Healing Grace

A dear life-long friend sparked my memory today about a friendship that was mended only by the grace of God and it just made me smile.

I am not the easiest friend to have.  I don’t say that for sympathy or to have a pity party or anything of that nature, but I can recognize my flaws. Someone who trusts very little and has people-pleasing tendencies with the added “always thinking someone is mad at me” feeling is just not a great combination for attributes in a wonderful friend!  If nothing else, I am OVERLY self-aware!

I have ALWAYS longed to have close friends.  I love being around people and more than anything I love sitting, talking and “doing life” with people.  I like having my “person” aside from my husband.  I heard recently on the morning radio show that I listen to that you should have more than one significant other. No, they were not promoting the “sister-wives” mentality but were instead saying that you should have close friendships in your life that you can share with and laugh and cry with.  I could not agree more.  I have had some INCREDIBLE friends in the past (and still do) but I have a tendency to always do something to mess it up. 

I can think of one time in particular….

I have a friend who was one of my best.  She was a college friend and I would say that we were pretty close.  We did lots of things together and I would stay at her house frequently.  I always looked up to her because I thought she was smart, and pretty, and HILARIOUS and everyone that I knew just liked her.  I really strived to be a lot like her, I guess you could say. 

One day I got my feelings hurt because I thought she was ignoring me (and turns out she was…for good reason, actually).  Bad turned to worse and our friendship just kind of ended.  I was hurt and I didn’t understand what had really happened but instead of doing the mature thing and talking to her about it or perhaps, praying about it, what did I do??  I blasted her on the World Wide Web…right here…it was dumb. 

No, I didn’t use her name but apparently a mutual friend recognized the post and told her about it.  Some of the things I said were ugly and hurtful and frankly the saying “hurt people hurt people” is a very real thing.  I was hurt so I wanted to hurt… specifically I wanted to hurt her.  Looking back, several years later…I feel so stupid about it and I just feel awful. 

After she confronted me, we didn’t speak for years.  I would see her pictures and posts through mutual friends and I would wonder how she was.  She had a baby and I SO wanted to join in the joy of that with her but…. couldn’t…. and it was my fault.  I would dream about the friendship.  I would dream that we would talk and we would be okay.  I would dream about seeing her again and just sitting and talking about life how we once did. 

I would cry and I would PRAY about this broken relationship.  For some reason, this ONE friendship was so meaningful to me.  To this day, I cannot understand why the feeling of reconciliation with this friend was so important to me.  I would pray so hard that one day she would forgive me and understand that I did not mean those hurtful things. I prayed she would understand that I was a new person because I had been healed from my past and I was less broken so my life was a little less broken.  But for years there was nothing. 

My prayer would be, “God, please let her know that I am sorry somehow.  I am asking that we can mend this friendship.  If not God, please let the burden of it go away.”  I cannot tell you how often I prayed that.

One April, I traveled to Little Rock for a Beth Moore conference.  She was speaking on relationships, friendships, brokenness, difficult people, etc.  It was FANTASTIC. During one of the reflection times, I prayed that if this friend were in the audience somewhere that I might see her.  I never did. 

Later that evening I received an email.  It was from this friend.  I could have fallen out of my bed (that is where I was when I read it)…and I get goose bumps just thinking about it.  It was kind of a “peace offering” email if you will. 

She said something of the nature of wanting to release me from what I had done to her.  I know that the email was intended to bring her healing.  You see we were both at the same Beth Moore conference.  No I didn’t see her there (and that was probably a good thing) but God spoke to both of our hearts about each other at that conference. 

I felt the power of God then like I hadn’t in a long time.  While the intention of the email was to bring her peace and healing, it was so much more for me!  It was healing, it was peace, it was hope, and it was the beginnings of forgiveness and eventually reconciliation.  It was evidence, tangible evidence, that God answers prayers of His people.  It was evidence that He cares about what we care about. 

She will never forget those words that I wrote.  I know that.  Yes, I feel awful but I cannot dwell on that.  She said she has forgiven me.  Our friendship will never be like it was before and I am okay with that.  Our lives are very different than they once were…. we both have changed and grown and matured because of life, and because of Christ working in us. 

This friend will always be precious to me.  I love her and I have prayed for her nearly every single day…even when we were not speaking. It is ONLY by the GRACE OF GOD that we now openly communicate.  I will forever be grateful for the healing power of Christ in that relationship.  He healed the wound, but there is still a scar, which serves as a reminder of His mercy!

If you have prayed for something for what seems like forever, please don’t give up.  God does everything in His timing and His purpose will be fulfilled.  If you struggle with friendships, I understand.  Pray about that too.  I continue to struggle with friendships.  All of those insecurities I listed…I still have them, just on a smaller scale.  Please don’t ever give up, God can do anything and probably better than what you could think He could do!  

Rikki Hester

Leave a Reply