Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Into Every Life…Oh, That’s Good. How Very Nice For You…


Yesterday I wrote about my beautiful niece Hannah, about the grace with which her parents have continued day after day through exhaustion, desperation, and helplessness. But they have also been the recipients of great joy as they have seen prayers answered in the very life they are able to hold and cuddle and treasure every day. (Into Every Life…The Good)

I can only assume in reading that there were some of you that felt the sharp pain of longing and the prick of reminder that your prayers were not answered. While Hannah’s parents have witnessed a miracle, you were the recipient of silence. And you find it an impossibility to find any type of the”good” that I was suggesting in that.

It doesn’t matter what you have prayed for, a child, an illness, a hurt, if God has remained silent, you can easily find yourself ambivalent, not only towards someone else’s happy ending but God himself. For some, ambivalence would be an improvement over how they feel about a God who doesn’t answer.

For those who don’t know let me share with you the lens through which I share life with you and more specifically yesterday’s story of good. We buried our infant son who never even took a first breath. Stillborn at 32 weeks, he could have had a shot at this life if only we would have know how wrong things really were. If only God would have intervened. We labored in prayer over that pregnancy and our son but God didn’t answer our prayer. I understand the raw pain of God’s seeming silence. I understand if you are not ready to see or even begin to look for the good in anything. But can I ask you one question? Isn’t it lonely in the pit you have dug for yourself?

I know the pit. I came dangerously close to camping out there in anger and bitterness 13 years ago. It was through God’s hand, holding out hope and rest and peace that I baby-stepped out. Brooding is exhausting, miserable work. I tried to ignore the disappointment. I tried to hide from the anger. I pretended, I masked, I denied but it wasn’t until I crashed headlong into it that I finally began to deal with my pit. Only then could I begin to heal, and begin to see the light that “good” can provide. But I had to make the choice, do I want to be bitter or do I want to be better. Do I want this mess to take me under or can it somehow be redeemed? I couldn’t do on my own though. I couldn’t make it better, I couldn’t make it “good” and the harder I tried the deeper my pit became.

It took me five years to get there, to have my eyes opened to see what I had become.  On this particular Monday I had come face-to-face with myself and the pain that I hadn’t let myself feel in a long time. The more I do, the less I feel; and the less I feel, the less I hurt. I thought I was doing just fine, that I had been handling myself in a healthy manner.  I didn’t realize that I had put up a major wall within myself, not allowing the emotion to spill over into the matter-of-fact way that I had dealt with our son’s death. I was afraid to be vulnerable, especially in the eyes of others, because in that I saw a weakness in myself. Repeatedly people had commented on my strength, but in reality, I tucked the pain and hurt away and never fully dealt with them.

Instead of fully allowing myself to feel the brunt of my pain, I had created a numbness and called it strength. I was afraid that if I felt the pain that I would also feel the anger, and I was afraid if I started down that road, I might not be able to come back. In my strength, I was robbing God of the ability to save me from myself and robbing myself of the knowledge and gift of true strength and dependence on God. God was longing to provide not the fake, plastered-smile, I-have-it-all-together façade that I was trying to convincingly pull off, but the glorious, holy power that brings with it pure strength.

Anger and bitterness are far more common than most of us would like to admit. Sometimes it just feels good to be angry, especially when we don’t have the answers or they aren’t the answers we wanted. It feels good to point fingers and place blame in order to try and make sense of things. We end up destroying our own soul when it becomes filled with anger, resentment, and hate; the one who has wronged us moves on, while we crumble under the weight of our resentment. It is hard to forgive sometimes, yet I have found it is even harder to carry the soul-crushing weight of anger and resentment.

Ephesians 4:26–27 says, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”  We must choose to be honest about our anger and admit that we feel that we’ve been let down, that life isn’t fair, that we have been forgotten, passed over, and left for dead by those whom we loved the most. When we can take the first step in admitting these things, then we can begin to heal.

The question I asked you at the beginning of this series was this: how are you? I know how I used to answer it. Are you holding on tightly to your bitterness, to your anger, letting your hatred numb the pain and sorrow and disappointment of what you think should have been? Have you driven a wedge between yourself and others who have reached out their hands to help because your pride wouldn’t allow you to take it, wouldn’t allow for vulnerability and weakness? Have you written God off because He didn’t come to your rescue when you thought He should have?

Admitting that we are carrying this anger doesn’t mean that He’s guilty; God cannot commit sin. But when we admit and acknowledge our anger at God, we release our expectations of what we think God should have done to prevent our hurt or failure in the first place. When we acknowledge our anger at others and seek forgiveness for this anger, God creates in us a clean heart and renews our spirit, allowing us to begin living again.

This is not easy.  This is a choice.  Bitter or better?  Are you ready to see healing and redemption begin?  It most likely will not happen quickly but one foot in front of the other if we keep moving we will begin that baby-stepping journey out of our own personal pit. Reach out for the hope and healing that God is offering…begin your journey back to your ability to see the good.  My prayer for you even as I write this is that you don’t give up.


The Disciple Jesus Loved

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4:10 NLT)

This was a message that brought a smile. Not only because of the way that Mike Donehey tells it (yes, I am very familiar with the Sunday school felt board,) but also because of the message that it holds. No matter what we have discovered within ourselves since we began this journey, Jesus loves us. That doesn’t mean that we should just brush whatever we have found back under the rug of ignorance. While we work on it, instead of beating ourselves up for failing, know that we are loved! We are defined not by our failures or successes but instead and only, by God’s love.

Still Moments – An Unexpected Gift


“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16)

I read this at Spiritual Inspiration and wanted to share it…

You may not believe in God, but God believes in you.
God sees it all–the good, the bad, the joys, the sins. He wants us to come to Him. There is a reason He saved Noah and His family from the flood, and there is a reason He gave the life of His son, Jesus, so that we could be forgiven. There is nothing you can do that will stop God from loving you!

Isn’t that amazing when you think about it? You can disappoint Him and sadden Him when you turn away or avoid Him, but You cannot stop Him from loving you.

And if you are on the fence yourself right now, wondering how God can believe you have anything left to give, know that God has already chosen you just like the scripture above tells us. There is a huge gift-wrapped box just sitting on your doorstep, but you must open the door and bring it in. Unwrap it, and see what is in store.

A humbling reminder if you have accepted the gift…an invitation if you haven’t.

Take some time to be still, allow the words of Mike Donehey and Tenth Avenue North to wash over you today. Allow their message to penetrate to the hurting, questioning places in your life.  For all of the times in our lives…


A Reflection in Reflection

20130728-091311.jpgWhat if I stumble? What if I fall?
While yesterday’s post (A Reflection) was challenging let me follow up today with some encouragement. I am not perfect. I don’t know anyone who is. My Christianity is very real which means that it in turn is flawed and laced in humanity. But I am living a love story, one in which I have found grace, mercy, and forgiveness on those days when I find myself stumbling, struggling, and ultimately failing. I can’t do anything to earn God’s love and in all of my shortcomings He continues to pour out His love and forgiveness because I have accepted His gift of grace, salvation for a struggling soul.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8 NLT)

On those days when we find ourselves needing a re-do or a mulligan remember what Charles Stanley teaches on the subject of second chances. “Sometimes your burdens may seem endless. You repeatedly go through the same trial, making the same mistakes. The last time through, you thought you had truly mastered this area of your life. However, now you realize that it continues to cause you pain.

You question if God has abandoned you or if you have displeased Him so greatly that He would allow this suffering to persist. You wonder if you will ever learn the lesson God desires to teach you.

Take heart; the Lord loves you, He is with you, and He will never forsake you. He allows the trials in your life because He desires to give you freedom through them and show you His love.

He is drawing you close through this repeated problem. Do not despair. Cling to Him and He will fill you with His love.”

In return, all we can do is reflect this love to a broken world in search of second chances and show them through your walk, imperfect and stumbling though it may be, the gracious forgiveness you, yourself, have received.