I was not prepared for the battle ahead—the cold stares that cut through my soul. Even though I had gone through plenty of rejection in my youth, this rejection that I faced from other people who called themselves Christians, was something grievous. One evening at this place, they noticed the ring on my finger. They grabbed my hand and asked me, "What is this?!" I replied in fear, "This is my engagement ring from Mark."
Still holding my hand, they dragged me out of the kitchen and into the living room where my love was sitting. They said, "What is this?! Erin said this is an engagement ring! Is that correct?" as they put my hand in front of his face. My heart was pounding and I waited for my approval, when he looked at them completely confused and said, "I have no idea what that is or what she is talking about."
I burst into a flood of tears as I tore my hand from hers and I ran for the door. I just kept running. I could not believe that he did not acknowledge our engagement. Was he ashamed of me? Was I out of my mind? Did all the good happen for it to be all taken away like everything else in my life? That worthless feeling so quickly came back and I felt hopeless. I imagined that they thought that I made the whole thing up. I must have. It could not be true that someone actually good loved me. Surely it must have been a dream.
As I walked into the darkness, I did not care if I knew where I was. After all, why would it matter if I got lost? My only true love had forsaken me. I sat beside a pond just watching the street lights flicker their dim reflection on the still water, perhaps miles from the place I ran from. I heard footsteps. I did not dare look back. Mark found me and sat beside me. I ignored him, stared straight ahead with wells of tears blocking my vision. As the words of contrition poured from his mouth, it fell on me like a healing balm.
What now? How do I face them? Where would I go? I told him I could never return to this place. I could not take another minute of this disgust for me. To this day, I have never had another person look into my eyes with such vial hatred. Never have I ever felt the darts of the enemy so strong against me. If looks could kill, I would have been dead a thousand times at the glance. You would think a Christian would see that I was trying to live for God, that I was a broken vessel who just needed a mentor. I would have thought they would pull me under their wing and teach me the truths of God's word. I imagine that I would have completely trusted them and I could have been so much better a person by their teaching, their divine example of Godly people, or by their love for me.
It sure was not what I thought Christians were. I was not raised in a Christian home, and after being abused by others, I can still say that I was raised with more love in my home than what I had found in this home. I just figured Christians would be like Christ. After all, the name! Christians were big into reading God's word. So if they read it, why not apply his all encompassing love toward them so that it overflows to all those lives they are blessed to touch. I figured the Christians would love unconditionally, forgive quickly, minister to the broken, and would accept others because I read that in Bible. Boy was I misled! In life, I have met Christians that love like Christ. There was hope. It is like the parable of the wheat and tares. God is not fooled. He knows those who are his. They hear his voice and they follow him. There are fake Christians and there are blood boughten saints.
That was my first disappointment with Christians. I will have many more disappointments as I live, but I tell you, when a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ acts in such a hateful, bitter way towards someone who was already so broken, it does not make sense. I can't rewrite the past. I can't take this page out. It was something that shaped me. I found out that just because someone calls them self a Christian, does not mean that they have joy, peace, patience, forgiveness, or love. I had to find that on my own and not from example of the professing body of Christ. I just had to look to Jesus for my example. We all should do that. Thankfully, I did not allow this to turn me from Christ. So many people hate God because of the bad things that happen to them or sometimes because of hypocritical Christians. Well, I can't blame the free will choices of humans to be evil on God. I do know this...God would not have approved of this. I never once blamed God for the bad things that happened in my life. Not once. I never shook my fist in his direction. I always felt like anything good in my life was God's mercy. I did not have an entitlement attitude like God owed me anything. If only others could take all the the injustices of life and not hold it to the account of God. It would be one of my sincerest prayers. God is good. Bottom line.
It is interesting when you hear of abused kids that are in foster care. They act terrible and say terrible things. They reject their foster parents by pushing them as far as they can away from them. It is in effect to find out if the love is real or if it is conditional. Like a test. I did that. I am not proud of it, but from those hurtful experiences with others disdain, I wrestled with the feelings of being unworthy of his love and of God's mercy upon my soul. I questioned whether or not they were right about me. Whether or not all I deserved was to be left in the trash can where I belonged. A part of me really wanted to please others and let them have their way. Break it all off and be done with hurting others by being loved by Mark.
I pushed Mark away. I said hateful things to him. I threw things at him and treated him like a piece of dirt. I could not break him. His love was pure for me and he knew that I was just being crazy. He stills says, "All women are crazy. It is just a matter of what level." He waited out my crazy phase as I acted a complete mental basket case for a time. He did not move. He would not go. He just stayed. He took my abusive words. It was then that I knew he would never forsake me. I had to test him. I had to know for sure that he would stay no matter what. I could not invest my heart again to be broken. And from that day until this, he has never broken my heart again. He has never wavered in his devotion for me. For that I am thankful. For that I am in awe that he would love such a one as me. It is my miracle. Mark is my gift.
Here is the thing I learned about disappointment. It is also a gift. It is like the rain. It pours down and the sky is dark. Clouds are looming over. The sun ceases to shine for a time. It can seem hopeless. But rain is essential for life. Without rain, all that is alive would become thirsty and dry. It would be a desert wasteland. Life would cease. We need rain just like our souls need disappointments once in a while. We learn more in the times that make us question then those times that the sun shining of life will ever teach.
Just so you know...I forgave these people, these people I will not name, for it is unimportant to reveal such things. I certainly do not share this part of my story to justify myself or try to make myself look better. Nor do I share this story because I want Christians to look bad. I know they only meant well. They did not know any better at the time. I forgave them based on Christ's example. After all, his own people spit upon him, reviled him, rejected
him, and cursed him, he still died for them. He still forgave them. As our bloody wounded savior hung on that cross, the only thing he would say about these murderous, hateful people was, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they do." If Christ can forgive in such circumstances, my situation was so easy in comparison, then why could I not forgive.
"With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
I certainly would not share a story unless I could give you some hope. With Christ there is always hope and in His love we can overcome anything set before us. There is more to come in my story if you only stay tuned.
50% off Living Virtuously until midnight tonight.