Dear Jackie: a letter to my husband’s ex-girlfriend

 

Dear Jackie,

We’ve never met and, if it weren’t for my new last name, we probably would have completed our time on this side of eternity without crossing paths.  Though you may be completely unaware of my existence, I am poignantly aware of yours.

You see, we have a special man in common.  His name is Tim Gardner, your boyfriend from college.  He got married recently and I’m the lucky gal.  If you were so inclined to offer congratulations, let me stop you.  I cannot in good conscience accept any type of well-wishes from you without apologizing.

I developed a deep resentment towards you from the moment I heard about you.  Though our relationships with Tim turned out differently, I have let bitterness grow in my heart because of the mere fact that you shared a relationship at all.

Since I am now intimately acquainted with what it’s like to date Tim, my mind focuses on the elements of that relationship we must’ve had in common.  You had two years to kiss, to say “I love you”, and to talk about marriage.

Everything in me wants to begrudge you those kisses, those sweet nothings, those dreams, but I cannot knowingly resent you for acting on natural instinct.  God designed us for relationship.  My resentment is unwarranted albeit still powerful.

Tim was my first boyfriend and I was selfishly irritated that God didn’t allow me to have the same gift.  I laid the blame from what I thought was unfair mostly on you.  Not only did was I being unfair with my blame, I was also exhibiting a deeply off-base view of how God operates.

Hence, my need to apologize.  Jesus’ words about coming before God with a clean heart continue to nag my mind.

You’ve heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder,” and whoever murders will be in danger of judgement.  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement…Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.  {Matthew 5:21-24}

I want to hang on tight to my envy and distaste.  I’ve used you as a scapegoat for my insecurities and fears.  I let my bitterness overshadow reality, blaming you for my own baggage.  None of this is useful or productive.  You don’t deserve my resentment.

I am sorry for disliking you for 16 months.  What precious time I have wasted in pursuit of nothing.  My heart aches for what could have been accomplished in both our marriages had I been praying for you instead of holding you in contempt.

Please forgive me my foolishness.

Sincerely,

Emily

      You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

Dear Jen Hatmaker {31 Days of Letters}

Dear Jen Hatmaker,

You are many things that I am not.  You are a fierce Texan, mother of five, and published author many times over.  I, on the other hand, am a loyal Californian living in Idaho, hoping to get past my one year anniversary without a little Gardner on the way, and only in my dreams have a published book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble.

Differences aside, we could (and should) be friends.  Within the first few pages of 7, I realized we were cut out of the same cloth, which just so happens to be a burlap coffee sack.  By the time I finished – and by finished, I  mean laughed, commiserated, and gave a hearty Amen! – the first chapter, I was doubly convinced that we would get along.  Coffee, ahem.. caffeine, is a pretty strong agent for community, wouldn’t you say?

Your reflections from Day 19 proved that I was not alone in the world.  You may not have every jot and tittle of your books on immediate recall, so permit me to quote you:

I escaped narrowly by chewing gum like a quitting smoker.  I should tell you that every time I’ve been in Sprouts, I’ve put my nose directly on the glass cases of bulk coffee beans and inhaled like a deranged weirdo. I mean, deeply inhaled.  For at least ten seconds.  Nose to the glass.  The only possible way I could act more disturbing is if I ground up some beans, made a line with a razor blade, and snorted it in the middle of aisle 9.

My gosh.  I think I have a problem.  A friend asked if I was quitting coffee after this month was up.  I told her I’d considered renouncing coffee exactly zero times, and if she ever brought up such foolishness again, I was going to quit her.

Yeah.  I definitely have a problem.

{page 34 from 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess}

I laughed right out loud when I read that, clutching my steaming cup of morning joe a little tighter so as not to splatter the pages of 7 with upset coffee.  Though, coffee splatters would have made the book smell good… Visual aids promote help retention, right?  I digress…

Besides celebrating our shared coffee addiction (and hoping we can be friends), I wanted to thank you for writing 7.  Some people find it a bit gimmicky, and to that I say, so what?  The fact that you got paid to eat seven foods or wear seven items of clothing doesn’t diminish what the Holy Spirit did in you and what He will do in people like me who get to journey with you because you wrote the book.

I love how you describe a fast not as restriction for restriction sake, but as reductions and limitations to create more space for God to move, stretch, and transform.  This journey of yours isn’t about numbers.  It’s about becoming maleable, letting God mold you into something that looks more like Him.

Thank you for being candid and just downright hilarious in the process.  If you’re ever in Northern Idaho, lets get coffee!

Sincerely,

Emily

PS to readers:

I really would like to be friends with Jen Hatmaker.  In the meantime, I enjoy reading her blog posts and books; both of which you can check devour on her website.

And, please put 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess on your reading list!

Keep up with 31 Days of Letters.

Writing tomorrow’s left me emotionally spent…

Day one: Dear #217