I sat down in my antique rocking chair ever so slowly. My breathing deepened as I sought the words that my heart wanted to speak to Him that still, dark morning. I was rarely up that early, but I had something on my mind; sleep was just not a possibility. I quietly whispered to Him, "I know you got me up early for a reason, but Lord, I am so tired. I can barely keep my eyes open. So, if I fall asleep on you, know that I still love you." I could almost picture Him smiling down at that statement. If those were the words that came out of my heart in its more revealing stage (the exhausted stage), He definitely had a purpose for that morning.
I did not really have a game plan; I had just woken up from a fretful night of tossing and turning after all. I just basically sat there, in my quiet place, letting thoughts flow through my mind. Numerous and overwhelming instances of failed friendships and of relationships with people of my past just started to burden me. My brow wrinkled, "Lord, I have given up those relationships and are at peace with them. I do not understand why you would wake me up to keep listening to those. It was bad enough that I was dreaming about them." Again, I could see a small smile forming on the corners of His mouth. I felt like shaking my head, but instead I just settled deeper into the chair, pulling the corners of my rather large blanket tighter around me. My heart was groaning and complaining that this was going to be a rough morning.
The puzzle pieces of broken trust, broken commitments, broken words, broken actions, and broken promises just started to fall into place. I was seeing a picture I had avoided seeing for a long time. My heart jolted as my thoughts touched upon each instance where something had been taken from me, where I had let myself be vulnerable in some way. But then, the outside puzzle pieces started surrounding the inside ones. These were different. They were locks, chains, walls, doors, and cells. They were trapping the hurt inside a shell, the shell of a hardening heart. I watched carefully as gentle, giant hands began to take the outside pieces away again. But, the pieces were frantically being put back in place by smaller hands. The larger hands moved to cover the smaller ones, continuing to take the pieces apart and keeping them away. The puzzle, the outside shell, was unraveling.
Honestly, I was seeing my heart that morning. I will admit; I have endured a lot of betrayals in my life, too many to count. I have seen people turn around to be snakes right before my eyes. I have seen people abandon me for the next best friend in line. I have seen the slow backing off of those that just did not care anymore. Each time, I took the hurt like a brick. I disregarded it, figured it was all my fault, and then moved on. After all, who could cause the hurt in these relationships but myself? So, I started to become anything but personal with friendships. I would know loads of information about my friends, but they would know little about me. Deep conversations were never allowed to take place. I had been through the same cycle so many times, endured so many scars, that I was not going back.
And this morning, I was reminded of that because the same cycle was occurring yet again in my life. At that moment, I could not withstand the tears. I had thought I could escape the hurt by trusting in Him and guarding my friendships so close that only certain people would be trusted. I had trusted the wrong people again. To be honest, this one was worse than before. I felt trapped. When I tried to pull away, my heart pulled me back. A bitter root and a sober spirit arose in my heart, threatening all I knew and cared about. My joy in life was mysteriously becoming more and more clouded. I had a choice that morning. I could either drown in the fog or I could climb out of it. I could either continue to fight and close up or I could keep my heart bare to Him and seek to truly forgive and let go.
I took the path I had never had the strength to take before. I chose to forgive. I chose to painstakingly remember all I could and write it down and let it go. It was in His hands. Though I knew I had to get out of the friendship, I also knew that I had to continue to love and to wipe the slate clean. And that I did. It was one of the hardest things I had ever done, but it was a step in life that I needed to take. It meant sacrificing a bit of who I was for another person. It meant looking at the good and loving the good. It meant learning to trust and lean into Him.
Though I was originally afraid of going through the memories, I learned that the Lord was showing me where I had come from. See, I was not strong; I was weak. I was not courageous; I was afraid. I was not bold; I was reclusive. I was not honest; I was deceiving. I was not whole; I was broken. On that morning, the Lord said, "My child, I know you are weak, afraid, withdrawn, dodging, and shattered down in that place, but I need you to go there. I need you to go there because I can fix it. I am answering your prayer that I come in to your heart and heal it and make it new. I am healing it; I am healing the hurt."
While the friendship may not exist or be salvageable any longer, I know that He is there and will be there always. I know that He is just waiting for the moment when I openly and humbly admit that I need Him. I know that there is a healthy way to guard my heart and there is an unhealthy way. I know that there is a chained life and a free life. And the only way I can ever be truly free is when I let Him direct my heart and when I let Him determine how much of my heart must remain guarded and when I let Him be the healer He always wants to be.