Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “Forgive”

My Friend Ruth

I was blessed with an opportunity to teach at our church’s school of ministry on the subject of prayer, one of my favorite subjects ever!

Pause for a bunny trail…you know if you ever wonder what your strength is or what your calling is, take a look at your book shelf for a hint.  If you were to take a peek at mine, you’d see mostly books on prayer.  I love prayer…I see my prayers…I see myself in the throne room; I see myself seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.  I love prayer…I’ll probably touch that subject another time…back on track now.

Towards the end of the class I was sharing about prayer hindrances, unforgiveness being one such hindrance.  I told a story of a friend who had called me for prayer.  I knew that she and another friend of ours were involved in a scrape of some sort and I listened as she shared her prayer request, noticing that it was something that she had been anguishing over for some time.  I told her to get her bible and turn to Mark 11:23-24 “For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  She was squealing with delight as she read these scriptures aloud and I could hear her highlighter screeching across the page.  I then asked her to read the next verse...”And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”  “Hello, hello, are you still there?”  <silence>.  Exactly!!!  I shared with the class that I didn’t know if she ever “got it.”  She claimed she and our friend had settled their differences…I knew they hadn’t at the time.  I encouraged my class to pursue peace, seek forgiveness early…release in order to receive.

After class, there were people who stayed behind for prayer mostly and I noticed a woman in her seat watching me.  She got up from her seat when everyone else had left and asked me if she could speak to me.  She told me her name was Ruth.  She was a petite woman and I towered over her in my heels and my instinct was to remove my heels to come down a little closer to her.  She was crying as she asked me to forgive her.  Huh?  I asked her whether we knew each other.  No, she said, but I have talked about you, I’ve said mean things about you.  I was a bit surprised.  This was a first for me.  “Have we met?  Have I been mean to you?”  She said, “No, you asked me to move over a seat in church.”  I asked her if I was rude and she said I was not and she realized it was her…all her.  I just melted as I listened to her ask for forgiveness as she tried to make sense out of something so senseless.  We embraced and I took her hands and we prayed and of course I released her.  That took some boldness.  Ruth is my hero!!  I have made it a point to look for her at church to squeeze her.  Ruth has become one of my greatest encouragers.  She has no idea, unless she reads this, that the Lord used her in a mighty way to encourage me.  She had grown accustomed to seeing me in a particular seat during a particular service.  She had not seen me and reached out on more than one occasion to encourage me and to reiterate how much she missed seeing me in my normal spot.  She was looking for me…she was missing me.  I’ll not forget that!  Thank you Ruth, mi hermana!!  Te quiero mucho!!! ❤

And when you least expect it, you find yourself forgiving someone for something only they were being tormented over; and when you least expect it, you release and encourage a new friend; and when you least expect it your new friend becomes one of your biggest blessings.

Forgiveness….necessary…empowering…strengthening…healing…building.

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.” James 5:16 The Message Bible

“Be…quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 The Message Bible

Me and my friend and sister, Ruth

Me and my friend and sister, Ruth

Mean Girls

As a mom of a 12 year old, I have been talking to my daughter, Mariah, about relationships since she began playing in the sand box. We have always discussed the importance of female relationships…how to maintain them; the importance of trust, loyalty, honesty; how not to be what I call “some-timey.” You know, sometimes I like you, sometimes I don’t (and then I blame it on hormones or “that time of the month”)!! Eeeek!!! I’ve been blessed with a tender, teachable daughter who appears to be loyal and loving; who is kind (not nice). I’m thinking kind is better, since nice seems to be what you do and being kind describes who you are. We have painstakingly discussed the topic of “mean girls.”

Anyway, imagine my horror when I received a phone call from my daughter’s teacher giving me a heads up regarding a “texting war” that was brewing among some besties and my daughter was at the center of it. My face got hot and I experienced a skin tingle (or was that my first hot flash), and I gripped the phone tightly as he described an exchange between my daughter and her former bestie from long ago, (who I will call Miss Text).

Back story…Miss Text moved on from my girl to “Susie” and they had become chums. Well now Susie and my daughter were snuggled up leaving Miss Text out of the picture and apparently Susie shared an angst filled letter from Miss Text with my daughter. My daughter had made several attempts to include Miss Text in their “buddy fest” but to no avail. Miss Text wanted my daughter out of the picture and was very adamant about it, so imagine the joy my daughter felt when Susie chose her.

As my girl’s teacher described the exchange between my daughter and Miss Text, I was surprised, saddened and getting a little hot at what I was hearing. My girl was the aggressor in the exchanges and Miss Text was taking the high road in her responses…very mature, very peaceful. So much so, that it almost sounded like she was being coached. (I know, slap my wrist!!)

During our conversation, many things occurred to me…why had Susie shared that letter…I thought of the many stories I could have shared with Mr. Teacher which I chose to suppress. I could have shared my impressions based on what I knew of the friendship between my daughter and Miss Text (they were besties a long time ago). I had witnessed the drama back in 1st through 3rd grade when Miss Text tried to control my daughter. In the end, I was not concerned with justifying my daughter’s behavior. We all have reasons for our poor behavior…I was concerned that my daughter was being a mean girl…that girl who would stomp on someone’s feelings, be competitive, prideful, exclusive…everything I was not and had for years been discussing with her.

I picked up my daughter from school and on the way home I asked her about the situation and she burst into tears. She confessed and acknowledged her part in the drama. She said she was sorry, embarrassed and lacked courage to apologize to Miss Text even though she had many opportunities to do so that day.

Well, that night after more conversation, counseling and correction, she retreated to her room where she spent the evening. Close to bedtime I went in to check on her and found her writing a letter. Here’s what she wrote:

“Dear Mrs. ____ and Miss Text,
First of all, I want to say sorry for disrespecting you and your daughter, Mrs. ____. My comments were just inappropriate and immature. I’m disappointed, humiliated, and surprised at myself for doing what I did. Words don’t even explain how sorry I am. It wasn’t even any of my business to be involved with your daughter’s note to “Susie.” It was a private note, and I wish I had never read it. What I really want is for you and “Susie” to become best friends again. I know I was, am, and always will be a nice girl. I really hope Miss Text, that you will accept this note and we could be friends again like old times in first grade. I don’t think it’s good for you guys not being friends. I’ll also keep my distance so you and “Susie” can catch up and rebuild the friendship. In Colossians 3:13 it says “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” I hope that what I did didn’t hurt my reputation of how you now know me. I also highly respect how even though I was being mean to you, you kept your cool and stayed calm. I promise you that this won’t happen again. If you would give me one more chance, I would love to be your friend and let you meet the real Mariah. Again Mrs. ___, I’m really sorry for hurting your daughter.

God Bless All of You xoxo
Mariah Britt”

Mariah has kept her word. Was there reconciliation? Yes. Is it a buddy fest? No. Interestingly, Miss Text moved on (although she and Susie are still friends) and Susie and Mariah are closer than ever. I was blessed to see all of Mariah’s yearbook inscriptions…how all of her friends love her, regard her as someone they can trust; how they appreciate her. Yes, Mariah, your reputation is in tact!!

Footnote: I ran into Miss Text and her mom at a school function. Her mom thanked me for helping Mariah write the letter. I explained that I had no part in that. The letter came from Mariah’s heart. She replied, “I don’t believe that, but that’s okay.” Ouch, that was mean, girl!

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: