My dear friend, I want you to know I understand, I've been there too. I have been in the grocery store, going down the aisle looking for a box of Kashi and a can of corn when I suddenly see her. The one that I used to be such good friends with, the one I laughed and cried with, the one who encouraged me in God and helped me to grow spiritually and emotionally. She was truly a great friend and then.......I don't know what happened. Our worlds that were so connected in friendship were no longer aligned. Something harsh was said and then a few ugly things were said and we stopped talking and started avoiding each other. Seeing her in the store I'm not sure what I felt. A little panic, a little fear, a lot of uncomfortableness......so what do I do? I suddenly become very interested in the box of oatmeal that's on the shelf right by me, reading the label and praying she doesn't see me and walks right past.
This scenario has played out many times in our life and ministry. I have known and been friends with so many people but when the friendship moves on or they choose to move their family to a different church, you are left heartbroken and often confused as to what happened. It's painful to run into them, I mean what do you say? Do you confront them and ask why they said such and such thing about you, it wasn't true and hurt you deeply. Why did they leave and go to a new church without telling you and your husband, let alone telling you why they actually left? Ask them what happened to your friendship, what happened to make you drift apart? Those questions or a thousand others could be asked, but in essence you don't want to know the answer as it would probably just hurt you more.
For years I will admit, I would hurry and hide behind the bread display and peek around the corner until they were gone in order to avoid them. I would breath a sigh of relief but the near run in would be in my thoughts for days as I thought about and mulled over the hurt that I thought I had finally gotten over. One morning as I was praying over a near run in with someone that made me hyperventilate and want to hid, (yes my past experience with this lady was that bad!!!) God told me something very specific. There are no coincidences. Did I truly believe that God was in control of my life and was leading and guiding me in every moment? If so, then in my life, there are no coincidences. Only God ordained instances.
Meaning, when I run into someone in the store that I want to avoid, God was directing their feet and my feet to that very specific place at that very specific time. It wasn't just accidental or a coincidence, it was God moving in my life to restore me to the place where I need to be. As God works in my life to mature me in Him, sometimes I need to face difficult situations in order to deal with them even when all I want to do is run from them. Even when I think I'm okay and the situation is done and over, God truly knows my heart. God can not use me to the fullest extent when I have any sinful emotions in my heart such as unforgiveness, strife or discord and if I'm avoiding someone I know I am having one or more of those emotions!
So with this in mind, I have chosen no longer to hide behind the bread display. When God ordains a meeting with someone I might have unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment or even a little anger toward, I walk up to them and speak to them. I speak to them and make small chit chat and let them see the love of Christ in me. Sometimes my heart is beating a mile a minute, sometimes my knees are knocking or sometimes I can barely breath but I want to live the moments that God gives me. The moments He gives me to love when I don't want to love and forgive when I don't want to forgive. When I walk away, my heart is still beating a mile a minute and my knees are still knocking but I feel so much better knowing that I loved as God wants to me to love and I have worked on an issue that deep down has been holding my heart back from totally following Him.
With those thoughts, my dear friend who hid behind the canned chicken today, I want you to know I understand. I love you and am praying for you to embrace and live each moment God gives you as He continues to lead you and guide you in the path He has for you. Stand tall and strong, walk with courage, and speak with boldness knowing that He is standing behind you, holding you up with His right hand. This life is a journey of living, growing and changing into a beautiful vessel He can use in every situation, while being a witness to every person. He is using you to touch hearts and lives now and I am excited to see what he does as you keep your heart open to Him and His God ordained instances.
Love and Prayers ~Amy