Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Unlikely Transformation.

Not gonna lie, I had quite the low point as a Christian yesterday. Like really low. Like if anyone had witnessed that moment and asked me if I was a Christian, I would have denied, just so that no one would ever associate that moment with my Christ.

I wrote a letter. And man, what a letter!

So, for you to have a grasp at how writing a letter can be unchristian, I'm gonna have to explain some things. Let me say right now, I am not proud of this. At all. In fact, every ounce of my being is screaming for you to stop reading. But don't. I need to be real, and open, and honest, and all those other things I so badly want to be known for.

A person who had been involved with my family went into rehab. He desperately needed it. And as part of rehab, they ask people to write open, honest letters to the rehabees, explaining the pain, grief, whatever that they have caused.

I did not hold anything back.

I told him I wished he had stayed out of rehab and died. I told him that if he became this generations Billy Graham and cured cancer, I still wouldn't want anything to do with him. I may have mentioned a dream I had had where he died, and I woke up refreshed and joyful. When I sat down to write the letter, I went into it with the mindset that I would write a letter that would make him want to kill himself. And hopefully before he found God, because I did not want to run into him up there.

And as I read what I just wrote, I feel so ashamed. I feel so unbelievably far from the girl who is quick to forgive and believe the best of everyone. The girl who will try to make up ridiculously implausible stories that might excuse why a person was rude, just so I can have the capacity to show them Grace.  That girl did not exist anywhere in this letter.

So, I rewrote it. And it flowed out of me, just as easily as the other one had. At no point during the writing of these letters did I have to stop and think how to say a certain phrase. Both times I had written with absolute clarity, and ended them feeling I had said everything I needed to say.  But the second one was a tad different. There had been a change that had taken place since writing the first letter last night, and writing the second one this time. And it was simply this: I asked God to give me His heart for this young man.

I did not want God's heart for him. No. I had written that I would throw a party every year on the day of his death. I did not want to care even a smidgen for him. But as I wrote my second letter, that's all that would come out. I tried to write about the pain he had caused me and my family, but instead I began to plead with him to visit with the Lord. To go to Him in the midst of everything that he's dealing with, while he's doing it. To no matter what, always go to God. I honestly do not know how I wrote this letter. If you saw these two letters side by side, you would swear they were written by two different people to two completely different people.

And I write this now, not as any sort of glowing recommendation of me and my writing abilities. Far from it. As far as I am concerned after reading the first letter, I shouldn't be allowed to write ever. Seriously, it was horrible. But I write this to remind you of the transformative power God has on our lives. Because I am still in shock that I even took the time to write the second letter, let alone have it be an uplifting one. And all it took was a begrudging, half joking request for God to give me His heart.

Thanks for reading! It means the world to me.


  1. Oh man! My heart hurts for you just thinking of all the things that would make you write a letter. I've seen my family get hurt and I think that makes anger well up inside of me more than crimes against myself. That would have been an incredibly hard letter to write. Neither time could have been easy. I'm glad you let God transform you though. Is this where holding grace in a death grip comes in? It's making you a better person.

    Seriously, it couldn't have been easy to be honest about the letter. You've got guts (and I mean that in the best possible way). Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Caitlin. Your tweet about grace was definitely part of this. And man, the death grip I've got on it right now!

    I'm still slightly shaking after posting this, and resisting the urge to delete, but all we have is our story, our experiences, our testimony. If we pick and choose, we limit what God can use to help others. So even though I wish no one would ever know this happened, I've gotta let them know it did.

  3. Sincere letters are a reflection of the things on our heart. They are an excellent way to communicate a full thought (and then some) because no one interrupts you while you're "talking". I'm always amazed by how a letter can straighten me out even when the recipient was supposed to be the target. I love you how your "letter" to all of us today shows a great point about letters. You can write one and NOT send it just as easily as you can send it. You can NEVER pull spoken words back once they're out there. Praise the Lord that you had the opportunity to ask for His heart.

    I love your honesty ... you sound like David in the Psalms here : )