By Lyn Livingston
I thought my heart might literally break in half. While attempting to offer support and grace to a friend struggling with multiple family crises, something had gone awry. A wrenching pain signified that the friendships, and a part of me, was no longer there. Hot tears rolled down my face.
How did this happen? I had done everything I could to offer support. How could I have lost a friend, just like that, and not know why? Laying the phone down, I cried out to God between sobs, “Oh Father, help me. Help me understand. If I’ve done something wrong, show me so I can ask for forgiveness.”
Have you ever been in a situation where doing everything you knew to do wasn’t enough? Perhaps it was a broken friendship, a betrayal, a disagreement carried too far, difficulty in your marriage, or a relentless battle with a family member.
When rejection becomes personal it is a hurt unlike any other.
I’ll be honest sisters, my first reaction was, “What?! How dare she, after all I’ve done for her?!.” But before I could say the words out loud, I caught myself. I chose to go to my Heavenly Father in prayer first. I want to share the steps I took because I believe it will help you, too.
First, I gave my pain to God, and asked Him to show me if I had sinned unknowingly against my friend. I prayed for forgiveness.
Then, when I stopped focusing on my own hurt, my heart focused on compassion.
My friend was overwhelmed with stress. Her father was in Hospice. Her husband was recovering from major surgery, and she felt consumed with his physical care. The decline in the oil industry had affected her employer, and she feared losing her job. Yes, my friend had reason to feel overwhelmed.
Even though I had supported her with acts of love, a miscommunication had triggered anger. She wasn’t open to an apology.
Despite attempts at reconciliation, at this point my friend has still dismissed our relationship, eliminated God from her life, and displays anger instead of love. The only thing I can do is pray, give grace and mercy, and wait with hope in my heart.
Sisters, that is why giving grace and mercy is enough.
So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it the most. Hebrews 4:16 (Voice)
I pray concentrating on what I know: She is overwhelmed and Satan is using this opportunity to try to slaughter her identity in Christ and rob her peace. I pray her anger does not penetrate the love I know she has in her heart.
I give grace. It is by grace of the blood of Jesus I am saved. By giving grace, I am able to show love, following the example of Jesus.
I give mercy. Mercy comes in the form of compassion and empathy, understanding the pain and the battle she is fighting. I have had my own battles with Satan’s malicious resolve. I know how hard this battle is. Mercy directs my prayers towards her needs, asking God to give her strength and wisdom so she can feel hope and love again.
Now, I wait with hope. I understand her circumstances and know I am not at fault. I continue to hope she will return first to God and then to our friendship. I am ready to act whenever I get the call.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, in our time of need help us to give grace and mercy, depending on you for understanding. When all we are able to do is extend grace and mercy may we feel we are enough, knowing that through grace we honor Christ Jesus. Through mercy we find compassion to love abundantly following the example of Jesus. Be with us in our time of need renewing the spirit within us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.