October is when I came back to life. I know it from the pumpkin bread recipe hanging on my fridge by a magnet with notes scribbled about ingredients to swap. Try a quarter-cup of banana instead of an egg, pumpkin puree for a fall flavor. I wrote in the margins on a narrow notepad with the months labeled at the top, this one October, the month when I learned to eat and breathe and trust again. We moved on to November, December… but I ripped off the October recipe for safe keeping. (The creative bread got rave reviews.)
For a few months prior, the creativity of swapping ingredients, the effort of messy and precise baking, felt way beyond my strength and mental capacity. I found out that someone in my life had lied to me, in fact, had been carefully crafting a lie for months. I felt more broken than a brittle, crisp sugar cookie. Thin, translucent even, as if over flattened by a wooden roller, I carried around the heaviness of betrayal by someone who I trusted.
In all honesty, I spent many moments wishing this person would suffer the way they had made me suffer.
I did finally get to hear an apology uttered, a few small words about how the saying must be true that hurt people hurt people, words that I needed to hear to move on, to heal, to restore my life. But I know that’s not always the case for everyone. Not everyone gets to hear or see these words of apology, so please know that I understand the complexities can’t be brushed off like a dusting of loose flour.
And restoration of a relationship doesn’t look the same for everyone. For me, it looked like forgiveness marked by moving away from this person, finally feeling at peace with hoping they find joy in their own life.
Do you want to know what else? Forgiveness looked like finding restoration in my relationship with God who I felt real anger towards for some time. How could He have led me here to this pain of betrayal? Why did He bring this person into my life?
Forgiveness looked like finding the courage to trust again. Being brave enough to open my heart up to fall in love with a good, good man. Finding sunshine in October that brought me back to life.
This week on the Dig Deep Podcast, we discussed Genesis 46-50 when Joseph’s reunited with his brothers and he has to make some big forgiveness decisions. Ultimately, he offers them forgiveness, saying their debt is cancelled, knowing there is nothing they could do to pay him back for the years of suffering.
If I could be half the man (well, in woman form) that Joseph is, I’d take it. His courage and strength to know that God intended all those years of pain for good. He stands in bold confidence that God has woven the betrayal and brokenness into something beautiful. If we could all be so bold as to believe this truth.
There’s no sign of Joseph creatively baking pumpkin bread. But he does weep.
He passes out love to his brothers like loaves of sweet bread that they don’t deserve. If he had a fridge back then, I’m guessing this would have been a hanging something by a magnet type of moment, on display for all to remember.