Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Christmas Gift of Godly Love. A personal testimony from Kelly.

I’ve not been home for nearly 5 months now, save the weekend we flew back to Warrenton, VA from France when I photographed a dear friend’s wedding. I left two days later to attend to my mother’s needs in Florida and I’ve been here for over 40 days now. I plan on coming home before Christmas. 

Can I tell you a Christmas gift I’d love to receive?

Side hugs -- from every dear male friend I love and who loves me. 

I became one of the #metoo women this past year. I was touched inappropriately by a man who called himself a Christian. 

I should have followed my instincts thoroughly by not only telling my husband about my gut feelings and about the subsequent actions of the perpetrator but also in believing in the promptings in the first place.  See, this man always held on to me too long during our hugs, sometimes pulling me just a tiny bit closer - the type of closer that is imperceptible to others unless they're watching for it but if it was noticed might be construed as an intimate act of good friendship. But I sloughed it all off, saying I was sure I was wrong, even as I began dialoguing with my husband -- partly because I didn’t want to believe a professed believer would or could purposely go beyond the uncomfortable realm of violating another person’s space to later violating their body. I never saw it coming.  He touched me when we were suddenly alone in a room together. I won’t go into details, but I will say I’m forever changed. I regret I can’t be jubilant and expressive as I’ve been in the past when meeting a male believer but perhaps this is wisdom God needed me to learn all along. 

John and I looked to these specific scriptures during our time of disbelief, fear, anger, and grief. 

Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matt 10:16)  

Vengeance is Mine. I will repay. (Deut 32:35, Romans 12:19)

Now, balance these with the fact that our God is merciful and compassionate toward whom He will be. He has definitely been so toward all who have truly repented. The mercy (and grace) shown to me over the course of not only my natural life but my Christian lifetime as well has been vast.  I believe now I must be the one to learn to extend it to others and leave God to be the judge. 

I was apologized to. You’d think it would be enough and someday it will be. Grief takes time to process, and our true healing always comes from God and His Word. 

But for now, for this holiday season, I’d like to let you know what a blessing a side hug can be - to both men and women. We might never know what we each have walked through, but we can be proactive with compassionate hearts without ever being told any of the details of the past.

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