Archives for category: forgivness

Recently I found out a member of my earthly family had a medical issue. So, my heart encouraged me to sen a small note of encouragement if you will. Granted this person had sent me a text on Christmas morning 2014 and told me to never contact her again, but please, I wanted her to know if she died, I at least cared and would pray.

That’s who I am ~ I love you even when you show me hate.

And speaking of communication, why is it so hard for people to ask you what’s on your heart? What’s in your mind? I went through a period of time where I didn’t talk too much I kept a lot of things bottled up inside, and then I started talking (in therapy) about life, decisions, experiences, expectations and now, at times you can’t shut me up. When I joined the Table Group I now co-lead last January, I talked even more because these people were Christian and listened and gave advice and lead me to scripture that helped heal…

I find it funny people I am acquainted with call others to find out what I’m doing, how I’m feeling or what’s going on in my life. Did I suddenly start speaking a foreign language when we talk? I also love how you tell someone something about you and they have to “check up” on you to verify the information. Really? Why ask me about my life then – go find your own “expert” on my life? But remember, you shut down communication, not me.

And speaking of communication, how many does it take to communicate? I always believed two. I talk, you listen, you talk, I listen – funny how it works that way, huh? I find if I don’t understand something I ask or repeat back to you. Is this “old fashioned”? Outdated?

I also have a hard time when communication is handled like this “you tell me about your life I will verify with my sources to make sure what you feel about your life and what’s going on in your life is correct.” I recently had a “friend” who called and stated “since my rich new husband paid off my car, where is her money for this, that or something else”. Well actually, my car isn’t paid off, it’s refinanced and would you like a copy of those papers? No, you don’t want a copy of the papers? You don’t want to speak to my husband? Why not? Afraid to hear the truth? Well, then don’t accuse me of something you know nothing about.

I also recently had a friend who told me I need to let my parents treat me however they want and talk to me however they want because they are old. Did you also call them and tell them to accept me for me and see how my life has changed? No? Then don’t ask me to do something you haven’t asked them to do.

I get told a lot I need to call my parents and ask them questions. Yeah, I tried that. I found they didn’t want to be honest and open, and I cannot deal with secrets anymore. Too many secrets for too long. Now that I’ve been revealed and God has had my life laid at His feet, forgiven me, renewed me, I have no desire to “hide”.

All this leads me to thinking about past decisions I have made and what do I regret? I don’t know if regret is really the right word, there are certainly decisions I would change that could change the course of my current situation. Like, I wouldn’t have married the second time. There were certainly red flags everywhere, but I ignored them in search of something I didn’t quite understand myself. I would move to the town my daughter graduated from high school, but I wouldn’t have bought a house…renting would be good enough. I would still get my two dogs, and my daughter’s cat, but that would be it. I definitely wouldn’t have asked anyone to move in with us to help share expenses and life ~ that decision right there could change how my life is now.

There are so many issues, decisions and regrets my heart has healed from and it would be wonderful to tell my story to my family and have them hear how God has completely changed my life. I would share what I’ve learned from the Bible and how that opened my eyes to things I never knew. Of course, I gave them the book that changed my life and my mom told me she doesn’t like to read. If my dad read it, I would never know. He obviously doesn’t have the ability to dial a telephone or write a note and let me know. How said is that?

If I could communicate with some, I would share how my daughter walking out of my life changed my heart and opened my eyes to even more things I wasn’t seeing clearly. I would share how the church’s Freeway series showed me I was worth God’s love, mercy and grace – something I never felt or understood before. But, you can’t communicate with people who want to keep you in the past and who don’t want to hear how your life and heart has changed, what God did for you, and how you plan to move forward with your life. You just can’t.

And to me, it’s funny how these same people want to tell you how people in their own lives or churches have been changed through the power of prayer and/or God, but don’t want to hear about how their own family members have been changed. What’s with that? I would think the people you’d be most happy about having a significant life change and “AHA” God moments are your family!

You also cannot communicate with people who only want to determine what your life is about by talking to other people about your life. Whenever I want to know something, I go straight to that person and say, “Hey, how’s it going”, “what’s going on with you?” Doesn’t seem that hard does it?

Or, like with my earthy father’s best friend died and I sent a note saying, “I heard about your friend, sorry for you loss, hope you can keep his memory alive by making the crosses and boxes”, just like the family member who is having a heart procedure soon and I sent her a note stating “I was very sorry to hear about your recent health issues – I’m sure it’s been a little scary…my husband, in-laws and I will be praying for you and your recovery. From what I understand it should only be about a week to ten days before you’re up and running again! Good luck! Thoughts and prayers!!”

That was almost two weeks ago, and still no reply from that either – and people still want to tell me how I should handle everyone and that I should keep doing more and more and more and keep putting myself out there to be rejected and stomped on – I’m thinking God doesn’t want me to continue to be beat down – at least that’s what the New International Version of the Bible I read says… I come back to my all time favorite verses:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

ROMANS 5:1-11 NIV

So, my heart has taken a few twists and turns over the past year, and all for the good. All for the better and in so many ways, it has healed, but it’s still cracked from not having my child in my life and I am discovering it is a wound that will never heal. I’m glad my parents can be without me and not reach out, not send a note, a card, make a phone call and their hearts are fine – I have a hard time believing those people who say they miss me because their actions definitely say another, I’m glad my sister can not talk to me and her heart is great! I’m glad certain “friends” can find peace in talking to ex-friends and neighbors about my life and gossip about me, and they find comfort in their “truth”.

In the healing of hearts, I find myself amazed at people who tell me I’m doing great, I’ve come a long way, I have held my own during the darkest time of my life. And when asked what I wish my family would do, I find myself coming back again and again and again to the story of the prodigal son. Specifically, I was asked recently what will I say to Olivia if she ever calls – my answer was simple, the same thing I wish my parents would have said to me, the same thing the father of the Prodigal Son said to him, the same thing I know my Father in heaven says to me on a daily basis:

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Luke 15:20-24

This father didn’t say “let me tell you every way you hurt me” he didn’t say “do you know what you put me through?” He didn’t say “do you know how wrong you were!” He opened his arms, hugged his child and said “welcome home”.

It’s funny how God does close doors of communication, but opens ones of full honesty, disclosure and acceptance. And, its amazing how this heals your life. I’m living proof. That seems to be my theme song “I’m living proof” and I am. I am proof a person can be so broken and God heals. I’m living proof that you can be scared and shamed by things in your life and God heals. I’m living proof when you surrond yourself with people who truly walk with Christ, you are enveloped in mercy and grace.

Yes, I am living proof of abuse, shame, bad decisions (a lot of good ones too!), trying hard to live as Christ would want you too and never quite getting it right. I’m so glad Christ came to walk amoung the sick, the wounded, the sinful – if he only came to walk with the just, healthy and righteous where would any of us be?

So, I do daily checks on my heart ~ is there anything I need to evaluate, anyone I need to talk too? I think about how I communicate and wonder have I left any stone unturned? Does my daughter know how I feel? Have I made myself clear to her that I love her and expect nothing from her? How many unanswered emails do I have to send before I give up? Have I fully rested, reflected, repented and done my best to reconcile? Do I feel the need to constantly put myself in the path of those who don’t love as Christ loves and to be berated, belittled and be the only one who takes responsility for actions? Is the weight of the entire world and every mistake ever made in every relationship my fault?

Those are heavy questions – and, for the longest time, I would answer “YES” to all of them. Now that I know Christ, and what He asks us each to do, I can say,

-Yes there are people I need to speak too (Olivia, Nick???)
-No I haven’t left any stone unturned. I will keep turning stones until Olivia is back.
-Yes, Olivia should have a clear picture of the fact that I just want a relationship with her, I expect nothing, and that I am sorry for WHATEVER I have done to cause her heart to hate.
-I’ll send a gazillon emails before I give up.
-Yes, I have done the Four R’s.
-No I do not feel the need to put myself in the path of anyone who feels the need to berate, belittle and not take responsibility for their actions.
-No, the weight of the world and every mistake ever made is certainly not my fault.

It took a long time to realize these things and to come with terms with the fact that I am loved so dearly and deeply by God. It took a shorter amount of time to realize when you surround yourself with those who walk with Christ, you’ll be able to accept the love and grace showered upon you ~ God gave me a great gift when my heart opened and I heard the truth spoken and I saw the love coming down.

So, I’ll leave you with these thoughts…

Check your heart – how’s it beating? Is there someone you need to call? Someone you need to write? Someone you need to talk to because you’ve only listened to gossip? Someone you’ve gossiped about that you may need to apologize too? Someone you may have spoken harshly too and maybe you should ask forgiveness of? Hebrews 8:12 says: For I will forgive their wickedness and I will remember their sins no more.

Do a heart check people. Forgive, make that call. It may change the life of someone else, but better yet, it may change yours…

“In our own case, we accept excuses far too easily, in other people’s, we do not accept them enough. As regards my own sins, it is a safe bet that the excuses are not really so good as I think; as regards other men’s sins, it is a safe bet, that the excuses are better than I think…to excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the excusable in you.” C.S. Lewis.

What a beautiful quote I read tonight as I was doing my D.C. homework. Funny, I’ve had trouble writing lately because I’ve had too many thoughts wrapping around my brain – mainly because I’m fighting Satan at every angle of my life. I do not want to go back to my old life, and one tiny slip will spin me spiraling out of control into the dark again. I’ve had trouble writing too because I keep thinking about a text I received from – what I thought – was one of my best friends and someone I loved dearly, although she recently told me I did not love her – I guess because I chose a different path than what even I expected. Her text read “you are right, I do not know you. The person I know is gone. Very sad.”

Really? You prefer the broken me over the newly healed me? You prefer the person who would let everyone walk all over her and not give her any respect? You prefer the person who was sad all the time? You prefer the person who strove for perfection at all times, yet received no thanks, no praise, no recognition? You prefer the person who was spiraling down to a depression no one could save her from?

This same “friend” then went on to tell me how I had lied to her, to my therapist and yet doesn’t want to be put into the same category as my earthly family who also doesn’t see the new me, the free me, the saved me!

I’ve shown several people who know my story the text about the old me being gone and they all say the same thing “hallelujah”! Yes, my therapist may have just been – as my earthly mom pointed out – a licensed clinical social worker – but she helped saved me. Weekly visits followed by biweekly visits – finally ending in “hey, Teresa, you got this, you are where you are supposed to be, you can keep coming here, but I really have nothing else to offer” – What? I’m cured? Why, how can you say that? She could say that because I did the work, I did the homework, I did the resting, reflecting and repenting! Not only was I seeing her, but I was meeting twice a week with my Christian family who drove me towards God’s word so I could see that I was worth something to my Lord and Savior. He sees me. He knows my worth, more importantly, He knows my name!

I also recently saw a Facebook post that read “Never run back to what broke you” Toby Mac…

Never run back to what broke you…hmmm…to me that explains a lot. I’ve spent 46 almost 47 years running back to what broke me. I’ve tried to live up to everyone’s expectations and not given too much thought as to what God thought of me, or what I even think of me. Last March it hit so hard and in April even harder, and in May when I decided to give my life to Christ, it wasn’t a whim, or just a “oh hey, let’s try this for a while” it was a “I’m all in this and need to do better and need to really focus on the one man who gave HIS one and ONLY Son for my undying, undivided, 100% attentive love!”

Being accused of lying, cheating, no fully disclosing who I am to people and being accused of having mental instability, bipolar disorder, multiple personality disorder, hearing my earthly parents say to my therapist “do you know what we’ve been through with this one?” Really? Do these same people know what God has gone through waiting for us? What we have done to disrespect God? To run from Him and try to live on our own? To try to prove to GOD that “I got this, I don’t need you?” It’s okay, go ahead and view me as you want. I know the truth, God certainly knows the truth, and if you opened you eyes, listened, saw, heard, watched me, you’d see too…

So, yes, in the past, I have accepted excuses for what I have done too easily, I’ve been too hard on others and not accepted their excuses for what I believed has wronged me and I have forgiven because Christ forgave me. But that does not mean I’ll go running back to what broke me. No way, no how. I see me FINALLY for what God sees. And that’s a very valuable, lovable, grace-filled creation. I am worthy – and I will not be broken – not again. Not as long as God is with me and I plan to remain in Him forever.

Romans 5:1-5

“Seems like all I could see was the struggle, haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures, wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son, stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

All my life I have been called unworthy, named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”, I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me, ‘cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same, and a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free, so I’ll shake off these heavy chains, wipe away every stain, yeah, I’m not who I used to be, Oh, God, I’m not who I used to be, Jesus, I’m not who I used to be, ‘cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed.”

Okay, so I broke down on Sunday, December 27, 2015, I cried for about an hour, maybe longer, I’m not sure, I remember hearing the 3:45 bell chime, and the 4:00 bell chime and I don’t really remember anything else until the 5:00 bell chimed.  Sunday, resulted in many an anniversary date and what more could I do, but give in and let go.  As I cried, I was filled with emotions from shame, regret, failure, being unworthy, sadness…I listened to the words of the one with me, and kept repeating what was being said  “God is here, I am here” and I wondered, if God was really here, why was my heart hurting so bad?

These feelings subsided and I was able to fix dinner, and I turned on a few of my favorite songs, “Held” by Natalie Grant followed by “Cry Out to Jesus” by Third Day.  Then, I broke down again and asked for an out loud prayer.  Nothing like hearing someone pray out loud for you – and to not only hear the words but feel the words in your heart.

I went home, went to bed and spent mostly a prayerful night, listening to my heart and God’s promises…it’s funny how one event can bring a rush of emotions back…it’s time to let go of them all, however, because I am redeemed.  I am not who I once was, and I don’t want to be who I once was.  I don’t want to live in shame, regret, and feelings of being unlovable and unworthy.  Monday morning I was met with a sermon about “The Bible is the only Truth” by Dave Stone and several songs came on the radio which brought peace to my heart.  I did pick up my head and told the devil to get out of my head.  He has no room in my head, my heart, my home.  He has no room in my life.  He has no space to fill.  He is not good, he is not worthy of MY time.  I will not allow – no wait – God will not allow anyone, anything, to fill the space in my heart or head with negativity, shame, regret or let me be drug into the past.  I am not my past, I am not defined by my past, and I can have hope for a brighter future.

I’ve learned we bind ourselves by our pasts – God doesn’t.

I’ve learned we let the devil in – God doesn’t.

I’ve learned we don’t allow forgiveness in – God doesn’t.

I’ve learned I am my own worst enemy – God isn’t.

I’m looking forward to 2016 – a whole new journey is waiting for me, and I’m ready to embrace it all.

 

“To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” ~ George Mueller

What a great quote for this weekend. Yes, I have seen many trials and I have learned FAITH can see you through any storm. This weekend marks the one year anniversary since my daughter “left home”. I have no idea really how to word it – did she run away?  Did she leave for a reason?  I know she got mad and instead of choosing to talk about it, and be open and honest with me, she left. Has she spoken to me yet?  No, but I did get one email in 12 months…wow, I’m enlightened ( not!! )  In turn, my entire family turned their back on me instead of talking…what I have learned however, is maybe this was all for the best. I have learned I tended to surround myself with toxic relationships. No one but my daughter and I are to blame for her leaving, although there were certain factors about my life I could have changed to prevent this all from happening… When my parents and I went to counseling a few months ago and my mom said “do you have any idea what we’ve been through with her” to my therapist it hit me – sometimes parents have issues they haven’t dealt with and even though you say you are a Christian and go to church, sometimes, you are not a true follower of Christ, therefore, you can’t let go of your own past hurts and those demons will soon consume you. I let my demons consume me for many years, and at times, they still creep in and if I let them, take over my head, sometimes an entire day…but I will not allow them to define me. I am worth so much more to my Father in heaven, then any earthly being could ever understand. I am not going to let anyone who doesn’t understand this new found worth destroy me…because it has certainly been used against me in the recent weeks. My happiness and peaceful heart isn’t out of the need to “rid” myself of bad things, it’s been used to truly find out who I am, who I want to be, and who I put my trust, who sees me for me and not what they want me to be. I used to always put my trust in earthly beings and felt if I was just “this much more good” or “this thin” or “this way” or “did this to please others” I would be happy. After Olivia left and my family distanced themselves and wouldn’t speak to me and I found myself (with the exception of a few moments where people were “there”) praying more, listening deeper to Christian songs, looking up the verses in the Bible where the songs came from and finding a deeper meaning to my hurt. I found that yes, I had been through some pretty traumatic events in my life, but I was still standing and reason is because GOD had me. And God continues to carry me. Yes, I am happier now at this moment than I believe I’ve ever been in my life. And even through this weekend was met with four bouts of crying, and reaching out to those who have truly walked along side me during this past year. The emails or texts back were full of encouragement, hope and verses from the Bible I have read several times, but continue to speak to my heart. Now, is it a good thing – and am I happy – that my daughter and I are separated and even though I continually reach out she chooses to ignore? NO, it’s a very sad, hurtful thing, but when she comes back will I say to her or anyone in the room “do you know what I have been through with her?” NO, I will simply wrap my arms around her and welcome her back into the place of my heart she belongs. Will I ever blame her for leaving and for the hurt she put me through? No, because if she is anything like me, she already knows what she has done has been extremely painful and it’s not my place to make her feel worse, it’s my place to make her feel loved. It’s what several people have done for me – no judging, no blaming, no condemnation, no words of making her feel worse for the wear, just love. It’s what we are all called to do…rest, reflect, repent, reconcile. I understand I played a part in her leaving, I understand I did things that hurt her, I understand I was not, and am not, and never will be a perfect mother. But am I forgiven by God, am I granted grace by God? Yes. It’s just too bad earthy being don’t fully grasp the grace God has given us. I think if we all understood this, the world would be a much happier place. Is it easy to extend grace? Not always…it’s it healthy for us to do? YES. And for those, who throw my “happiness” in my face and continue to repeat hurtful comments to me, you do have a place in my heart, you do have a place in my life, but you have to come to chapter of the book I am in to fully understand my life now. You are not some distant memory, you are not forgotten, but I cannot and will not continue to live my life in the past. I need my future, and my future will be one of hope, faith, encouragement, no judgment, no condemnation, and the extension of true grace. This is something that cannot be explained, it has to be experienced and I’m telling you, when you walk through the fire and know that God has you, you’ll understand… As for me, I’ll continue to remain hopeful, my daughter will be experience this same “AHA” moment I had earlier this spring/summer, and that she’ll see me as a parent, who though made mistakes, loves her child with all her heart, and I’ll continue to walk in faith, I will continue to pray for hearts to soften and for people to see me through the eyes of Christ and not their own eyes. For it’s only when we see people through Christ’s eyes we can fully extend forgiveness, grace and walk there with…I’ll make it through today, for I’m holding strong to faith that endures…Romans 5:1-5.

Last night I was able to attend a Women’s Christmas Tea at church the men served us all dressed in black pants and white shirts and it’s the first time in a long time this lady had someone waiting on her.  I ate before I went however since the Celiac disease keeps me from really participating in meals…but the atmosphere and the conversation before hand was great.  My new friend from DC and I sat together and her husband was working different tables, but as we sat and watched, she told me a little about her insecurities when they first met and how her story effects her relationships now.  Which was very sweet because I am currently struggling with knowing I am loved…maybe I should say, I am worthy of love…it’s a daily struggle for me, and I remind myself constantly, I am worthy…

I then had an opportunity to explore the relationships I’ve had in the past and talked to her about how if people are really nice to me, I have a problem because I don’t know nice for the sake of nice…I look at good people in my life and wonder “why did God place them here, what do they want and when will they leave”…she asked me “why wouldn’t He?”  We then talked about self worth and how differently we look at things because of our past…I’m used to abuse and negativity, so positive affirmations seem quite odd to me for the moment, then I got to thinking about this song, one of my other friends loves “He knows my name” by Francesca Battistelli, then it hit me!  DUH, why am I not allowing myself the good?  My normal isn’t good, that’s why…but over the past few months I’ve worked really hard to change my normal, so why not keep embracing it?  I lose sight of all the good when I let my past creep into my present and if I keep doing that I’ll ruin my future.

Another DC friend answered my very long email and suggested that by ignoring my family and choosing to be silent, I am actually allowing myself to heal even more and to keep forgiving and keeping the anger that may creep in at bay.  That’s being more Christian and helpful then allowing myself to keep begging for the kind of relationship I long for with them they are not capable of at the time.

I had to let this simmer for a bit, and took myself for a pedicure and manicure…read a little bit of the Bible (I always go to Romans for comfort) and thought about my friend asking me if I wanted her to stand with me when the speaker last night called for those with broken relationships to stand…I truly didn’t want to stand, but her encouragement and smile said “it’s all going to be okay – I am here with you”…and she was right, standing and showing the room full of other women that I too have a broken heart, a broken relationship, a heart that is healing and resting in the arms of our Savior, well, it was another step towards healing.

I’ve handled so much of my life on my own because it was “too much trouble” for anyone to lock arms, or “I have no clue what you’re going through” so I’m just going to “remove myself from this problem and ignore it and not mention it and it will somehow go away”…well, that doesn’t happen.  All that does is build resentment toward people and makes you feel like people don’t really care about what you’re going through.

For those I’ve ever done that too, I’m sorry.  I truly care about your problems and your sadness so please forgive me my trespass…

Then on the way to my favorite coffee shop with one of my favorite people EVER, I saw my daughter’s BFF – or who used to be her BFF, I have no idea if they are still friends or not and I have to tell you, she did not look so good, and it was an awkward conversation, I’m sure she was thinking (after all I’ve HEARD my daughter has supposed said) why is this crazy lady talking to me…but I embraced it and hopefully she has told my daughter I saw her and I looked happy…because I am…

and I’m totally getting off track here too…ooppss!!

So then the speaking started talking about our story…who is the author, what’s the beginning, who are the characters, how does it end?  My story begins and ends with Jesus…He created me, He perfected me, He saw the strength He would instill in me to survive child abuse, abusive marriages, my daughter running away…He gave me the brain to think about what’s right and wrong and what steps I need to take to make life better…He has given me the hope if I remain in Him and He remains in me I can conquer any giant that comes my way…and I am ready to do so…so I’m definitely letting go, AGAIN, of past mistakes and negativity in my head and I know it’ll be a daily fight until the negativity is gone and all the positive thinking is back..I’m going to remember I am a child of His and He has me…and I’ll call on my friends and family in Christ and remember they are the Hands of God, and they will lift me up, because on my own, it’s not enough…but I know they’ll have the words of wisdom and hugs and love that I need when I need it most…they are part of my story, they are the characters…my ending isn’t near yet, but I’ll keep you posted on the middle…it’s going to be great!!!

Romans 5:1-5….

As I sit to write tonight, I have no title.  I really have no words to even explain what’s in my heart, so I am going to shoot from the hip here…so bear with me…I have been trying to rebuild a relationship with my parents and thought we were making progress, but then, this past Tuesday, I received a call, from a friend, whose friend called her to let her know a small incident that happened at the hair salon.  Seems my mom was getting her  hair done the same time as my friend’s friend, who obviously knew that was my mom because she knew of her.  Seems my mom was speaking ill of me and stating what a horrible person I was…in public, with other people around…at a hair salon.  I guess the lady who does my friend’s friend’s hair, knew more about me and my life then she cared to know.  This happened less than 2 weeks ago.  How can that be?

Then I got to thinking about my friend who called me to tell me all this and the love I have in my heart for her.  She would never lie to me, she would  never intentionally do a thing to hurt me.  Yet, when I asked for things to change in our relationship, she could not love me enough to do so.

Which brought me to thinking about my family again.  How can you call yourself a Christian, and say to my face you love me, yet turn your back against me.

Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion, humans are incapable of real love.  Not if you are not IN Christ at all times.  It’s something I’ve learned over the past year – to truly love, to truly forgive, to truly BE you have to have Christ in your life.  Now, I’m not saying, I’m always this perfect person, but I’ve been completely honest with my feelings on a lot of issues, how I feel about certain things, and what I am capable of as a human.

I’ve told my parents I want the past in the past and I want us all to move forward in Christ, they say that’s what they want too, yet less than two weeks ago they are at a hair salon talking about how horrible I am?  What’s with that?  My friend was even upset because she doesn’t believe the feelings I had at a time in the past for her were real and true.  I just said them to say them?  No, I meant every word of them, but like my relationship with my parents, my life has changed drastically in a years time.  I’ve grown, I’ve changed.  I’ve realized what’s holding me together 24/7. I have to respect that…and more than any human, it’s been God holding me together.  It’s been prayer.  It’s been a true reflection on God and all HE has done for me to get me HERE.  And as I thought about all this and how hard it is to explain to people, I decided to take time and do the four R’s.

What are the four R’s?  Its what my daughter’s college age pastor told me to when she left…rest, reflect, repent and reconcile.  Here’s what I’ve learned about that…I can rest and think about all I’ve done wrong, and I can beat myself up for it, and I can be sad, think horrible things about myself.  I can say I’m sorry for all the hurts I’ve caused and then I can try to reconcile relationships.  Which is what I’ve been trying to do for almost an entire year now!  What I’ve learned about reconciliation is it cannot happen unless BOTH parties in a relationship are willing to admit hurts, apologize for them, and get out of the hurt and move forward. So I spent a few hours crying and beating myself up for all the hurt again, and thought about what I’ve even done over the past 8 weeks and did what every person does in times of need…I emailed my DC Chicks and asked for prayer…what I got in return was prayer, phone calls, cyber hugs, and reassurance I am okay – I am on the right path – I am learning to let my heart beat again, I am saying good bye to where I’ve been, I’m looking at my shattered life that’s in about 1000 pieces on the floor, I’ve been on my knees again asking God to give me the strength to give up my family, my loves, my hurts, to help me realize I don’t live in the past, I live in the NOW – I have a future, I have plans, I have to take one step at a time out of darkness – putting “band aides” on my scars yet looking at them and appreciating them for what they are…failures, where I’ve used to be – and that was not a good place, it was a place where I lived for everyone else and didn’t do a very good job of it, it was where I was dishonest with myself and tried to be what everyone else wanted and wasn’t true to me.  It was living but not breathing…it’s hard to explain this to anyone who doesn’t realize the childhood I had, the marriages I’ve survived, the deep pain that existed in my heart.  Yesterday is a closed door and I do not live there anymore, and I have to remember first and foremost I’m God’s child – He loves me, this is the season He decided to give His ONLY SON to have a relationship with me.  To have me in His love and embrace.  My heart is beating…but every now and again, I get pulled into yesterday and want to live in the hurt – but I have to say good bye to the hurt.  When you hurt, you hurt others, and I don’t want to be the person who hurts others…I don’t want to be the one who doesn’t let others live to their full potential and get all the wonderful things in life they deserve.  So not only do I want my heart to breathe, I want theirs to breathe too…and I think sometimes that means you give up what you love, because by loving it, you cause it more pain.  Maybe this makes sense, maybe it doesn’t.

So sometimes, when I let myself open doors I should leave closed, I live in the hurt, I see the pieces on the floor, and realize I’m shattered and I’ve shattered others…I realize I can’t put anyone else together unless I put myself together first.  And I’m doing that.  I’m leaving darkness and I’m reaching for the Son…and for those I’ve hurt, for those who I’ve shattered, for those who can’t see my heart today, I am sorry, I hope you heal, I hope you find your peace, I hope you know my heart beats a little for you every day with hope, faith and longing for a time of reconciliation and healing…I hope someday your heart will also beat again…and I guess that’s what this title should be…heartbeats….

Romans 5:1-5

 

Here we are, another year has come and gone, and even during the midst of a great stormy year, I have abundant blessings…had you asked me a year ago, if my life would change this much, I would have sad no, and would have said I was perfectly happy in my current state, but Olivia leaving and pushing me closer to God and out of my comfort zone has been the greatest blessing of all.  I found my voice, my heart, my purpose, and my life over the past year and for that, I am very thankful.

I have joined two groups at church and grew more in the past year than I have in the 47 years God has given me on this earth.  I am happier, have the ability to be more open and honest with my self and others, and have learned to lay all my secrets, shame, despair, and joy at the foot of the cross and move forward with life.

I have said goodbye to past hurts, let go of what I cannot change, and learned I am worthy of much more respect, compassion and love than I have ever let in and I am thoroughly ready to experience it full force.

I have talked about my first ex husband, abuse I suffered as a child, and learned others have walked the same path.  The stories may be different, but the outcome is the same – feelings of being unworthy and shamed – feelings of letting your spouse, your family and more important, God down.  I have learned there are other women and men out there who have suffered at the hands of loved ones, strangers, and the greatest enemy of all – ourselves.

I have learned it’s okay to have a prodigal child.  We are not given a handbook at the birth of our children and told how to deal with every situation in the perfect manner so as to not hurt our children with baggage from our pasts, and stressful situations we find ourselves in.  This knowledge, has helped me forgive my own parents for what I feel are their “mistakes” and move forward to only want to love them and spend whatever time they have on earth enjoying their presence if I can.

I have learned I do not have to stay in relationships that are “stuck” in what was and what could be – and be the only person working towards a goal of good communication, respect and commitment to a better future.

I have learned it is okay to stand up for myself and state what I do and do not like about my life.  I am within my rights as a human being to have my own opinions, thoughts, and wishes for my life.  I do not have to live for everyone else, I can live for me.

I have learned it’s okay to be a “Jesus freak” as I have recently been called.  He carried me through this past year and never left my side.  He spoke to me through friends and family and told me “I have you” and when I asked, He gave me answers to some of life’s toughest questions and gave me the strength to deal with the pain, the tears, and reconciled my heart to know “it’s okay to not be okay” at times.

I have learned when you are walking with those who truly love you, your pain becomes their pain, and in times of deepest sorrow, your pain is carried – by them – and when you are healing – you are able to help carry the pain of others.

I have learned there are people who will stick up for you when you are attacked and will fight for your dignity and honor.

I have learned sometimes people truly are put in your life for a season and it’s okay to let them go when the season has ended, wish them well, pray for their happiness and know you served a purpose for them too.

I have learned God doesn’t promise us life will be easy, He promises us when everything around us is falling, we are held.

I have been blessed, as I stated earlier, with several new friends and am enjoying celebrating their blessings – new babies, IVF treatments, job successes, pregnancies – the list is long and joyous.

I have been blessed with love – love from people I never imagined possible.  Love from the past, love with hope for a wonderful future, love with no conditions, no boundaries, no expectations or limitations, full of respect, compassion  – love as Christ intended love to be…

So as I face this thanksgiving season without my daughter, I have a lot to be thankful for – and I am so humbled and overwhelmed.  I will miss her face, her hugs and will miss watching Christmas Vacation after eating our Thanksgiving meal, but that is short-term – if I look to my blessings, I have a wonderful employer and his wife (my friend) who I will be spending the day with, I have love in my heart, I have a new house waiting for me to make it my home, I have friends who love me for me, and see Him in me, I have two dogs who touch my heart with their wagging tails, does the list end?  No, because in Christ  I have a brand new life waiting for me to embrace it – and I couldn’t be happier to have a peaceful heart, a humbled spirit, and a renewing of my life.  Blessings my friends…Romans 5:1-5…