I didn’t plan on posting on the blog this week.
Yes, I did make a (late) New Year’s resolution that I would be more faithful in posting, by worrying less about the details that come with being a semi-perfectionist (a term I just made up, which is probably not even possible, since you cannot be perfect and be less than perfect or you aren’t perfect).
So, yes, I set a goal to post every Friday, or as close to it as possible. However, this week my son is visiting from another state, and I am leaving town on Thursday. So, I gave myself a gracious pass to skip a week of writing on the blog. I felt good about the decision.
And then this happened.
Last Friday evening I received a vile and disgusting comment on my blog. The writer, a male who resides in Ohio, gave himself a fictional name, and commented saying horrible things about me and my husband. The things he said were completely inaccurate. He made gross assumptions about our situation and my heart. He made completely inaccurate statements about God’s forgiveness. He assured me that I was not forgiven or redeemed.
I told my six closest people about it and asked them to pray for me and for the man. It was obvious that someone in his past had hurt him, and he was merely lashing out in an anonymous fashion rather than dealing with his own life issues. The six adult members of my family are my six closest people. All six of them were in agreement that the best thing to do was to ignore the hate mail, and pray for the man. I felt good about the decision.
And then this happened.
Yesterday, I received another comment on the blog. This comment was far worse than the first one. Fortunately, my son was in the room when I saw the notification. I told him what was happening and he quickly responded saying, “Don’t read it, Mom.”
My son then took over. He read the comment and moved it to the trash. I asked him what it had said. He told me the man had compared me to a Nazi. He told me the comment was extremely rude and vulgar. He also told me the man wants me to stop writing on my blog. After discussing the matter with my six closest people we decided, once again, it would be best to just continue to ignore the frustrated Ohio resident. I felt good about the decision.
And then this happened.
In the few hours I had between shifts at the restaurant, I was relaxing at home when I received an incoming text message from a young mom who attends the church I previously attended. Without going into detail, I will share that she was contacting me because she and her husband are in crisis. She needed some specific information from me, and I was very pleased I could supply it. Then she asked me to pray and shared more of the details. My heart beat hard in my chest and I wanted to crawl through the phone and hug her.
We had just wound down our text messaging thread when the phone alerted me to another incoming text. I was surprised when I saw it wasn’t her–but a different woman. This woman is new in my life and has only come into my life because of the blog. She and her husband have been going through a difficult time in their marriage. One Sunday morning this woman had gone forward for prayer at her church, the woman in the prayer room prayed with her, and then she told her she might want to read my blog. She read some of the posts and then she contacted me and we connected. Since that time we have been able to have a conversation on the phone and several text message conversations as well.
As I was reading today’s text messages asking for prayer, I felt such an enormous amount of love for this woman whom I have never met. She is trying desperately to hold her life together and make good decisions. I understand her need for advice in order to achieve such a feat.
Imagine you were in the habit of making really bad decisions for a long period of time. One day, you decide you are going to start start making good decisions. Do you believe a change of that nature comes naturally? One of the hardest things I had to relearn was how to make decisions that were not based on my emotions. One of the ugliest things I had to learn to recognize in myself was my selfishness.
I was blessed to have people available to me to help me with these things. I had people I could call on to pray for me and help me get through the beginning stages–stages which lasted for almost a year. Without people available to pray for me and with me, I am not sure what self-destructive decisions I would have made.
I cannot believe how fortunate I am to get to be on the other side of that scenario.
Tonight, as I think about the text messages along with the comments from the Ohio man, which were both flying around cyber-space, I cannot help but recognize the Spiritual warfare involved in the timing. It made me realize, I no longer felt good about decision I had made. I am not going to ignore the comments from the man in Ohio.
I will tell you quite plainly, Mr. Ohio, that I will not stop writing and offering hope to people who have fallen. In the first line of the first email, you told me that I saw myself as a victim and you are quite wrong. I am not a victim. I am the furthest thing from a victim. My sin didn’t happen to me. I willfully chose my sin. But, I don’t believe compassion is only for victims. I believe in compassion and grace for the sinners as well. I believe restoration and forgiveness are available for all of God’s people. I hope that you lose interest in my little blog and move along to something that brings joy into your life, but in the meantime, you can be guaranteed that I will continue to share what God is doing in our marriage and the good that is coming despite the horrible thing that I chose. You can be assured that I will tactfully relate the pain when necessary and the push through the shame of what I did to my family. I will not hide and wait for people like you to decide when I am allowed to be a part of society and how that is to look. You can also know with certainty that I won’t read any of your comments. I have six of my closest people to make sure I won’t have to.
And, I feel good about that decision.