I've started this post about ten different times and in ten different ways.  I know what I want to say but I just don't know how to get it going.  I tried serious, but I just don't do serious well.  I end up sounding like a cross between the SNL Church Lady and Whirlpool repair man. Weird, I know.   

So, I dropped serious and went to third person, but I just got confused and stopped.  I tried funny, but it sounded goofy.  So, I'm just going to pour my heart out on the page and let's see what happens. 

 We started a new Bible study this week and I'm just thrilled and honored to be leading an incredible group of women.  They are funny, talented, and bright – and probably a whole bunch more adjectives.  Some I know well and others I'm looking forward to getting to know.  We have a blast both nights (we have a Sunday night group and a Wednesday night group) and I was cleaning up the room Wednesday night and the Lord just spoke a word straight to my heart  — “Remember.”  Oh, and did I.

 I remember walking into this room almost two years ago. My heart was so heavy it ached.  I didn't want to be in the company of women.  I didn't want to be in the company of anyone.  I wanted to hide somewhere lick my wounds and whine – a lot.  But I couldn't, the Lord just wouldn't let me so I sat down and made small talk.   

 Now, this is probably the place where you're wondering “what happened to her?”  Did she lose a loved one?  Was someone sick?  No to all those. I won't go into all the details, but I'd allowed someone to manipulate and deceive me.  I hope you noticed the word ALLOWED, because God warned me, but I ignored those warnings.  He did everything short of bopping me on the head with a hammer and I don't think that would've gotten my attention either.  Bottom line  —  I learned that  people I thought loved me for me, just used me as a means to an end.  Not exactly what I'm looking for in friends.  And I was heartbroken over lies I bought in to and believed.  Oh, did I mention I was knee deep in writing a book about girlfriends at this time?  Talk about a wake up call.  The writing went on hold –  it's really hard to write about fun, friendship stuff when you're licking your wounds over a toxic friendship. 

God taught me some amazing truths during all of this.   I learned that I was at fault, too – I overlooked too much and turned away from warning signs.  I learned that red flags mean stop!  I learned that people are human and faulty and I am, too.  I learned that I can only live to please the Lord.  I can't please people and I might as well not even try.

 

As I looked around that room I remembered the journey I've been on for the past two years.  I journey that I never wanted to take, but one that has brought me to a place of new dependence on the Lord;  a place that allows me to live a transparent life (to the point that I'm posting all of this online for everyone to read); and a place of a new freedom and joy in this life.  I doubt I would've ever learned all of this so quickly without the hurt of that broken friendship and the realization that people will fail me and that  God will not.

 

So this journey continues, but the pain is much less, but the memories remain.  The lessons are etched on my heart.  I struggle with trusting people but I do it (sometimes with clenched teeth, but I do it).   I've had a year of amazing blessings and God has poured his grace and favor all over me.  I'm humbled to serve Him and in awe of His goodness and His greatness.