It doesn’t take long in a day to find an offense–be it a political division, cut off in traffic, a neighbor’s unruly yard (that might be mine!), a long-term disagreement or being unfriended on facebook. Facebook alone is a source of irritation and strife for many of us. I often wonder why we subject ourselves to it?
So we find ourselves needing to forgive. Sometimes, we don’t even know when the switch from contentedness to infuriated occurred. But it did. And now we are dealing with swirling thoughts of cantankerousness that have muddied up the happy-go-lucky waters. Perhaps at this point we need to be put in time-out? I think so!
Sometimes, though, much time passes and we are beginning to feel the effects of unforgiveness. It is eating away at our health, our joy, our other relationships and even our future dreams. I’d say we are prisoners to that place of unforgiveness. Maybe we need counselling at this point. Maybe we need to write a letter. Maybe we need to try to talk it out. But when all of that does not seem to make a dent in it, we may need to change our perspective. I thought I would share my own healing journey with you.
Perhaps it will lighten your own journey’s load. I pray it will!
In 2005, my family and I followed God’s prompting to move to Colorado–it was a journey of faith that entire year. My parents would not accept it. They tried every tactic they could to regain “control” of the situation and to keep us in Texas–to no avail. We moved and they refused to bless us in doing so. From this point on, our relationship, which had formerly been what we thought was a GOOD one, would be strained to non-existent. So what’s a daughter to do? I did what I thought any good child would do….I held up my end of the relationship as much as possible. We sent gifts and letters (they sent gifts and letters back). We called them. We even visited four times and stayed with them part of the time (my Chris’ parents live in the same town). But they refused to visit. They have called a handful of times over the years. And when we were there, we were not allowed to discuss Colorado or our lives here. We had to play by their rules.
Deep down, I fought resentment and unforgiveness–holding it in a tight fist, so no one could see. I had even felt like I was being forgiving in the way I responded–some of that was completely pretense. For I was not being forgiving, I was holding a grudge and justifying myself by keeping score. And the fact is, no one ever keeps score fairly in relational struggles. There is a skew of perception that tells us we are alright and in-the-right. It is a tactic of the enemy and for 5 years, it worked.
Then one day, after much distress over the tried and failed attempts at reconciliation, I felt the Lord prompt me to lay down my chess piece…to quit the game entirely. That day, I did. I dropped all of the doings, except sending gifts and a card that only read, “I love you. I am praying for you.” My Chris even spelled it out that we were open to reconcile at any time, but they would need to make some steps for that to happen. It did not fix the situation–and it may never be fixed. The Lord gave us both the gift of peace.
The fact is a bridge being built from one end only is not a bridge, it’s a slide to the muddy waters beneath. Both sides must work to build it for it to stand. We cannot make someone else build. We simply can’t. At this point, we have prayer only, and prayer to the Living God is a powerful tool in all struggles we face!
ONE BIG THING it did do is FREE me to forgive them and release my parents into God’s hands. You see, I could tell you all the in’s and out’s of the story. But there is nothing good that can come from talking about it or even justifying it–no one wins. The effective place to be is in a place of prayer before God. He is between us and He cares. He gets it–and knows thoroughly all the aspects of the story. From this place, I have begun to find freedom in other sticky relational problems. I have begun to lose weight–30 lbs since last August! I have begun to be disciplined and more focused. My health has turned around even–I have not been to the doctor in 1 1/2 years. It is amazing!
Some days I still have a sadness over it all–and feel the great loss. Some days I feel resentment creep back in. And on those days, I get quiet and still before God. He sees me through it all, as I live open-handed before Him, freeing them to go on and freeing myself to live fully.
This is a hard story to share. I nearly shared it sparing the details, but I knew that this Easter time, Jesus died for ALL of us. He came to set the captive sinners free, of which I am the worst. I share this because light over darkness is a powerful thing!
Today I am so very thankful for new beginnings and hopeful for the future.