Actually, as I type it's getting gray-er outside (LOL) because it's rainy. But it feels pretty good, actually. The air is cool, it smells like rain outside (which I love)... Natural rain has a way of reminding me that God can wash away all the icky stuff off me too, and nurture me, and refresh me. Which is what I feel He has been doing this week.
But metaphorically speaking, those gray clouds are finally moving on! I finally feel like I can breathe, soak in a little bit of sunlight. It took some lashing out, and some prayer from people that love me unconditionally... a lot more patience from the ones who were close to me.
Unfortunately, some people walked away. I was prepared for those consequences. I take responsibility for my part, but at the same time... I don't feel I'm responsible for it all. I definitely don't feel guilty. And as it turns out, those who walked away did so because I did not fulfill their expectations, so it was probably best... I don't think I could ever measure up or pay back to their standards what they seem to have been hoping I would.
It took walking away on my part to find out everything that was going on behind our backs. That's when I came to see how some really felt, and it wasn't pretty. Some of those accusations were even false. I guess I always had the option of fighting that battle and chose to surrender to it instead. They can believe and say whatever they want. I'm not saying anything back. I can't control what others believe of me, so the only thing I can do (which gives me a sense of control, actually) is walk away.
Reminds me, in a sense, of the book of Job. There was Job's story, his friend's story, and God's point of view... everybody was wrong! Job's friends accused him unfairly but Job didn't exactly have it all together either. Which is why when God steps into the scene in the last few chapters, Job says, "I have no understanding. I shouldn't have spoken at all... as it is, I spoke too much, God. I'm sorry." (Paraphrase mine). Only God sees the whole picture and I'm committing it to Him. We really don't know how to judge "right" and "wrong" here on this earth as perfectly as He does, so its best in some matters for us to shut up and leave it alone.
My mother-in-law sent me a book by Corrie Ten Boom, called "I stand at the door and knock". It is described as some of the best devotionals on forgiveness that this woman ever wrote. And she's a pretty darn good source for it! In case you have no idea who she is, she is a godly Christian who went through and survived a concentration camp during WWII for helping Jews. She had german guards do horrible things to her on a daily basis. She didn't just walk away from that camp to say, "Screw you all! I hope you burn in hell!" She walked away with true victory... she forgave! There are testimonies of guards that years later have asked her for forgiveness, and she has hugged them and sincerely forgiven them. She had made her mind up to forgive them while she was still in the camp; many of those same guards heard her pray for them every night. I think it would be a very appropriate book to read right now.
All in all though, I've been praying, and I can't say I've heard God say anything back - rather, He's sat there in the silence with me and put His comforting arms around my shoulders. That's the best way I can describe it. There's nothing in my circumstances that has fixed anything. But in my despair, and when I needed Him the most, He showed me by the power of the Spirit that I'm going through this valley with the Great Shepherd. It means more to me than getting everything I want. I hope others get to experience what I'm talking about right now:
He loves me. I'm not the prettiest or nicest right now. I'm actually quite icky inside. But I'm completely helpless. I don't have any way to bribe God to stay by my side. I lack convincing arguments and I'm past promising to change. I have nothing to offer Him. And I may throw temper tantrums along the way. But He still loves me. And He is willingly, lovingly walking with me. There's nothing I can do to make Him love me more. There's nothing about me that has made Him love me less.