Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that sometimes my emails disappear in cyberspace. I send someone an email and they claim they don’t receive it. I resend with the time stamp. On other occasions, people have promised to send some important information, and I never hear from them. Those moments have sometimes led to frustration and disappointment.
As a result, I check my spam folder every 1 to 2 days. I don’t want anything falling through the cracks. Occasionally, I’ll find an important email—but most the contents are junk.
Just recently, Leif was spending some time in the backend of our website adjusting some email settings when he discovered a junk file that he’d never noticed before associated with his email. He discovered more than 3,000 emails he’d never seen from the last three years. Many were junk, but some were notes from churches, friends, and family members. He remembered times when he’d grown frustrated because of nonresponsive emails—and now he found those emails.
“You have a file like this, too,” Leif said.
“How big is it?” I asked.
“Probably at least 5,000 emails,” Leif estimated. “But we won’t know until we download it on your computer.”
A few days later we discovered just how many emails I’d never received: 34,492.
Readers whose sweet, tender notes I’d never received.
Pertinent requests for prayer I’d never read.
Family updates I’d never known about.
Website visitors who struggled to place an order.
Some of the emails brought tears my eyes:
A close friend’s mother died. I offered to bring over a meal. I never heard back. Turns out she’d emailed me right back—asking for the meal. If only I’d known.
One of my best friends never bothered to wish me a happy birthday this year. To be honest, I felt hurt. Little did I know, she’d sent the kindest email on my birthday.
A pastor asked to meet with us. He never heard from us.
A ministry leader wanted to see us when we were in his area. I never answered.
With each discovery of one of these emails, I felt nauseous, as if punched in the gut while aboard a ship.
For the last few days, I’ve been sorting through thousands of emails—separating spam from real messages—and sending out apologies of all sizes and sorts. The process has reminded me of the importance of forgiveness. We aren’t just called to forgive but receive forgiveness and learn to walk in greater grace.
We all have hidden junk files in our lives. Areas where communication breaks down. Promises aren’t kept. Misunderstandings happen. The message doesn’t go through or disappears somewhere along the way.
And we have to rediscover the wonder of forgiveness. When we become wonderstruck by our own need for forgiveness, it’s much harder not to extend that forgiveness to others.
So I graciously ask you to forgive me for any messages that you’ve sent that I haven’t responded to—I’m deeply sorry.
*Photo courtesy of here
In Wonderstruck, Margaret invites you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck will help you:
- Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
- Discover peace in knowing you’re wildly loved
- Identify what’s holding you back in prayer
- Develop a renewed passion for God
- Celebrate the extraordinary moments in everyday life
Pre-Order a copy of Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God TODAY (releases Christmas Day) at amazon.com or margaretfeinberg.com.