do with him.
About a year ago, I experienced some difficulties within some significant relationships in my life. I had to make some tough decisions regarding my emotional health and some relationships that were damaging to me. Without going into detail, I had to make decisions and set up strict boundaries that were extremely difficult and heart wrenching. These decisions left me feeling emotionally stronger than I had ever felt, but also like a crushing weight. It meant that everything I had known was going to be different and I had to let go dreams of reconciliation and work on forgiveness. I struggled with finding peace in all of it and trying to make decisions based on biblical truth rather than emotions and impulse.
I spent countless hours praying that I was doing the right thing, trusting that God would give me answers or that he would provide the reconciliation that I desperately wanted. I sought godly counsel in an effort to figure out what God desired and how to handle things in a biblical way. However, answers didn't come and I didn't feel peace.
I went through a time of wondering who I had in my life and discovering that relationships that I didn't think I had were actually in tact. I went through a time of feeling forsaken and completely alone. I prayed that God would help me find my identity in Him rather than in my perceived lack of community.
I also began the process of repentance and reconciliation with people who used to be in my life but for one reason or another were no longer in my life. I began to humbly seek out relationships that were lost to me and ask for forgiveness for my role in the deterioration of our relationships. Short of saying good bye to Joshua, this is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do- admit my fault in things and ask for forgiveness from people that I wasn't sure were going to forgive me.
But God was so faithful to restore what was lost to me. Just as he has begun restoring my broken heart from losing Joshua, he has also been restoring relationships in my life that were lost as well as strengthening relationships that were previously weak and unimportant to me. I was welcomed with open arms and given the opportunity to begin redeveloping the relationships that I so desperately wanted.
What was once broken, is becoming whole. What was once ugly and burdened by sin, is now beautiful and becoming more pure as He continues to heal the hearts of everyone involved.
As I spent time with this community of people this Christmas, I was overwhelmed by the love I thought I would never know. God provided forgiveness where it was desperately needed. He has given me new perspective and has provided healing to the relationships that were once lost.
As we drove home, I was overwhelmed and brought to tears by the love that I experienced. I was able to see the people that I love in the light of Christ's love for all of us. A love that was willing to die for us despite our failure and sinfulness. I was able to taste and see God's desire for reconciling us to himself through the blood of Jesus. I was able to get a small glimpse into the very nature of God- loving, faithful, forgiving, merciful, and just.
The pain of lost relationships is still very real in my life. I think it will always be. But God has been faithful to restore what was lost, and I continue to pray for reconciliation and forgiveness in the broken relationships. I continue to look to Him for my identity and trust that he will continue to be faithful in making me more like Jesus.
I am continuously blown away by how good He has been to me, even when I don't deserve it. He has been faithful to provide healing in so many areas of my life. It's been a long and painful journey, and I'm sure there will continue to be pain in the growing, but I'm so excited to see where God will lead me.