Photo by Perspective Images
Well, I asked God for an opportunity to grow, and He gave me one right away. But I forgot that growing can be so painful.
Someone I trusted, admired and cared about has hurt me and rejected me. I thought our relationship was better than they thought it was. I feel embarrassed, misled and just plain hurt.
At first, that pain manifested itself as anger. I wanted to march right over to this person and punch them in the face. But remember the challenge? This week I am trying to do everything with the Spirit of the Lord, and the spirit of contention is of the devil (see 3 Nephi 11:29). I knew that if I needed the Spirit of the Lord to handle this situation in the way that God would have me do it.
And now, I can add my testimony to Alma's that the Spirit of the Lord did not fail me.
I went to God and asked Him soften my heart. I asked Him for the strength to get through this, for eyes to see the blessings amidst the hardships, for a new heart that would be able to forgive this person who has hurt me.
And He provided.
From Corrie Ten Boom, I have learned that God can help us forgive in the most terrible of circumstances. When she was rejected by the young man she loved, her father gave her this beautiful counsel.
Do you know what hurts so very much? It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill that love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.
God loves Karel - even more than you do - and if you ask Him, He will give you His love for this man, a love that nothing can prevent, nothing destroy. Whenever we cannot love in the old, human way, Corrie, God can give us the perfect way.
Like Corrie, I am asking God to help me love the person who has hurt me in God's perfect way. I know that God can replace my bitter, wounded heart with a heart full of Christlike love. I can feel the process starting. I can feel God's remarkable peace in my soul. It is beautiful.
Please don't think that I have fully healed yet. Countless times today I have felt my pulse start racing and my face get hot as my thoughts turn back to how I have been hurt. But then I catch myself, bow my head, and plead for God's grace once more. Sometimes it feels like I can only find peace for 10 minutes before my mind returns to the negative.
But I always find peace. No matter how many times I ask for help, my Heavenly Father always sends it.
He's helped me to understand that this person wasn't intentionally trying to hurt me, that they were trying to deal with the situation in the best way they knew how. It is an opportunity for both of us to grow. God has helped me to see into the heart of this person, and to recognize that I too made mistakes and own a part of this problem. God has helped me overcome the blindness of anger and see things as they really are.
It amazes me that He is right by my side during all of this. Most people have problems that are so much bigger than this little struggle of mine, and God has a whole universe of them to deal with! But He is my Heavenly Father, and I am His child. He comes to me whenever I call, even though I am so undeserving. His mercy overwhelms me.
This experience has also taught me about the importance of forgiveness. I've felt anger over this relatively small wound, and it makes me realize how angry others feel when they are faced with larger hurts like violence, abuse and killing. It is no wonder that our world is so full of hatred and war. The natural man in us wants to stay angry, hold grudges and get revenge. I am so grateful for the commandment to forgive and for a God who helps me do so. Without His divine assistance, I would not be able to forgive; bitterness and resentment would take over my life and prevent me from becoming the woman wants me to be.
It is because of Christ that I am able to find hope and joy in the midst of this trial. Even though my feelings are still hurt, I have found peace and so many reasons to rejoice. I have so many people who love me and some true friends who have stood by me through thick and thin. I have a testimony that "it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men," and that this challenge is truly part of God's plan for me. I know that Jesus Christ died so that I might be able to repent of my mistakes and use this experience to grow. I have faith that He will help change my heart so that someday I will be able to embrace this person and sincerely thank them for helping me become more like God. And most of all, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me perfectly, who never leaves me comfortless, who is turning my pain into a tutorial to teach me of His wondrous ways.
And so it is that I am able to smile through my tears and truly sing praises to the Lord.
And God tends the broken branches of this tree
He keeps His eye on every tiny leaf
And their love is a circle in ways that only God can see
As He tends the broken branches of this family tree