September 12, 2008

Freedom by Fire (Pt. 3)

...The baggage I was carrying suddenly became very clear and visible to me. I am so grateful that the arms of my Heavenly Father were there to catch me, as I began sinking in my shame of the judgment I cast onto my husband. The stones were already thrown, the damage already done, yet I begged for forgiveness, mercy, and God’s amazing grace. My prayers for my husband changed that day.

I began to pray that He would overcome the demons of his own past, present, and future. I also prayed for God’s grace upon Him. I prayed against the chains my judgment wrapped him in. I prayed and prayed and prayed, and in the meantime, God changed my heart toward him. I no longer despised or resented this man. My prayers began to speak restoration to his life and not condemnation to hell. Although I knew our marriage was over, I was able to forgive, and pray blessing with sincerity into his life.

So that warm August day, I piled stacks of papers and notebooks into the burning barrel. Lighting the match, I thought about the irony of the fire that would soon be blazing before my eyes. It was taking one spark to ignite a fire that would also extinguish the enemy’s weapon which was formed against me to steal my joy, and pass judgment on my husband. My daddy is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present, and He tells me that NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME SHALL PROSPER!!! Amen.

My past, and many of my grievances, became engulfed in the blistering, scorching flames that day. No more written memories and no more written accounts of my past. All I had before me was a clean slate, and expectations of a future full of the adventures of God. There was suddenly so much untouched potential, and I could finally move forward, one step at a time.



Freedom by Fire (Pt. 2)

“Okay, God, not a problem. I give you my past.” That was easy enough. God then began to clarify what He meant by the thought He put inside of me. In my mind, I figured God was speaking to me figuratively. I closed my eyes and imagined myself tying my past to a helium balloon and releasing it into the air. “Bye-bye past, bye-bye.”

I felt God chuckle. What God was asking me to do was a quite literal act of obedience. When I closed my eyes again, I saw a room filled with stacks of garbage bags filled with “junk” of my relationship with my husband. “Alright, what is this Lord? I have been through healing of my past issues, so what are these bags still doing here?”

What God showed me was that my years of journals held my “junk” captive. I asked God again for more clarification, not understanding fully. He began to clarify for me. My written words bore pain, regret, bitterness, and victimization. Whoa! This was getting deep. I thought journaling was a good and safe way to express my emotions. “Lord, show me what You mean by that?” I questioned.

In a still, quiet voice within me, God whispered. “Every time you re-read your journals, you are bringing your past back to life. You choose to bring up old grievances, offenses, and hurtful memories that shackle the chains around your heart all over again.” Oh, ouch! How true that was. I could be in an excellent mood, and re-read something that happened in our relationship, and suddenly, I was ticked. I had forgotten all about “that” time. How dare he hurt me like that?

Not only was I stepping back into my shackles by re-living those memories, I also threw those shackles back onto my husband. The poor guy never had a chance to start over because I was constantly reminding him of his failures and shortcomings. To reword that correctly, at the first sign of an old behavior, I would remind him of all the times he hurt me, and instantly give him the cold shoulder. Jesus says, “You are a new creation in Christ.” I, as his wife, told him, “You will never change, why try?”

Freedom by Fire (Pt. 1)

(May 12, 2008)
I sit here with about forty pieces of paper filled with memories of my past. There used to be notebooks and notebooks with my every written emotion on them. I have been journaling since I was ten years old. I was always writing stories or poetry, or every detail that I experienced. I breathed in memories and exhaled written stories. I used to be the best letter writer ever! My ex-husband used to joke that I wrote books, not letters, to my friends and family. I guess in a sense, I did. I’d write about everything. There was no detail too small to capture with a pen and piece of paper.

Writing was always my favorite leisure pursuit. Speaking was not. There was something freeing about putting my thoughts on paper. As my pen cruised across the flat white surface, my thoughts came out clear. My ideas made sense. My tone was poetic.

My Speech??? Ha, I could not pronounce my “s” or “r” correctly, and usually stuttered and stammered over my words. Eventually, I gave up on conveying my views with my mouth, and instead, resorted to my graceful and elegant expressions with ink. Writing became my life. Dreaming was uninhibited in my journals. Visions came alive when my pen glided across the paper.

About a year ago, God had me toss the reminders of my past to the raging, consuming bonfire. Twelve years of written recollection of my relationship with my ex-husband smoldered into ashes. Records of the good memories and the bad memories were all gone. Burned and charred fragments of paper flew from within the burning barrel into the sky. Sparks soared and the fire hissed as I relinquished my right to my past. My written collection became my offering to the Lord. Deep sadness and grief filled me as I watched my “future writing material for a book” and my past burn to a crisp.
The motive behind that act was obedience to my Heavenly Father, and to burn the “bridges of my past”. It was August, 2007, a month after my husband and I had our final separation, and God quietly spoke to me. In my heart, I felt as if He told me that I couldn’t go forward unless I quit carrying around the baggage of my past....

unkind words

Today was another day when I discovered that my reflection really was not very appealing. I had a moment of self-realization when my mouth spewed out nonsense to everyone I came in contact with.

To others, I normally appear to be mellow, gentle, humble, and meek; however, today was "attitude city" at my house. The amazing thing was that it wasn't my children's attitudes that needed to be checked, it was mine.

Most days, I bite my tongue a lot, and I try not to say mean things to people. If it doesn't benefit someone else, I really try not to speak it. If I do, I usually go back and apologize. I am known for encouraging people when I have a chance. I send out nice little cards to friends, I say 'thank you' a lot, and I like to bless people with kind words.

Oh my goodness, today was not one of those days. I found myself talking to my mother and saying things that I knew I wouldn't be able to take back. I opened my mouth, and out came unkind, judgmental, and harsh words.

I spoke to my son in an abrupt, authoritive, short manner without hearing his concerns or even listening, yet a couple hours later, I scolded him for speaking unkind and harsh to his friend. Whoa! This mama needed a time-out.

I sit quietly questioning why, how, and what. Why was I so short with everyone today? How do I take my words back or make it better? What am I not dealing with that is causing my temper to soar? What is it in my heart that I need to deal with? What do I need to change and focus my thoughts on?

I think of my mother and am saddened by the fact that I wounded her with my words, knowing I can't take back what I spoke. It would have been better to keep my mouth shut and not assume I know everything. I could have gently smiled and not let her comments bother me, yet I chose, by my own free will, to lash my own pain upon her.

Speaking of pain, what is the pain that plagued me to act in selfishness? What is unsettled in me? Could it be finances? Exhaustion? Despair? Loneliness? Sadness? Restlessness? All of the above???

I am irritated, unsettled, lonely, worried, scared, yet, I know that God has a plan for my life. I am hopeful because tomorrow is a new day. And with God's help and grace, I will make better choices tomorrow.

I will think before I speak. I will choose silence over spontaneous words. I will once again choose to bless instead of cause harm. I will listen more and speak less. I will ask God to put a guard on my mouth and only let me speak what is beneficial for building others up.

...but for tonight, I will say a prayer for my mother, and then take a few minutes to snuggle next to my son, who is peacefully sleeping in the other room...

Me...blogging?

I like to write. I have always liked writing. Someday, I will have a book, but for now, I will simply have a blog. Today, stirred with within me my first love for writing and journaling. I pondered how someone like me, a simple, yet shy person, could regain my quest for expression with words.

Oh, how I try to be so elegant, yet I realized in this moment, that I really am a simple girl with a simple heart. Why pretend to be anything other than what I am? I want to be liked, loved, cherished, and adored. Doesn't everybody???

Within each soul lies a desire to be accepted, despite faults and poor choices in life. ~A new start, as one may say...here's mine.

I hold within me a bandaged heart, almost whole again. I tuck two wonderful boys in at night. I still have an thin indention on my left finger where a simple gold wedding band once sat. I am on a quest for a brand new career or degree, not sure which. Yet I still remain simple, or at least try to be...

Trusting God

My son has been pretty sick lately. Even though he's an adult, I still worry about him. I probably get annoying as I ask the same questi...