Friday, April 24

Sea Glass

I was complaining to some of my good friends about how I've gone "soft". In high school I had a lot of friends who knew they could rely on me no matter what the situation, but I would never be described as "sweet" or "soft". Ask my little brothers. I did not cry when my feelings were hurt--I fought and shouted and chose words that I knew would inflict the most pain on the person who had offended me. I'm by nature very bossy and belligerent and proud and more likely to swear or shout than to keep my temper.

That's changed a little bit over the past few years. I try to think carefully before I speak, and it's not to choose the "best" hurtful words anymore. More often than not I keep my pride put away, and try to live in a way that is uplifting to others. The friends from high school I keep in touch with all agree that I've gotten softer. It's made a world of difference in all my relationships. For the most part, it really has made my life better.

When I started this post off, I mentioned that I was complaining about all this. When my feelings are hurt, I usually don't get angry and blow up anymore. Instead, I cry. When I see people suffering, especially my YoungLife kids, and I feel powerless to help them--I cry. I've become a pretty weepy young lady and the proud, bossy, belligerent girl inside hates it. I told this to Joel and Katherine, and they've been trying to support me as in my heart the old struggles with the new.

This week Katherine shared a post from their friend, Cabell. You can read her blog here and pray with us for her husband's recovery and for grace for their family. Her husband has been diagnosed with a severe form of cancer, and in this particular post she was describing how their life has been affected by the outpouring of love from friends:

I am amazed by how much they love us. I am overwhelmed by their tenderness and generosity. It is hard to describe, the beauty of friendship. And then I thought of sea glass and the waves that make it beautiful. Sea glass starts as a broken bottle and after years and years the waves transform it. Over time the waves and the sand wear away the sharp edges. The glass is swept up and engulfed by the waves and forever changed. The longer the glass is in the presence of the waves, the softer and more beautiful it becomes.

I am learning in a new way how beautiful friendship is. It changes us, my friends have changed me. Because they have loved me, prayed for me, cared for me, forgiven me, shown me God’s grace my “sharp edges” have begun to wear away. I am softer. My soul is more beautiful. I feel engulfed by the waves of friendship. I feel covered in prayer. I know the kindness and compassion of Jesus in a deeper way because of my friends- our friends.

I'm really glad I got to read this. Each person I encounter as I try to be more like Christ is like a wave that smoothes away another rough edge (and believe me, there are a lot of rough edges) whether I want them to or not. For the most part, I'm grateful for it and I know that it's one more step closer to being what God intended me to be. But, like I told Amy, my seventeen-year-old self would judge me and probably want to beat me up if she met me today. She'd say, "What's your problem? Stop crying and get back at those people! They deserve it and you are smarter than that!"

I just need to embrace the changes I'm making and keep my pride (and my seventeen-year-old personality) put away. I need to remember that it's good to be "tender-hearted" as Joel has described it, and that it is better for the mission and for my relationship with Christ that I continue to lay down my pride and focus on giving. Even if that means I cry like a weenie sometimes.

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