Day of the meeting: In my mind, I was fully prepared for the meeting. The restaurant was pretty full. Covid had not really hit hard yet. There was still a mystery about what to expect when out in public. I was seated in the middle of the dining room prior to her arrival.
I would think: “Well, this isn’t very private. I will have to talk quietly”.
I was excited to share all that I had rehearsed regarding the issue with my family member. Also, I could not wait to share all the good things the Lord was showing me about me.
We received our breakfast and I all but ignored my food. I begin to unload all that was in my mind and heart. All I had played in my head from the night before to this very moment came pouring out like a tidal wave of words.
If my words had been water, they would have knocked her over.
I would think: “This is the big reveal, I know God is going to help me with this issue, and confirmation is coming”.
She finishes eating. I finally stop talking, I pick up my fork to eat a cold breakfast.
I ask, so what do you think?
She puts her fork down, and states, “I have heard enough, you have been controlling your husband and his children…”.
I was in shock; my mind went blank.
She presented to me some examples of explanation, discussed my jealously and reminded me of how my husband loves me and then I remember her explaining how we must be humble.
As a nurse, I am adept at holding back large expressions of emotion in front of others; however, this moment was a little more than I could bear. I began to cry, then I would hold it.
She was compassionate, honest, and blunt. She discussed with me the necessity of a blunt response.
Her words penetrated me; it was not merely the words; it was the power of God behind them bringing me to a place of change.
In that moment, I had a choice. I could accept what she was saying and surrender to God for change, or I could defend myself and plead my case.
It was difficult. I thought about her words. I pleaded. I said, "but I have been working on this pride, and control. When my husband doesn’t lead as he should I bring him options so that he is making the choice rather than stepping in and taking over". I presented a couple of my perceived improvements.
I was attempting to accept what she said and hang onto something, so that I would not have to FULLY face my behavior. Which consisted of an attitude of control, pride, and jealousy.
She kindly and respectfully spoke in love, and finally said, you are still controlling, you are just doing it, DIFFERENTLY.
The word echoed in my soul. Differently.
I knew, I had no choice but to surrender to God and respect her authority.
See, God had placed her on MY heart. That I should call her and take her out to breakfast and speak all of what was going on in MY mind to her for her feedback.
THIS was that feedback.
She had no reason to hurt me and received no benefit. If anything, she was risking friendship and spoke it out of love and kindness.
I knew in that moment, that if I did not surrender to the change that God was moving in my life, that consequences would follow.
I wanted to obey God, be close to God and if all of this was true then my relationship with God was being interrupted by my sin.
I left for home and began to know immediately what I needed to do. The godly sorrow that surrounded me was strong. Over the next 2-3 days, I was prompted to apologize to many people who were affected by my attitude and acts of pride, control, and jealousy.
I learned in this time that shame will make you feel sorry for yourself. Shame and sorrow sometimes feel very similar. Sorrow, Godly sorrow, will make you repentant of your actions and builds compassion in us for those who have been affected by our sinful actions and attitudes.
God wrapped His arms around me, He helped me, and He also guided me in the responsibility of reconciliation.
If we want personal revival, and reconciliation then we must accept and surrender to God’s work AND our responsibility of repentance.
Many apologies went out over those 2-3 days. Most of them were received very well. Some even acted like they were not sure why I was even talking to them about such things.
The first apology went to my husband who was very gracious.
The next apologies went to his children.
The enemy would try to move on my emotions to make me feel like I was a “bad step-mom”, but the Lord helped me remain out of false humility and stay the course.
I heard back from our oldest. She was the family member for which I still had an issue. I had been praying and praying about this reconciliation.
The moment I apologized sincerely for not just my actions but also for my attitude of pride. It was like she jumped back into my arms, and we had a better relationship healed than we did prior. The LORD worked in me and in her.
During this moment we had an opportunity to see the fruit of God’s work.
It took me surrendering to something that I did not want to face. It took trusting someone’s confrontation over my own pre-conceived notions. It took laying down pride and picking up humility, it took godly sorrow.
It seemed, at the time, I had been working on pride, humility, and the fear of the LORD for a long time.
Yet, it was years before I could get to the place of seeing that sometimes we do the same things DIFFERENTLY.
All along, to truly change, it took surrender.