Broken relationships

Are You Contributing to Conflict? (Watch this. A must.)

In my family of origin we did conflict well. Very well, in fact. Unfortunately, what we didn’t do well, or know how to, was resolve it. We didn’t know any better. We weren’t taught. We only did what generations before us did. We simply avoided conflict and ignored resolution. We mistakenly assumed that once the bomb went off, the danger was over.

But we all know the bomb going off is just the beginning, right?

Decades later, I am still learning how to do conflict well and, just as importantly, resolve it well. Conflict resolution is h.a.r.d. It is messy. It is dreaded. No one enjoys removing the pieces of shrapnel the bomb left.

But shrapnel left on the landscape of relationships always leaves damage.

Unresolved conflict in a relationship is like shrapnel. Broken relationships are often embedded with the painful fragments of bitterness and unforgiveness. Rarely do they heal on their own. Picking out the shrapnel is a delicate job. It takes skill. Skills that we don’t always have or aren’t even aware we need.

But lack of knowledge is no deterrent for learning.

In fact, lack of knowledge is exactly the catalyst for learning. I no longer believe that not knowing something equals stupid. The truth is that if I don’t know something, then I can learn it. If I don’t know, then I can find out. It doesn’t mean I’m stupid. It means I’m ignorant.

ignorant

adjective

1.

lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned

And ignorance is fixable. How do you fix it? You ask for help. You search for the answer. You humble yourself and admit you don’t know. You have a teachable spirit. You seek to be educated: because learning is freedom.

Learning the skills to resolve conflict isn’t difficult. Putting them into practice? Yeah, a bit tougher.

But listen.

The rewards? Amazing. There is nothing like restored relationship. It is wholeness to the soul, peace to the heart. Broken relationships seldom feel good. Bitterness and unforgiveness never go away on their own. Fractured relationships, like broken bones, need attention. They need healing.

I’ve done my share of offending and experienced my share of offense. However, no matter the role of offender or the one offended, I am called by Christ to forgive, to put away bitterness, and to seek peace.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. (Rom. 12:8)

Do you have broken relationships or conflict in your life? Take heart. God is in the business of restoration. He will take the shrapnel in your life and create a stunning mosaic. Partner with Him in the process.

Blessings,

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He has been good to me

Psalm 13

Psalm 13

1How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

2How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

4and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”

and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6I will sing the Lord’s praise,

for he has been good to me.

The psalmist David was no stranger to hardship. He had his share of heartbreak, fear, and doubt. He made grave mistakes, mistakes with severe consequences. (2 Sam. 12) Yet, David could say of God, “he has been good to me.”

I discovered Psalm 13 about nineteen years ago when I suffered a miscarriage. I was pregnant with baby #2 and, in fact, had just gotten the wonderful news over the phone from the doctor’s office that we were expecting when, a few hours later, the bleeding began.

It was a Friday.

The bleeding continued heavily over the next two days, and by Sunday, our loss was complete. I was heartbroken. It seemed as salt in the wound, too, when we went to church that Sunday and a dear woman, who knew nothing of what our weekend had encompassed, came up to me and cheerfully asked, “So when are you two going to have more children?”

I burst out in tears in reply.

Times of heartbreak will break you. Seeking comfort, I flipped through the Bible, searching for a word from God. My Bible opened on Psalm 13. It seemed as if I hadn’t been the only one who, to paraphrase verse two, wrestled with my thoughts and day after day had sorrow in my heart. That verse spoke for me, uttering the words I couldn’t, words I had no strength to form.

But pain is only bearable if there is hope. Hope brings relief. Hope speaks the language of love. The psalmist didn’t end in despair. David remembered that every hurt was only the slingshot that catapulted him into the loving arms of his Father, the Healer.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. (Ps.13:5-6, italics mine)

How do you handle heartbreak? You remember what David did: The LORD has been good to me. I read Psalm 13 daily for many months, each time counting the ways God had been good to me. Praise in pain is possible. It’s possible because of God’s unfailing love. You are loved beyond measure. He is good, and he is good to you. Trust in the love that never fails.

Blessings,

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