Yesterday I spent a short time at the home of a friend. I realize to those who may be reading this that probably isn’t a big deal. Most people spend time with friends once in a while and don’t feel the need to proclaim it on a blog. This is different, though. And it’s that difference that has had me sitting with God this morning, asking Him…crying to Him…to do something in my life.
Yesterday started with me picking up my daughter and beautiful grandson for a 10:30 appointment. That isn’t exactly the best time to have little man out since that is nap time…and his mommy has worked very hard to get him into a normal sleeping routine. His night times are still not there, but his daytime napping has been consistent for a few weeks now and 10:30 is when he goes down for his morning nap. While she handled the appointment, I handled him. I followed him as he crawled the long hallways of the place. I sat with him as he played with a toy provided for his entertainment. Then, I followed him as he crawled some more, exploring all the open rooms he could. At one point he put his little head on the floor. There was no denying his sleepiness. I found his mommy and retrieved his binky from her. I left and went to an empty room, cradled him in the “sleeper hold” and bounced him ever so gently. His eyes immediately grew heavy. They closed. Then opened–just to make sure Grammy was still there with him in this strange place. Then they closed again and he was off to dreamland. I gently walked with him back to where his mommy was so she would know he had fallen asleep. Her appointment was over and we debated what to do. Taking him out to put him in the car seat was a risk. It was cold and the air would certainly wake him. We decided to sit in the empty room for a bit so he could sleep. No complaints from this Grammy–I got to hold him the entire time! Being almost ten months old, he seldom lets me cradle him like a tiny baby anymore, so I treasured every minute of this sleeping wonder in my arms. After about forty minutes his eyes opened and he was ready to continue our day.
This is where our visit to my friend comes in.
I had spoken with her a few weeks prior to let her know I would be in town that day. She had not had a chance to meet little man yet, nor had she seen my daughter in several years. We drove to her house, knowing we wouldn’t have long for a visit–we needed to stop at the store to get baby food and little man would need to eat soon. After knocking at her door, it didn’t take long at all for her to hurry to answer the knock–and to open the door wide and give my daughter a HUGE hug! Little man wasn’t so sure about this new person. He is at the age where he isn’t too keen on strangers who want to snuggle him. He did smile at the cat, though, as she ran up the stairs in attempt to get away from all the commotion. We went and sat down in her living room–a place I once spent much time in and always found to be beautifully accented. This day was no exception. (I do not have a flair for decorating or furniture placement–she does so her home has always been so inviting and calming) She called to her husband and youngest son to come see my daughter and the baby. More people for little man to stare at–he did eventually give them smiles and even let my friend hold him for a short bit. We chatted for a while as she caught up with my daughter and loved on the baby as much as he would let her. Little man let us know that the time to leave was quickly approaching as he begin to fuss for some food. We said our goodbyes, gave hugs, and headed out to the car, hoping to return again when our visit could be longer and perhaps her daughter (also now married) could be there as well.
So…again, what’s the big deal?
Two years ago, that scenario would never have taken place, for two years ago we weren’t even speaking to each other. A friendship of nearly ten years had been broken by words and misunderstandings. My daughter got married, and her daughter got married, yet neither of us were invited to the others’ weddings. I had watched her children grow, and she had done the same with mine. Still, the hurt was too much at the time to see past and I chalked the relationship up to one that was gone forever.
But then God stepped in. God allowed her to run into my oldest son one day at Target. My son came and told me that she wanted to “take me to lunch”. At first I rolled my eyes. I held tightly to the bitterness of what had taken place. My dad taught me many things–one of the things he taught me best was how to hold a grudge. I was good at it, and that was playing out in this situation. God, though, had other plans. He tugged at my heart–not all at once, mind you. His voice was subtle but powerful. It became clear to me over time that I was not acting the right way in His eyes. Still, I hesitated. Finally, I decided to see if I e-mailed her, would she respond. And how? Would there be anger still? Would I get hurt again? I composed an e-mail, deleted it, composed another, deleted it, composed another and hesitantly hit “Send”. Now I would wait. I didn’t have to wait long. Her reply was nothing like I expected–it was one of grace and love and forgiveness, and it melted the small shreds of anger and bitterness that I had tried to hold onto. We arranged a time to meet and our friendship was resurrected through God’s grace.
And I am SO thankful it has been!
This morning, as I marveled again at the work God has done, I realized that I want God to do so much more in me. There are several areas in my life that I know I am not living completely as God wants me to live. I have tried to change on my own and have failed every time. Each failure brought discouragement. Several times I verbally said I was just going to throw in the towel on trying to live this Christian life. Each time, though, I got back up and tried again. The problem, as I said, was I only tried in my own strength. I have seen God work. I have seen God change my heart and the heart of my friend in this situation. I have experienced God change my heart when my marriage was over and people were telling me to file for divorce. I have seen God change my husband from an angry, unpredictable person to one who has control. I have seen God change me from a person who needs alcohol to one who can live without it.
This new year, I want God to change me to a person who is more like Jesus. That was my cry this morning to Him…literally, as I sat with tears, begging Him to take away those things in my life that have no place being there. Laziness, selfishness, complacency, jealousy, unforgiveness…the list could go on. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to face the storms of life, the disease of MS, the torment of depression, with the strength of Jesus. I want Jesus to lead me instead of my emotions. I know God can take away all those things, and I know He may choose to leave some of them there. I want to obey regardless. I have seen how obedience brings joy. I am so thankful I obeyed God’s prompting to reconnect with my friend; the joy that came with even our short visit yesterday was a salve to my heart. I know God is waiting for me to surrender more of myself to Him. In this new beginning of a new year, that is what I desire to do. If you know me in person, and you consider me a friend, would you please pray for me to that end? And, perhaps, would you be willing to encourage me along the way? I have tried going solo for a long time and found it doesn’t work so well.