I am approaching this subject so tenderly, with so much thought and with such careful prayer and meditation. It has been weighing so heavily on my soul for over a decade. God sometimes gives us heavy things, doesn’t He? It is something that has deeply cut my family, our extended family, and even poured devastatingly into my marriage. I have prayed, I have cried, I have carried this. I have remained silent. I have tried to ignore it and move on and around it in our lives — and yet it keeps returning. These past few months I even confronted it. And this weekend, after so much pain, and after so much hard — I am finally able to truly let it go. I am now able to fully understand why this monster has been such a force of destruction and abuse in our lives.
I haven’t been able to sleep lately. Being a light sleeper, this equates to no sleep as opposed to a few good hours of sleep. And the terrible nightmares of my father have returned again. I haven’t had those in years. I’ve been frustrated, sad, and feeling so completely frazzled with just about everything. The state of my heart has been a mess. This most certainly means that things in my life are just plain out of whack.
When God lays things upon your heart and mind and doesn’t let them go, it is usually for a reason. When something is gnawing on your soul and wearing you down, year after year after year, He isn’t whispering anymore. He’s shaking you. You know it. I knew it. This all just was not working. It wasn’t right. It was never right. And I wasn’t able to ignore it anymore and let it pass for “personality”. The concern of “Will other people understand?”, “How will I be judged?” or “I just wish they knew what was really going on!” was completely gone. Right is certainly not often easy. But the Lord will not let you rest in wrong.
Lies. Dishonesty. Gossip. These things are abhorrently disdainful to God. They rip lives apart. They rip families apart. And the world is a place that is full of lies. In fact, honesty, truth, authenticity are SO very rare. So rare, in fact, that we often make excuses for lies every.single.day. And we make excuses for them in our behavior and other people’s behavior as well. We say things like, “That’s just the way she is.” Or, “I’m just so used to her telling lies and saying crazy, off the wall things that I just let it roll off of me and I don’t think about it.” Little white lies. Big lies. And everything in between. It’s become acceptable behavior. And it is destructive.
Now, we all are going to slip up in this area occasionally. It happens. We’re human and we sin. No one is perfect. Owning up to your mistakes, admitting to your sins and errors, that’s one thing. But not taking accountability for the heinous untruths that have come out of your mouth is quite another. Lies on top of lies. Lies begetting more lies. It never, ever ends. And the fact of the matter is, if a person really believed the horrific things she was saying about the people she was talking about — really and truly felt there was truth to these fabricated stories or disgusting stretches and slants of fact (which are still lies) — she would talk to THAT person him or herself — instead of taking the hours it takes to call her friends or that person’s other family members to talk about it to them instead. If there is true care, true concern about the gravity of the things that are being lied about — she would have conversations with the person the salacious stories are being postured about. That is not done — at first — or at all. Because the effect desired is not one of resolution or empathy for that person, but drama and attention seeking for herself.
I had thought about letting this go just one more time. What’s one more time, right? — In the long laundry list of times this woman’s mouth has spread deceit. But what weighs so incredibly heavy on my heart time and time again is what am I teaching my children? This behavior is not okay. By any stretch of the imagination. No one else would EVER be permitted to treat us or any of our friends or family in this manner. It does not matter what label of ‘family’ is attached to this person’s name. Just because you are “so and so” does not make it acceptable for you to act in this matter towards me, or towards anyone in this family. It would be one thing if you could talk to this person and make some kind of headway, some kind of reasonable place from which to move forward — but the lies only continue. She will deny anything you say she has said or done. Vehemently. And then call everyone else she knows and lie some more — about the very conversation you just had — in which you told her the very thing you needed from her to have any kind of relationship what so ever was honesty.
Lying — what’s the big deal anyway?
I spent yesterday in the Word, praying, and meditating to come to some sense of what I was supposed to do with this situation that keeps coming up for my family. What I really want to do is take my children and get as far away from all of this as I possibly can. No one seems to stand up to this woman. I feel very alone in this. She is not held accountable. She can not be reasoned with because she takes no accountability (or she will make a general, sweeping apology but when pressed for WHY she is apologizing and what it is exactly that she is sorry for — can only say that she was asked to apologize by so and so because that person thought it would make things better — but can not come up with any concrete reasons as to why she is sorry), when pressed with specific circumstances denies everything or changes her story, and just cries, or yells, or sarcastically laughs (which she will deny and call ‘audible noises’), blames it on everyone else, and then plays the tortured victim. Breath is wasted on a narcissist. I am not wasting any more stress or valuable minutes of my life on this ridiculous hamster wheel. I refuse to play or be a part of this game. I am done.
All the while, I have so ardently prayed for her and prayed for God to show me what to do as I feel so trapped and isolated in this. But as a mother, as a Christian, as a feeling human being — I take none of this lightly. I can forgive over and over again — even if someone is continuing the behavior and never admits to or asks to be forgiven — but it does NOT mean I have to invite the evil or the crazy into my front door or walk through hers. Forgiveness does not mean you have to be a participant in the insanity.
Even though I was completely exhausted and just spent today, I felt this urgency to get my family to church. We all had to go, regardless. It was the strongest pull I have ever felt. No “I’m too tired” excuses or “We have too much to do today.” We.could.not.miss.
It was all God. In fact, it was the biggest God thing.
I finally gained complete understanding as to why I felt such conviction in this. The words of the sermon were salve, they were my plenty, they filled my soul that had felt so beaten up and depleted for so many years by this woman. In my eyes, she was always getting away with so much — over and over and over again — and I just wished that people could see and hear her for who she really was. And then here she was painting others out to be so terrible, when it was her heart and her tongue that were false and full of darkness. And then, a few years ago, by the grace of God I was over all of that. Over being misunderstood. Over the justice here on earth part. I didn’t care anymore. I held on to the fact that God knew me, he saw absolutely everything and she really wasn’t getting away with any of it.
But still, this dealing with it all here on earth part was hard. It was so hard. And I felt trapped in this. Like I didn’t have a leg to stand on because she was this person to our family. I had made boundaries, but it still just felt so wrong inside. I truly felt like I was wrestling a demon. Like God was saying, — ‘This isn’t enough. Your children are getting really mixed messages about right and wrong, about their faith, about what it means to be a father, a husband, a mother, a wife, a grandmother, about love, about who I am.’ Until today. It became so very clear.
The sermon today was all about, are you ready for this??? — truth and honesty. And God said, “Angie, here’s your answer.”
One verse. One little verse. James 5:12 says, “Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No’ be no, or you will be condemned.” Such a powerful verse! Turns out, God does not take honestly lightly! In fact, WHAT WE SAY MATTERS. It matters intensely. It matters SO much that we will have to give an account for the words that we utter here on this earth. God is a God of truth. Satan is the father of lies. Apostle John, when speaking of the children of the devil in chapter 8 verse 44 says, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for his is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me!”. Our honesty, our truth, marks our very walk with God. It is a testament to our Christianity. God’s words are truth, and as followers of God, we need to be the same with our word. I want my boys to see and to know this — to fully understand this with all of their being. I don’t want them to be confused by this when they constantly hear, “Well, that’s just how she is — that’s just how I grew up and what I’m used to from her.” Not acceptable. On absolutely any level.
The words we utter also reflect the state of our hearts. One of the main reasons I practice yoga and meditate and fervently read the word of God and pray incessantly is because I want to fill my heart up with love, with light, with the fruits of the spirit and the wisdom of the One who created me. If my heart is filled with those things, when I am stressed, angry, or bitter — my mind, my tongue, my first thoughts will have what I have stored up in that space to fall back on. I must constantly fill up my supply. It’s been a life long journey for me to come to this understanding, to cultivate this, to find peace despite circumstance, and to realize that I MUST be vigilant about this. Our hearts and souls need this food just as much as our bodies do — like our lungs need air. And it is absolutely amazing how much we think and feel comes from our lips. Devoting your life to authenticity and to the Lord completely changes your insides. Transversely, if what comes from your lips is mostly lies, you might want to take a look at your heart — and furthermore — your walk with God as a believer. It is a relationship. And like all relationships, one that takes cultivation and time — talking and listening. Luke 6:45, one of my favorite verses in the Bible, says “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Truth and honesty are of upmost importance to God. In fact, James says, “Above all.” As in, ‘if you should forget all the other things I have told you, this is the one thing you should remember.” Above.all. James states in Chapter One, verse 26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” His.religion.is.worthless. Wow. This is huge. This is heavy. This is everything. Our words, our honesty, what comes out of our mouths — it so very matters. My religion is not worthless to me. My God is not worthless to me. I do not want that message of worthlessness to be conveyed to my children — that maybe it’s okay to repeatedly lie and hurt people if you are this person. ‘Because that’s just what she does. And she’ll never change. And we can’t really talk to her about it because she doesn’t remember any of it, she doesn’t hold herself accountable, so we all just have to live with it. She’s a gossip. She always has been. She stretches the truth. She makes up crazy stories. That’s just her. It’s been her for as long as I can remember.’ Or worse yet, to completely ignore it and not even recognize the problem. I do not want them to get that message from me. If other people want to make that choice for themselves and their families, that is theirs to make. This is mine. And God is holding me accountable. Not man. It is in front of Him I will stand in final judgment. So the choice is clear for this girl.
And with that, I could finally breathe. The tears just came, and this time they were because I finally felt peace in my heart when it came to this mess of evil that has plagued our family for so long. That what ever came my way in the form of obstacles or hardship when it came to this situation, I knew what I had to do. And I praised God, and I’m praising him still. Thank you, Jesus! Like I tell my boys during our nightly devotionals, God may not burn bushes, part seas, pour mannah from heaven, or raise people from the dead anymore — but he still talks to us. In all of our every days, he still talks to us. And I thanked Pastor Chad after his sermon for this truly ‘God thing’ for our family. It was one of the most necessary pieces to starting to work on my marriage and for true peace for this family.
God has us. He so has us. And it doesn’t matter if no one else understands, if they say the most awful things in the world about you to anyone and everyone who will listen — he knows us and has us. And he holds us. And he will protect us and keep us from evil. Even if that evil comes with a smile and looks like the sweetest sunshine to the rest of the world.
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:31-33
He is your shield. Keep listening. Keep leaning in. Keep walking with your Rock. He will arm you with strength, and he will keep working on your heart and growing your peace. He will give you discernment in all the webs of dishonesty that may try to tangle you. He will be your light. Keep your mind and heart on the things above, and hold fast. Hold fast. In his name and in his love — which is the widest and biggest and foreverest… ❤