There is one last story I would like to share before beginning the 2011 wrap up. It’s the story that I was trying to run away from when I launched this blog at the start of this year however, this blog has inadvertently documented the journey I’ve had to take to really find freedom from the past. I hope that in telling this story, it will symbolically be buried and there will be no need for it to be mentioned again (except in the context of lessons learnt and for the purposes of encouraging others working through past hurts and pain).
So here it goes…
Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3. Now the final installment…
Almost overnight, there was something different about him – everyone could see it. The prayers I’d been praying over his life had finally been answered! Even now, I praise God for His faithfulness. He never gave up on him. We were personal witnesses to God’s radical transforming power and I feel so humbled to have been a part of His plan to ultimately bring my friend to the end of himself, to bring Him to the point where there was nowhere else to run but into the loving arms of the Father.
We settled back into our friendship but with a difference… I could see a light in His eyes as he spoke about God and shared his own experiences of God with me. He has encouraged me so much and at times, I feel like he has surpassed me in my understanding of who God is – which is awesome.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. It took 5 months for me to realise what a big mistake I had made by entering into that first relationship. We broke things off on mutual terms but I was severely brokenhearted when the other boy started seeing his old girlfriend again and then a few months later was engaged (ah, I said I would leave it for another post!). But it allowed me to feel the pain that I had put my friend through the months before and it was such a comfort to know that if he made it through, surely God would bring me through it as well. I was so thankful that he stood by my side even though I had hurt him so much in the past.
Even though God had moved in his life in such an amazing way, that did not necessarily mean that his feelings for me were automatically extinguished. Through my own personal pain, I could not see his words and actions were clothed in an unrequited love for me. Actually, that’s not true. I knew he still cared for me but I knew that it would be entirely unfair to him if I was to just fall into his loving arms to ease my own pain. I didn’t want to put him in the position that I had just been in – not only would that be unwise but it would have been entirely selfish of me. So I left it for him to get his feelings sorted – it was not something I could help him with. All I could do was reassure him that we would be ‘Friends for life’ and in my heart of hearts and I knew that’s all we would ever be.
Now, 4 years on from that first summer day, we’re both doing well :). He is dating one of my dearest sisters in Christ and I think it is for the long haul. We don’t talk as much as we used to but that has been partly due to my own personal decision to distance myself so that I do not interfere in their relationship in any way (and also moving to another church has meant I don’t see him on a weekly basis anymore). However, he remains one of the sweetest, most generous and kindest guys I know and what’s more is that he has a solid faith in God to back it up. He is one of the finest guys I’ve ever met and I’m so thankful to call him friend.
Our lives have taken different paths but I’m thankful they crossed and know that (if you ever read this) I am so proud of you, happy for you and love you very much. I pray that God continues to do great things in you and through your life to inspire others to pursue the things of God more.
Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here and here.
I remember the day I told him. I felt like we were such good friends so why wouldn’t I? I think I had an inkling that he was harbouring feelings for me but as he never verbalised it, I didn’t think it should matter.
I told him about the boy who’d expressed that he liked me (a story for another post). I told him how I knew that the boy must have been on the rebound and nothing was likely to come of it. I joked about it but he didn’t say much in response.
I just put it down to it being one of his off-days. However, the next day, a full-blown confession waited for me in my inbox. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I also was a few weeks away from the exams of my final semester so I asked for his patience which he had no choice but to give. I left him in the dark for the next month as my friendship with the other boy unexpectedly accelerated into something I had neither anticipated or foreseen – it had all the markings of a relationship though it was never officially labelled as one.
Anyway, the time came when he requested a meeting with me. I told him it was horrible timing as my grandma also had just gone into hospital (that was true) but if I was being honest, I just didn’t know how to handle it. I cared for him deeply but I also knew my heart wasn’t where his was. So I asked for more time. He told me later about how that period had been the darkest for him. And that was when his own journey began…
I felt so alone. One night I just prayed to God. I prayed for Him to help me. I prayed that I would do anything, absolutely anything if He would just take this pain away. Right then, I felt the pain go away. I continued to pray. I prayed for Him to take away all my burdens and my anger. That night I gave my life for God. I told Him, ‘Here is my life take it, everything I have planned, everything I did has failed. Take it and show me your plans, for I know that Your plans never fail, that your plans are amazing beyond my imagination.’ As I kept on praying, these waves of love were coming and healing me. I was no longer in pain. It is a feeling that is beyond words. That week I must have prayed over 1000 times. Not for myself only but for you as well.
You may wonder why I am so transparent with these stories that are so obviously written from or based on personal experience. I find that once I am able to talk/write about an event, I know that it has become a subject of the past and no longer hangs over the present. It’s therapeutic and I think a necessary part of any form of ‘letting go’. Dear FFL, if you still read this blog, I hope you’ll understand my need to share this.
Part 1 can be found here. This is how I remember it…
The event started and they were nowhere to be seen. I put it out of my mind and enjoyed the praise and worship with a dear sister beside me. Then, about halfway through the third song, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the brother and sister come in through the side doors. My heart gave a little leap and I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head. He came! We barely spoke that night but I remember being slightly embarrassed when the guest band turned out to be of the ‘head-banging’ type (seriously, I don’t get how someone could understand whatever Christian message they were trying to get through by their music!) and apologising to him for it. Sadly, they were only able to stay for half of the sermon but I was still glad that they were able to make it. I felt like it was such a great achievement and was mentally patting myself on the back for somehow being the catalyst to get him there.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we somehow ended up chatting on MSN (so old-school!) or sending text messages back and forth on the mundane everyday things. I didn’t think too much about it because in my mind, the goal was to get him to know Christ and I thought it was important we became friends before I could really talk to him on that level. I remember the I HEART REVOLUTION being played in the cinemas and I really wanted to go. He had a car. Need I say more? We were going with two of my friends however, they were majorly late so we spent a fair bit of time just waiting outside the cinemas and chatting. Who knows what about but given that he was so aloof when I saw him at church, I thought we were making progress. Continue reading
I’m a child of the early mornings,
I’m a child of the light.
It’s when real life collides with these facts,
That I’m forced to consider what’s right…
– Ames (03.12.11)
I said, ‘I feel like a fish out of water’. He said, ‘No. You’re just a fish in a big ocean. Swim a bit more and you’ll find your way.’
God, I love my Dad :).
Amidst the conversation and chatter, wrapping and eating, she spies the little boy huddled on a chair, clutching his stomach. “What’s wrong?” she asks as she gently places her hand on his back. He looks up in anguish, his face contorted in a grimace. “My tummy hurts,” he says before curling back into a little ball. She remembers back to a time when she was his age and what her father had told her in the same situation. “Let’s pray to Jesus and ask him to take away the pain, alright?”
He nods weakly and she leads him a short prayer. She then pats him on the back, “Hope you feel better soon.” As she begins to walk away, she sees him jump up with renewed energy and watches him run to his mother. “Mum, mum! Amy just prayed for me and now my tummy doesn’t hurt! Jesus healed me!” She smiles and remembers that little girl who experience a miracle of healing, cementing her belief that the God of the Bible is real and that Jesus does care, even for someone as small and insignificant as herself. She finds the little boy a few moments later and leads him in a prayer of thanksgiving.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. And I love that He cares about the little things like hurting tummies. And, I love how He can use us to share His love with the young and the old.
This night was for the university students but the night was also for that little boy. I pray that he’ll never forget tonight.