Friday, October 16, 2015

An open letter to the men we thought we knew.

To the men we thought we knew,

This letter has been a long time in the making. But today, we say our peace. 

Today we speak from a heart no longer full of hatred and anger, but instead forgiveness and love.

Today, we begin with two simple words; thank you.

Never would we have imagined a time when the pain you caused could be appreciated. The strength to trudge through the heartache of  another day of you was believed impossible.  However, our strength surprised us and we survived. It was because of you we were pushed to the point of recognizing, we are strong!

For the extensive list of labels you gave us, to every demeaning email, sent text and phone call you made to those we knew, we thank you. 

From stalking and spying neighbors working to instill fear and leaving us peering over our shoulder, scared to leave home, we thank you.

For broken spirits which left us unrecognizable to those who truly knew and loved us,  to making us question our sanity and all we knew to be true, we thank you. 

For involving not only our friends, but family and church as you worked to alienate us, leaving us abandoned and betrayed, we thank you.

For spending tens of thousands of dollars on expensive attorneys instead of financially providing for our children, the innocent ones you promised to provide for, we thank you.  For caring more about winning a battle than demonstrating true character and integrity for our children, we thank you.

As you left us alienated while you surrounded yourself with those we once called friends and family, we finally understood the true meaning of love and friendship.  You helped us identify the pointlessness of shallow and toxic relationships as we finally recognized that a handful of friends are all we truly need.

You see, for what felt like forever, our hearts burned with rage so deep that the idea of extinguishing the flames seemed impossible. You left our world feeling dark and lonely as we withdrew deep within ourselves to the point of losing our sense of self.  We became shells of the women we once were believing we had no purpose and were beyond love.  Thank you for bringing us to this  breaking point. 

For all these things, we owe you our sincerest gratitude.  You brought the old cliché to life, because truly what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.  You brought God's word to life  as we saw verses in Genesis and Exodus come to life as we trusted God to fight our battle and reveal truth.

Even though you intended to harm me, God intended it only for good, and through me, He preserved the lives of countless people, as He is still doing today.

Genesis 50:20

The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence.

Exodus 14:14

Though we fought through a battle we were unprepared to fight, we have transformed into princess warriors who are stronger than we ever thought possible.

You left us frightened, cold and completely alone, longing and waiting to be rescued.  We were weighed down by the heaviness of all we endured and believed we would drown. But to our surprise,  we were rescued.

We were rescued by a love we never expected. A love unlike any other as Jesus picked up every broken piece you created and He not only restored those pieces but He reworked them into an amazingly beautiful masterpiece of His love and grace.

He came in and redeemed, rescued and restored all those things within us you tore apart.  He worked within our hearts to remind us of our true identity as He whispered, with gentleness and affirmation that we belonged to Him.

Through it all, we have changed.  We are now strong.   Because of you a passion has been reawakened. One that once burned deep within us that was forgotten.   You brought back that nine year old little girl who once ran through the yard with her toy gun and badge fighting for truth and justice.

Everything has changed. We no longer  see the world as “flesh to flesh and mess to mess” but instead “spirit to spirit.” We recognize that you are no different than us.  You too, just like us, with your flaws, sins and all, are loved by God. You too, just like us, deserve forgiveness and prayers and healing.  Understanding that truth, we now let go of the hatred, not just for you, but for all those who followed and supported you and today, we choose to love.

We are no longer the person you tirelessly spent working to destroy, we are stronger.  We are fighters.  We are proof that God makes beauty out of ashes.

We now love in a healthy way.  Our idea of trust has shifted and we no longer trust as we once did, but instead allow a select few within our walls.  We view the world from a totally new perspective, for you helped to open our eyes to true beauty, truth and loyalty. For each of these things, we say thank you!

We truly wish the best for you and will never forget this journey and the path  that led us to the hope and love that is Jesus.  And for it all, we again say thank you.

The women you thought you knew