Tag : forgiveness
Tag : forgiveness
The pressure is mounting.
I still have some residual effects of COVID, a little congestion and occasional headaches, and a week from Monday I leave to speak at a Fatherless Summit in Wisconsin, the following weekend at a women’s conference in College Station, then we hold our Level-Up Conference in Lewisville, TX on October 9th. That alone requires a lot of work and time. But I trust and know that God is faithful and compassionate and the One who called me to these events will accomplish the task through me and our POP team.
This week, as I was reading in Psalm 106, I was especially thankful for the LORD’s compassion and forgiveness. It’s an account of the Israelites’ history—the good and the bad. After God saved them from a life of slavery in Egypt, they were obedient for a while, but then turned on Him by worshipping idols and sacrificing their children. That understandably made God angry so he allowed His chosen ones to be taken captive by their enemies.
But here is the verse that impacted me: “Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries. He remembered His covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love. He even caused their captors to treat them with kindness” (Psalm 106:44, NLT).
God was forced to issue discipline, but His love remained the same, so much so that he made sure they were treated with kindness by their enemies.
And I thought about my “even so’s.”
When Lisa turned away from God for seventeen years after salvation, even so, God pitied her in the midst of a career crash and brought her back into His fold.
There have been times where Lisa placed other idols before God, but even so, He allowed her some success and patiently waited for her to come back to Him.
And when, because of the roots of her fatherless past, Lisa feels betrayed, even so, God always restores her faith in mankind through acts of love.
What is your “even so?”
No matter how you may have “failed” in your faith journey, God’s compassion and love never changes for you. He is the God of “even so’s.” He will always forgive. He always restores. And he’s always waiting for us to repent and return to Him. The warranty never expires on His love.
The remembrance of the even so’s gives me the strength to move forward—in difficult times. Today I am thankful that God will never cast me aside. What about you?
At one time in my life, Easter was only about the Easter Bunny and egg hunts. I remember a family 8 mm film where, as a toddler, I took one of those beautifully died eggs and smashed it on the sidewalk. Always curious, I guess I wanted to see what would happen to that egg at high impact!
I still like the colorful eggs, and the fun of the Easter bunny. In fact I passed by him on the street Thursday—he had a police escort—so I snapped a photo to share.
But Easter is so much richer now that I know the risen Christ, and as I reflect on why Easter is meaningful to me, three things come to mind.
Access- When Jesus breathed his last breath, the curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom. That represented a type of access to our Holy God that was unfathomable. At one time it was only consecrated Jewish priests who could enter the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle where God resided. I just read that priests had to yearly go through thirty-five steps on the Day of Atonement to make sacrifices for the sins of the people. One wrong move and they could die. Now, because of Jesus’s sacrifice, every believer is a priest and is covered by the blood of Jesus so that we can enter the presence of God 24/7. Because of our High Priest, Jesus, we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV). This access shouldn’t be taken for granted. I never had a father in my life, so being able to sit in the presence of our heavenly Father has been a precious gift and has sustained me all of these years.
Forgiveness of Sins- I am not proud of my inappropriate behavior in college and those single years following college. I wish I could undo a lot of it, but because of Easter, I repented, and I know Jesus has washed me clean from those wrongdoings (even though the enemy of my soul tries to bring it up every so often). 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NKJV). The word for cleanse here also means to “purify.” So when we believe, the kind of true belief that results in change, then Jesus bleaches out the stains of our sins—he purifies us—and enables us to overcome temptation and gives us the power to turn from our past way of life.
The Hope of Eternity- As I am living in what is probably the final quarter of my life, I am holding onto this hope that when I pass, I will transition into Heaven and into the arms of Jesus. This could only happen because of Easter. Hebrews 6:19-20 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (NIV). Jesus made it possible for us to live on in His presence. The apostle James called our lives a “mist that appears for a while then vanishes” (James 4:14). Psalm 39 tells us we should number our days. But if we believe in what Jesus did for us on Easter, we know this is not the end. I call this life a “holy boot camp” to get us ready for eternity.
So these are just a few of the reasons why I am grateful for Easter. I hope you all have a beautiful celebration of our Savior’s resurrection and take this time to reflect on what Easter means to you.
I just finished listening to a marvelous book by Andy Andrews called the The Heart Mender. In his own voice, with a range of character voices, Andy performed a story of bitterness that was vanquished by unconditional love and forgiveness. I know a thing or two about forgiveness, yet I was surprisingly pulled into the story about how, unknowingly, another person can be the catalyst that mends a broken, bitter, or hurting heart.
After being riveted to the story for nearly three days, trying to listen in between household chores, yard work, and the daily activities needed to keep a family fed and home running, I finished the audio book this morning. I was supposed to be working on a blog for Pearls of Promise, but I seemed to be experiencing a block. So I woke up this morning intent on finishing the audio book so I could focus on blogging.
But after wrapping up the book I still had no topic to write about. This time at home seems to have stopped me in my tracks from gathering experiences to write about. However, I have had a lot of time to think. Too much time, because every time I think about something it just seems to race into another thought. It’s not like a solo race, more like a relay run. You know the kind of relay were you keep passing the baton to the next person—that’s how my thoughts have been—one thought passing on to another, never really staying focused except for a short sprint.
And this morning has been much of the same. You see, in just the short three hours I have been awake, I have passed the baton from needing to blog, finishing Andy’s book, to thoughts about the gardening I did yesterday, to house chores needed to be done, to my daughters’s college journey, to exegete vs eisegesis sharing of scripture, to my thinning hair and needed nutrients, and then back to my need to get the blog out.
I get so mad at myself for not staying focused long enough to accomplish tasks, let alone get them done ahead of schedule, which would be preferable for all of those involved in Pearls of Promise Ministries.
So when I got back to the topic of needing a blog, my mind went back to the audio book I just finished listening to and its topic of forgiveness as a way to mend one’s heart. Welcome to my mind. I hope I haven’t lost you, but the inner working of my mind is a continual relay race of thoughts. Somehow what is really important seems to find its way back, and this morning it seems to be forgiveness and the people who help us forgive.
Once I finally focused on this topic it seems like a flood of stories came to mind. One from my childhood sparked my heart so I want to share it with you. It’s about Sara. We were best friends when I was young. She was the exact opposite of everything I was. She was blonde-haired, blue-eyed as compared to my very curly brown hair and brown eyes. She was thin, and let’s just say I was not. She was in the gifted and talented programs at school, and again let’s just say I was not, but we were the best of friends.
As best friends we spent so much time together that I knew everything about her family, but she knew very little about mine as we spent most of our time together at her house. It was like she was an only child but she was really one of those treasured surprise children, born late to her parents. She appeared to have their undivided attention, which was something I always craved from my own parents. And, because she was the last child left at home she didn’t have to share, but she always did with me; that was of course until I took her lipgloss. Yes, I confess. Envy took over and I stole from my friend. I thank God that I’m not a deceitful person now, but at the time I was mortified because she caught me.
We never spoke again. That was until about a month ago. After many times throughout the years looking for her via the Internet, I finally found her. Would she talk to me? I was surprised when she replied to my message. Indeed, she had remembered me, and what transpired in the next few emotionally charged communications from me was a beautiful moment of forgiveness. I told her that I had been looking for her and said I was truly sorry for taking her lipgloss. She replied that she was surprised that I had remembered what had torn our friendship apart, because she didn’t. I said yes, I remembered, and it had been one of the my greatest regrets, losing such a beautiful friend over something so stupid. I admitted that I thought she was rich and was envious so I took the lipgloss.
The next few texts were from Sara easily accepting my apology and then going on as if we had always been friends. Chatting about all the years that have passed, all the things that we have done, where we are now, and who we are now. Since then, Sara and I have continued to talk, but most importantly we mended our hearts. She freely gave forgiveness and I finally forgave myself. I have no idea how our friendship would have been had I not hurt her so, but I learned a unforgettable lesson from her—the cost of friendship is invaluable.
As Andy’s story illustrated, God sends people into our lives who can help us mend our hearts. Sometimes the mender can be just one person, or it may take an army, as it has in my life. Mending may be immediate or it may take years. Regardless, it’s important to learn that when given the opportunity—apologize, but most importantly, forgive.
Thank you Sara! You truly are a dear friend.