And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell. Is.58:11-13.
I had a hard day yesterday. I had two conversations that socked me in the gut. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Proverbs 27:6. That verse is often true, but only when the wounds come from a faithful source. Sometimes the wounds of a friend are simply crushing and unresolved, because they are not based on truth. That is how it started yesterday. Two conversations between us friends who love much but wounded each other because (for a few moments) we believed a lie about the other.
These conversations ended well, because we were faithful (not to each other for a few moments), but to SomeOne higher, SomeOne who reconciles. That is Who He Is. The Lord tenderly gave us eyes to see each other, to forgive, to believe, to redeem a situation that had a potential (for a few moments) to explode into shreds of mutual destruction.
Disaster averted. Relationships reconciled. Trust restored.
But today I feel vulnerable. Today I feel the fragility of my own heart and the hearts of those who love me. We love each other as best as we can, but still we have blind spots. Intimate friendship is a gory risk, because there is always the chance that your wounds will become a weapon that will break your friend at her most vulnerable place, creating what divorce decrees baldly call “irreconcilable differences.” Most friendships do not recover from those.
Last year our family waded through a bog of conflict with friends that we loved with all of our hearts. But we failed them. Then we all believed lies about each other and failed each other. The crater from that explosion has created terror in me. So when I have conversations like the ones I had yesterday, a waterfall of fear and defeat cascades over me, leaving me flailing, afraid I will drown, grasping onto Truth like a life preserver line.
I have learned to be confident in that lifeline.
What got me through the big trauma is what will get me through the little one. That’s why it is crucial to get through one well, with the Holy Spirit’s healing truth. God will always give us another chance to navigate our core traumas well. There is something in the fabric of creation that longs to unravel and repair that First Time, when the lie was implanted. Maybe its an echo of Eden. We ask Him, “Why is this happening again, Lord? Why do I feel abandoned (or unloved, or abused, or lonely, or rejected, or whatever) AGAIN. Its not fair!”
What if, instead of trauma reinforcers, those repeats are an opportunity? What if they are do-overs? We all want a do-over. What if this time we lay aside our old sin-pocked lie armors that have never healed us anyway? What if we put on a new robe, a new pattern?
For me, instead of my old pattern of balling up like a self-protective armadillo, I yelled at my friend yesterday. Yep, yelled. When I put it like that, it does not sound very redemptive. Yikes. But it was an act of trust in her. A way of communicating, “I am giving you the gift of trusting you with the full impact of what you are doing to my heart in this moment.” And, just so you know, what I yelled did include one profanity, but the rest of it was true. It moved us toward resolution.
It is my choice to still believe in friendships. I believe that reconciliation is an offering of indescribable beauty. When I can say, with wounds exposed, “You decimated me, but I forgive you. Furthermore, I choose to trust you with another chance to care for my heart in a better, deeper way,” I am being most like God.
That is an offering that we should not extend to everybody. Not because of bitter resentment, but because perhaps we have not seen evidence that they would be faithful with that offering. Healthy relationship always requires forgiveness, but I suppose that only the Holy Spirit can discern with us when to offer the gift of renewed trust and when to hold back. Some relationships are most healthy and life-giving from a distance.
So, today I feel blue because I am reminded of my frailty. But underneath all of that, I feel confident in the Rock on which I stand. I am sure that God has given me a do-over, not because He isn’t protecting me, but because He loves me. He wants me to have check marks in the Win Column.
Plus the Lord in His tender mercy has truly given me friends, family and mentors who love me well and who are a delight to love back.
You will be called restorer of the breach, repairer of the streets in which to dwell. Is.58:13.
Do you have a do-over story?