I’m sharing two posts this week, the first is a reprint of something I wrote on Facebook awhile back. It dawned on me the other day that I had shared about my FSIL (former sister-in-law) in earlier posts but never shared an update. I had always hoped that we would someday be friends again and I certainly can’t speak for her but for me, I am grateful for the place that she now holds in my heart.
August 23, 2018
I had coffee with my FSIL (former sister-in-law) today. We had our annual “kids-are-back-in-school” hang-out. I say annual because it’s the second year. That counts, right?
Last year we were so nervous, so unsure of how the time would go. This year we settled in right away. Yes, we do see each other on occasion but it’s always in passing and never a deep connection. We have such a history together…we met when we were dating two brothers in the mid-90’s. We were engaged at the same time. Married just two months apart. And we made it to 30 (combined) years of marriage before tragedy struck and our marriages ended, albeit in slightly different ways.
My heart was full of thankfulness as we traded stories about the boys (she has three, I have two) and talked about life in Colorado. Sitting there I felt my heart swell with gratitude as I reflected on my journey to this time and place. I always wondered if (and dreamed of a time that) I would find myself laughing and enjoying time with her again. She represents so much to me…a dear friendship rekindled, the freedom that comes with forgiveness, and a deep healing in my soul.
In a moment of extreme vulnerability, I confessed a conversation to her that I have had with my counselor (Erin) the last few years. I don’t know how many times I have told Erin, “I just want my sister-in-law to know that I’m a decent person.” LOL, I can’t believe I’m even writing this but honesty, it’s something I have struggled with. Erin would always say, “We can’t control what other people think of us. All we can do is be ourselves and let our actions speak as to who we are.” And when I was hurting so badly, when I wanted to defend myself and respond out of my pain, Erin would gently remind me to respond with kindness. Always. No matter what. I didn’t realize it at the time but she had the faith to see me as a healthy person, and she was encouraging me to respond AS IF I was healthy. I literally hit the jackpot in the world of incredible therapists.
So today my FSIL and I got to remind each other of who we are. She has been through so much, and so have I. We have both endured much pain and heartache. But look at where we are now, two unlikely friends enjoying time together in a coffee shop. Precious moments that will always stick with me because they represent so much healing, so much growth.
I’m grateful for God’s redemption, grace and peace. Grateful that he heals our broken hearts. So grateful that he loves us beyond anything we can imagine and gives us the ability to love others the same (John 13:34). That is a gift only He can give.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.