i kind of like surprises. in a big time way. i have only been truly surprised a couple of times in my life. and i love the feeling you get when you think about a surprise again. that somersault activity in the pit of your stomach. its awesome.
big surprises i have received: a sewing machine that sam and serena orchestrated getting for me. and of course, the positive pregnancy test of mason, henry, and wilder. talk about surprises.
big surprises i have done- well the best one was serena and i talking ashley to disneyland last year. that was phenomenal.
until thursday. it seems like i plan a lot of cahoots with my best friend, who i have affectionately nicknamed gus. because she does all the driving in our cahoots. and i'm shawn, because i am usually quoting something that isn't original mary tongue.
with gus and my dear friend kris larson, we decided i would fly in to grass valley under the radar (well, i'm sure the pilot did keep us in radar) and surprise as many of my friends as i could. my idea- host a girls night for me (its just all about me) and tell everyone i'll "skype" in.
well, that definitely drew a crowd. a very surprised crowd. with tears and laughter and brie cheese and lava cakes and apple pie and (shocker) wine, i relieved the last 10 years of my life, and the last month. and as i stared at all my dear close friends it was wonderful to feel home. ah, how people truly are what make you home. its not a place. just like i can feel home here because of the people who surround me with love.
well, a little wine, a lot of sugar, and retelling my story, and the "expletives started flying". and i had been doing so good at not dropping the f-word. however, most everyone keeps reminding me that this word is being accurately used, as that is what was happening. but still. it riles me up- big time. blood hot through veins.
and then, i was told that sam's longest running lady friend had been given her job back at starbucks. and that flashing red light of rage was blaring in front of my face.
i went home with serena (gus) and was just irate. and i told her that i wanted to just go into starbucks and in front of anyone who was there point her out and tell everyone what this girl had done to me.
and as i was sitting at serena's table with my heart pounding hard and wonderful apple pie on the fork in my hand i sat quietly for a moment.
Romans 12: 17-21 went through my mind:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone, Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "it is mine to avenge; I will repay", says the Lord. On the contrary. "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Phew. Big sigh. the sighs were back.
and then it hit me. mary, you are so ridiculously happy. like crazy happy. like wailing into dancing. happy. so very happy with the Lord. would i want anything other than what i have right now? NOPE. not even a little bit. this is where the Lord has me. everything that has happened over the last 10 years of my life has brought me here- to sitting on the floor of my parents house, typing on my computer, with "i'm coming home" blaring in my ears so i can avoid henry's strong argument to get out of the bath, with my Bible open at my feet. this is where i am supposed to be. this is God's plan for me. and i love it.
so why on earth would i be angry at anyone who was part of how God got me here? the Lord uses the sinful actions of people for His GLORY.
so why would i be angry or hateful?
that's just ridiculous. its like having a big bowl of maggots served to you for years and then finally someone gives you a big bowl of ice cream, and you start eating the ice cream while still complaining about the maggots.
STOP COMPLAINING! i never have to eat maggots again!
and then i thought about this girl. and i felt compassion. i thought about the example of a Christian that had been shown to her. and i thought of Jesus. and how much He loves me. and how i am a sinner. and how He hung on that cross for my failures and sins that i have done, still do, and will do. and how He hung on that cross for her.
and my heart hurt.
and somehow i found myself driving to starbucks, seeing her car, parking next to her car, and literally walking in with music playing by my ear. and once i saw her, i felt free.
i'm sure i scared her. i know i did, because she told me later.
but i walked up, and told her out thankful i was for her. how the Lord had used her, how i was set free, how i felt more love for her and for Christ than i thought possible.
and then we decided to meet up and talk the next day.
do you want to tell me how a person could walk up to a person that had hurt and wronged them and leave with the biggest smile on their face?
when i met up with her the next day, i happily ran from my car to greet her.
and it was wonderful. no pain. no hurt. no anger. compassion. God's love. Christs work. His love, HIS FORGIVENESS.
i spent a little time explaining my history with sam, how i had finally found out, how i had been suspicious for months, how he had changed. and then i apologized for all the hard words i had said towards her. she was able to talk, explain what had happened.
and she has been truly repentant. she looked at me and said that she knew what she did was wrong, she had a choice, and she knew the whole time it was wrong, yes he lied to her, and said really manipulative and harsh things about me and our relationship- things that she chose to believe, and that he made it hard for her to end things, but that she still made the choice.
no excuses. remorse and repentance.
and then i shared with her about what the Lord is doing in my life, how only He can be what takes true pain away, how He loves her. i gave her a Bible, with blue polka dotted duck tape on it (just like mine, thanks Gus) and the devotional Jesus Calling. she gave me socks. we are a lot a like.
and you know what. i have a new friend. because of what Christ can and will do. it is through Him, He has given me love and compassion. i could cling to hate and anger, or i could embrace the love that Christ offers me.
its freaking amazing.
so this is my new friend. i'm praying for her. i'm here if she needs anything. i know she needs the love of her Savior. just like i do.
and you know what, she makes a mean mixed cd.
cedar, i am so thankful for you. i am so thankful for how the Lord used everything for His Glory, and i am so sorry for the pain you went through as a result of His plan- but i know that if you embrace Him, your pain will be gone.
happy valentines today to all those i love. remember the best gift of love. Christs Work.
and eat a york peppermint patty, because they are awesome.