Thursday, July 19, 2012

Forgive Him? Really.....Again?


     For years I wrestled and rewrestled skeletons from the past. Journals full of sludge, many sleepless, prayer-filled nights, and buckets of tears, but finally the healing was coming. God lovingly released me from the shadows of shame that plagued me throughout life. He brought victory in the assurance that He has never, and will never take His compassionate hand out of my circumstances.

     Forgiveness can be difficult and complex. Just when you think you have done all of your forgiving, those painful cobwebby areas in the corners of your heart expand, revealing still more work that needs to be done.   

     God slowly and gently revealed some intense anger that I overlooked. Don't you hate it when that happens? Sometimes, you just want it to be over with, you know?

     Through a series of dreams I had recently, I was shocked at the animosity stirred deep within me toward someone from my past. There is no way I will see this man again, so what does it matter if I harbor resentments toward him forever? But it does matters to God, who wants me to be a whole, healthy person. Unforgiveness also negatively affects the heart and mind, and causes anxiety.

     God is gracious and patient, for that I am thankful. He allows time for healing, giving breaks from the relentless pressures and trials of life. But now to roll up my sleeves and get back to work. I must find a way to release this man from my debt. Even though I don't feel terribly scarred by his actions, the  fresh anger I feel is a red flag reminding me that there are things that still need let go of and the work of forgiving is not finished.

     I am so thankful that I don't have to figure this stuff all out on my own. God will hold my hand and guide me through it, just like He always has.
     "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

     Have you ever been reminded of a former offense against you and had the pain come rushing back over you like it happened yesterday? Do you ever wake up wanting to punch the person who caused it?


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ending A Double Life

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

     I live several neatly (and sometimes not so neatly) separated lives. Sure, some of them overlap and coexist nicely, but largely I maintain a sectioned plate of family members, friends, church, etc.

     I will give you an example. I am an only child to my biological father, the eldest of three to my adoptive father, the eldest of six to my mother and stepdad. Most of my grandparents are divorced and remarried, causing me to have eleven living grandparents.

     From the time I was a little girl, I learned not to say certain names around certain individuals, because they couldn't bear to even hear the name spoken. Multi family events are taboo, forcing uncomfortable situations that some refuse to subject themselves to. And so I have lived several different lives with several different families and kept many things to myself to avoid "cross contamination".

     Now in my thirties, this way of living is slowly breaking down, causing anxiety and panic deep within me. You can get used to anything, and the rut it will become makes it uncomfortable to attempt a change. I want to know and love everyone in my life, and it has become exhausting and emotionally draining to try keeping it sectioned. 

     Though I am the same person in each life I live, I no longer want my heart to feel torn in multiple pieces. I can do without the guilt of mentioning the wrong person's name to someone who doesn't want to hear it. I want to freely love all without the fear of being abandoned by one I offend.

     I want to be Amy. One person, living one life, loving one gigantic family. 

     "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood." IS 54:4

     Sorry for so much drama, like I just grabbed all my dirty laundry and dumped it on you. 

     Does anyone else struggle with being who they want to be and others' reactions to their choices?

     Do you find it hard to break old relational patterns in order to make new ones?