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Archive for July, 2007

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11

I stood at the sink and emptied the vase of old water for my Gladiolus. Bright yellow flowers at the middle of the stem and buds with promises to bloom were placed in the sink. I carefully removed the old dead blossoms from the bottom of the stems and gave each stalk a new cut. I filled up the vase with fresh water and arranged the freshly cleaned stems in the vase.

As I cleaned up the old flowers and stems and discarded them, I thought how similar old hurts are to those dead flowers. In order to feel joy in life, we need to be constantly forgiving and letting go of the thoughts of old hurts. Our wounds need to heal, but if we harbor any hurtful feelings, anger or angst towards others, our heart becomes hardened. That in itself keeps us from enjoying each day and certainly from being healthy in the moment.

If I had left the old flowers on each stem, perhaps the new buds would never bloom. The bouquet certainly would not have looked as healthy and vibrant as the flowers in the vase did at that moment. I cried as I saw the meaning in the exercise of arranging these lovely flowers. The Lord is doing that same thing in my life right now. Reminding me that I have not forgiven someone in my spirit, and in doing so the Lord was bringing to mind memories I would rather not remember. As each thought comes to mind and I ask God’s grace to forgive, I am given the peace that shows me why the circumstance happened and how that resentment eats away at my joy.

Sometimes life feels like that, old hurts keep me from going forward in a healthy way into a new chapter that awaits me. As soon as I walk through the memory of the pain, forgive and let go, the reward of a new door is opened for me. It is difficult to walk through the pain of some leftover hurt. I really dislike that part of healing.

I felt so much anger this week that I had allowed others to hurt me over the years and keep my peace. Now I see that I truly had not forgiven the offence if I just kept quiet, the forgiveness is unhealthy for my heart. If I still feel resentment than I have not forgiven at all. Perhaps in keeping quiet the person that hurt me does not know that I have unforgiveness, but I do. I learned that telling someone how they hurt you doesn’t always fix anything. Telling the Lord always fixes not only the situation, but adds another dimension to my understanding.

Funny but the anger that I was allowed to feel again, gave me the compassion that I needed to feel how that person feels who cannot get rid of the anger. God allowed me to walk around feeling angry for days now, even though I prayed for him to remove it. This exercise allowed me to feel compassion for those who don’t know how to ask for God’s grace, and have to spend their lifetime angry. I understand now that it is by God’s grace only that I usually am slow to anger and can easily forgive. I can see that by not forgiving someone hurting me, I receive that same greed, selfishness, anger or sin that they do not have God’s grace to repair. Forgiveness is an act, a choice, but sometimes we need a little help in knowing just what God’s word teaches us. We just need a dose of what His perspective is on the circumstance.

The vase of Gladiolus in a bright blue vase seemed to smile. They comforted my soul as I trusted that the Lord was allowing this trial to heal me of old hurts. I read in my favorite devotional Hearing God, by Lory Basham Jones this morning. In it she writes what the Lord spoke to her during a healing:

“I will continue until I have healed all your wounds and restore everything the canker worms have eaten. For I know the thoughts I think toward you. My child, thoughts of peace and restful understanding.” (Read Psalm 107:7)

It is the restful understanding that soothes my spirit. In understanding and accepting instead of trying to reason why, we find our path back to spiritual health.

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This morning I awoke from a beautiful dream. I dreamt that I was sitting next to the Lord. He was on His throne, and I was kneeling at His feet. He was telling me not to take my story so seriously. That all the circumstances surrounding our lives are mere details necessary to complete His work in us. He said that these circumstances are measures to fulfill God’s promise and to finish our story.

I suppose if we are characters in a play, our author can create any story-line to fulfill His destiny for us. The dynamics in life are as vivid to me as the details. Sometimes I am more aware of the dynamics than the pieces that reflect it’s detail. These symbols are God’s parables meant to teach us. Signs that add direction to our lives helping us to overcome our difficult tasks while here on earth. Some call this synergy, serendipity, coincidence and other fascinations, but I see this as the divine at work around me creating harmony and peace if I allow it to lead me. Watching and waiting to know how God would want me to handle my circumstance, or which way I should go.

Nature is a perfect way for God to teach us His ways and give us hope along the way. I can never walk through the woods, visit the ocean or watch the birds and not think of God. I love to be surrounded by nature and reflect on it’s meaning. I always return with a fresh perspective and a new approach to whatever it is that I need to accomplish.

We become living parables to others when we follow Christ. His language and teachings become part of our fabric. The threads that tie our story and link it to others fulfill our service to the very people that Christ wants us to touch.

“Your peace lies in letting go. Leave it all to me. Let go of every interpretation of judgement, only God can determine another’s heart.”

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