And yesterday, as I was honest and vulnerable about this ugly story of my past, I was met with a comment from the girl who had uttered the "You're a Gong" words in the first place. Her words are just as honest and vulnerable as my own...and as I sit here today I feel like I should give you a glimpse into just what God can do when we get honest, push down the pride barriers and allow God to work through imperfect people.
If you haven't read my story you can do so here.
And here are her words in response:
Oh gosh... hot tears of my own are streaming down my cheeks, broken (shattered!) over the pride that bolstered those words coming out of my mouth. They were meant to hurt; meant to maintain the emotional "safety zone" that was rapidly diminishing between you (Paige) and myself. I'm so sorry, dear friend. However accurate the comparison was, it was not coming from a heart that had your best in mind.
How great is our God who can put two hearts together--an empty one and a wounded one--bring healing to them both, preserve unity, and foster a friendship? I owe Him a lot of thank-yous for that season alone.
Readers and hearers of the Gong Story must know that God would work in spite of us to bring about tremendous healing in my life through those meetings with Paige. As she remained faithful to meet each week, and as she surrendered herself more to His tender pursuits, He softened areas of my heart through her that were destined to remain hard and calloused otherwise. And He introduced the living, glorious reality of the Holy Spirit through Paige, too. That season that He gave us in spite of "gong-speech" and "proud-speech" is without a doubt an indelible milestone in my life story with Him.
Grateful to you both,
The Critical Girl All Grown Up
I don't share this to bolster either of us - believe me we both have our gong and pride tendencies that God continually and graciously exposes...but I share this because I know too many of us isolate ourselves from true friendship and honest words with others. Yes, those words can hurt at times - they can even shock at times, but when God brings someone into your life...you just might be surprised at how He wants to use that person to help shape and soften you.
Let's stop being people who only speak niceties and about the permissible topics like clothing, our children's habits, and the latest movie. Let's be real and loud in each others lives - and I believe a few years down the road you too may sit and marvel at a God who used that honesty and raw love in a profound way in your life.
Thank you, Courtney for being honest in return. I'm so very proud of the woman you are becoming! I love you, Paige.
|This is my friend, Courtney who uttered the infamous gong line...we became dear friends over the years even training and running a half-marathon together a few years ago.|