She imagined serving tea to her friend in her tidy, cozy apartment with carefully swept floor and gleaming countertop. She would offer her friend a small square served on an elegant plate, laugh brightly and speak companionably, sharing her recent insights and offering a listening ear.
Now her friend sat across from her in an apartment reflecting the disorder of her own mind. Articles of clothing were strewn about and a small, pathetic assortment of unwrapped presents scattered on her couch. The kitchen countertop was cluttered with dishes and the table top was scattered with papers. She poured the tea shakily and then she told her friend painful, secret things, things she hadn't even admitted to herself. She wept and was ashamed, but she knew that this was herself as she truly was, the real person, more than the brave face she showed to the rest of the world.
And she knew that she was broken, and that she needed God. Suddenly she saw she had spoken about the will of God, more than she had sought it. That she had spoken about God, more than she had spoken to him. And that perhaps she had more in common with Job's friends than she had ever suspected. And she saw that she had searched for a dream, something big that everyone could recognize as great, some grand purpose that could swallow up all her pain. She saw she had misinterpreted, missed the mark, that she had wanted some guarantee from God of a bright, shining future. She realized this desire was the opposite of faith. She realized now what God did promise, and what he did not promise. She saw she needed to serve God now, not after he met her demands, that she needed to worship him even if healing never came in the way she wanted. She saw she needed to entrust him with her life, to offer him her wounded heart.
And in the midst of the overthrow of pretensions and the laying bare, in the turmoil of the collapse of her carefully contructed cardboard castles, she knew one thing could not be shaken, but stood firm. And this knowledge was enough. She knew God had never changed, and that he loved her as she was now. And as the lies, false assumptions, and half truths fled, the truth gradually came flooding in. By looking back she could see the choices she had made, the sin that had enslaved her. And she knew how it had happened, how her life had hovered on the brink of destruction. She saw the strategy that had kept her in bondage so long, a willing prisoner to fear and anger, sin and shame; she saw the wasted years of her life, when she hadn't lived at all, when she had been a shell of who she was created to be. And she knew that the truth would set her free, that she was forgiven and that beyond this bleak winter was the promise of a new spring when her fragile hope would again blossom and her shattered strength be renewed.