I've written some about our church conflict, and sometimes an interesting development comes up that would be good to share, but then I run out of time OR it goes downhill again and I can't find the words anymore.
I will share eventually about the "dating" side of this period, but unfortunately right now we are still seeing relationships break down.
We have to say goodbye to being in close fellowship with a lot of long-time friends.
-they were my family for years when I was alone in a foreign country
-they walked with me through numerous trials
-they rooted for us when we were planning to marry
-they organized and witnessed our wedding
-they saw us become parents for the first time
Part of me doesn't even want to look at the wedding photos, or birthday cards from over the years, various gifts in my possession that came from these friends. Breaking up does that to you, right? You just want to erase the memories? I look at our different personalities and wonder what on earth held us together in the first place. Surely our friendships had the wrong foundations if they could disintegrate at the first sign of conflict.
But no, I will not say that any of it was a mistake. God was glorified. Early on, when I felt like an oddity in a local Russian church, I knew that it was God's doing, not only to form friendships, but also to have awkward moments, so that we could all work through the differences and grow spiritually. That is always something that I remind myself whenever other people rub me the wrong way, or vice versa.
A lot of departing members of our church had actually been together at another church in the past, left because of serious issues that arose, and eventually found each other again and served in our church together. However, in this case, Andrei is the leader whom some do not want to follow, so it feels like bridges are being burned and no one else is in our exact position. God can always work miracles and restore broken relationships, but at the same time we have to move on.
Forging new friendships feels like a daunting task. I remember being in this place when I had just moved to Russia! Even though it feels like a bad time to be in this position, on the other hand, my kids are little and we have only been married 7 years. There are lots of adventures yet to come. It can be a beginning, not an end.