Forgiveness and the Wounds of Our Past

I’ve been reading Captivating…again. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite books. I don’ agree 100% with everything Jon and Stasi Eldridge say, but I do think they really hit the nail on the head with this one.

There is a truth here about the wounds we receive…there are varying degrees of bleeding, but as my sister says, “just because someone has a knife cut, doesn’t mean anothers’ paper cut doesn’t bleed.”
I was thinking of different ways I let my past wounds dictate who am today. For many years, I lived in a form of denial, telling myself that whatever happened I must have deserved, or that it didn’t matter. But the truth is, often the wounds we receive, as children or adults, often they weren’t deserved…and whatever they say…they did matter. They do matter. Because you matter.

“As Augustine wrote in his Confessions, “The tears…streamed down, and I let them flow as freely as they would, making of them a pillow for my heart. On them it rested.” Grief is a form of validation; it says the wound mattered….That’s not the way life was supposed to go. There are unwept tears down in there–the tears of a little girl who is lost and frightened. The tears of a teenage girl who’s been rejected and has no place to turn. The tears of a woman whose life has been hard and lonely and nothing close to her dreams. Let the tears come.”
~Captivating

Realizing this has been hard for me…it is hard for any of us. Acknowledging that it mattered means that we aren’t strong and unfazed…that we can be hurt, and we do bleed. It takes away a bit of our sense of self-confidence, our ability to handle anything that comes our way. It puts a dent in our facade. Acknowledgment can make us weak.

It shouldn’t. But often, we let it demoralize us. We let acknowledgment dictate who we will be, making us less of a person. That’s the trap I fell into.

Instead, acknowledgment should build us up. Make us realize that we do carry worth. All of us. Sometimes that worth is trampled on by others, but our perception of our worth should never come from someone else…it should be reflective of Christ’s love for us….the worth that God put on us…deeming us worthy, for our very lives to be traded for His beloved Son’s.

Acknowledgment should lead us to forgiveness. I get caught up in that part, too. We think that we may have forgiven those that hurt us, but somehow, some way, our souls drag those old offenses back up. And that is what truly tears us apart.

“Okay–now for a hard step…a real step of courage and will. We must forgive those who hurt us. The reason is simple: bitterness and unforgiveness set their hooks deep in our hearts; they are chains that hold us captive to the wounds and the messages of those wounds. Until you forgive, you remain their prisoner. Paul warns us that unforgiveness and bitterness can wreck our lives and the lives of others (Eph. 4:31, 32; Heb. 12:15). We have to let it all go (Col. 3:13)…Forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling–don’t try and feel forgiving. It is an act of the will. “Don’t wait to forgive till you feel like forgiving,” wrote Neil Anderson. “You will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made.”…We acknowledge that it hurt, that it mattered, and we choose to extend forgiveness to…those who hurt us…Forgiveness says, ‘It was wrong. Very wrong. It mattered, hurt me deeply. And I release you. I give you to God.'”
~Captivating

Often I work myself up to a place of ‘feeling forgiving’, but that is not true forgiveness. I don’t place the hurt, my heart, or those who have done me wrong, in the hands of God. I simply shove it away in an old box, to be reopened at some later date. I hold on to the idea that those people were thoughtless, uncaring, self-centered…and I use that to fuel my own subtle form of unforgiveness.

“It might help to remember that those who hurt you were also deeply wounded themselves. They were broken hearts…and they fell captive to the Enemy…This doesn’t absolve them of the choices they made, the things they did. It just helps us to let them go–to realize that they were shattered souls themselves, used by our true enemy in his war against [us]….And then, with an open heart, we simply ask Jesus to heal us.”
~Captivating

And this was a real wake-up, a slap of cold water in the face. They still did something, said something, that was wrong, that was uncaring, hurtful…damaging. But they were just like me. They all had their own wounds to speak of. They too were shattered, broken. And that same worth that my God places on me…He gives to them. He longs for them, too. Do those who’ve hurt me even realize that they have done so? How many times have I, knowingly or unknowingly, given wounds to another? Do they hold this against me?

Do we allow our lives to be shaped by the past? Do we allow ourselves to victimize ourselves? To excuse our behavior?

“Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
~”Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
~”And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25, 26

It is only after this step, that we can truly allow Christ to begin the healing of our hearts we so desperately need.

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Decide My Future

Okay, not actually something quite so drastic as that title leads one to believe. But, I would like YOUR help in deciding something.

I have chosen to pursue (kind of) a musical career…or path. As a recording artist.
This is something I’ve thought of for years, frankly. My ‘back-up’ dream, if you will. If  you’ve been reading my blog for long, you’ll remember that my first dream is/was to be a wife and mother…not to pursue a career. But, it seems that that is just not in God’s plans for me at this time; maybe someday in the future, I’ll get that. Maybe not. For now I’m going to take a couple of steps in that other direction, see what happens. I am going to be heading to a couple of auditions this next spring, and I’m trying to focus on my songwriting and personal rec studio.
I realize that it is entirely likely that I won’t really go anywhere with this…the musical world of recording artists is extremely competitive. But at least I won’t have to say I never tried.

Here’s where you come in.
You probably already know by now that I’m a fan of quite a variety of genre’s. I just like good music. However, that leaves me at a disadvantage when deciding which genre to personally pursue. SOOOO….I’m going to share a couple of songs/genre’s that I’ve been leaning towards. What I’d love for you to do, is share with me what genre you see me in…personality-wise, as well as what my voice would fit in (if you were as unfortunate enough to have heard my voice- :)-).

So, thanks in advance for the replies…and if I don’t get any, then I’ll just assume that you are all behind me 100%, and totally agree with the choices I have indicated! 😉 lol

In the steps of Jane Monheit (Jazz)

And in case the word “Jazz” has you scratching your head and confused, here’s another video that might help you a little…

Pop Rock

Soul

Pop

Country

If you want to, you can just leave a comment below, or even a video. You can vote in the poll below also. Or you can contact me personally if you have that info. 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing/seeing the suggestions.

“Steps”

Trailing up, the steps to fame; take them one at a time…they always seem to stretch further. The cool stone underneath your feet  invites you to stop, to rest your weary bones. The buildings, windows staring like eyes out at your defeat, tower to the skies. It is easier going down, but the reward seems not as sweet. If you only make it to the next landing, your soul would be content.

~
Trailing up, the steps to love; take them one at a time. The heart yearns for companionship, but no one seems to fit. Keep climbing upwards, the song of the swallow urging you to know, the one you look for is just ahead, if only you do not stop.

~
Trailing up, the steps to heaven; someday you will arrive. The path there is steep, many doors along the way. Take one, any one; a garden gate, a lovers’ door. Each promises rest and pleasure, but in the end, they only conspire to keep you from your destination. A gentle breeze ruffles through your hair, giving you a taste of heaven, soft and sweet, of those that wait for you. Keep faithful, one foot in front of the other; one day you will arrive.

 

“Pepper”

Sneezing, uncontrollably. I take great gulps of water to rid myself of the stuff. Next, with the neck of my shirt pulled up over my mouth to keep from breathing it in, I grab a broom and dust pan and start to sweep up the piles of pepper. The canister is empty. The brown tiger-striped cat stares at me from her perch on top of the bookcase, no remorse whatsoever in her eyes. I am mad, put out with her, but as soon as I dump the last of her pepper mess into the trash, she runs up to curl around my legs, purring and pleased. I remind myself I am still mad, but within seconds she is in my arms, nuzzling my neck. I cannot stay mad at her. I pull out a small bowl and a jug of milk from the refrigerator, and watch as she laps happily at what I’ve poured for her. I walk away to the living room, pick up a magazine, and sit on the couch to read. Soon, she is back, standing on the arm of the sofa, looking at me; with affection she nudges my shoulder, as if to say, “I’m sorry”.

“Puddle”…or “Rainfall”

I’ve just started working through a book, “Writing Better Lyrics” or “The Essential Guide to Powerful Songwriting” by Pat Pattison. There are exercises given, and I thought I’d start posting my efforts each day.

This first one is, admittedly, terrible. But the thought is that with each consecutive day, they’ll get better. 🙂

So, here is “Puddle”, or as I’ve termed it more accurately, “Rainfall”.

Soft circles appeared sporadically, expanding from where they started, overlapping one another. The air tasted fresh, newly clean. I could smell the honeysuckle that grew wild along the fenceline. The ground was damp, soaking in the life that this rainfall offered.
The birds were nearly silent, most tucked away in their nests, I was sure, save one lone brave soul, who sang his song from the safety an overgrown bush provided.

Writing…slow but steady….

I’m trying to be inspired…it’s not coming easily tonight. I know I should write here, because frankly, I don’t do this enough.

I’m also trying to make some headway on my book.

Elaine came easy, natural…she’s me, in some ways. Kevin, on the other hand…well, I’m not a guy, so that comes harder, naturally. I’m trying to keep up with giving just enough background info, no more no less….it’s a fine line. While also keeping true to his voice, which is of course, quite distinct. Writing a story from multiple viewpoints is very challenging, I’m finding out.

But, he’s coming along, slow but steady. We’re laying paths for the story to weave through, and that’s why I don’t want to put too much out there too soon. Don’t want to give it all away, just keep y’all guessing. :)

Oh, but his car….I’ve fallen completely in love. His car is awesomely amazing, and I find I’m jealous of a fictional character…one that I created, no less. :) lol

KattyRae has challenged me to our own personal NaNoWriMo month..in April, which starts Sunday…April, the same month in which I’m holding my Studio Recital (which is gonna be awesome, the girls have worked so hard!) AND the concert for the Choral Society that I’ve been involved in the past couple of months. Crazy busy month to add in a writing challenge. Our NaNoWriMo will be slightly different, in that we’ll be working on stuff we’ve already started, trying to push ourselves further. But it’ll be good. I really hope to make some good progress.

I’ve done a good bit of work on my blog for the book; which contains character profiles, inside looks to the storyline and characters, background info, etc…But it’s not a public blog, mostly for me to keep things straight, and only a few people have access to it (those who are helping me with the book/keeping me accountable to continue). So I guess it’s not technically progress on the actual book, is it…

I’ve also been trying to read through a friends’ manuscript she sent me to peruse/edit. It’s good, and I think I could get sucked into it, but with all my many other obligations, I’ve had to force myself to go slow. Too slow for her, probably. I’ve enjoyed it so far; it’s a piece she did during the real NaNoWriMo (November).

Why Try At All?

What’s the good in trying? Why do things different, hoping that they will turn out better, when time keeps proving us wrong? Why try to avoid heartache, disillusionment, error, or pain, when in the end we always come back to it? What is the purpose in it all?

I’ve been asking myself that question for weeks now…no, years, if I’m honest.

We try to follow a better way, a safer way, or a more moral way. Yet, it just doesn’t seem to pay off. So why do it?

We dress modestly, not because we just LOVE the modest styles, or being not as attractive as other girls…no. We do it out of love, out of a commitment to love the men around us, by not drawing them in by our bodies. Because we are told that loving others, that sacrificing, is much more desirable to a godly man than a hot looking dress. Yet…that doesn’t seem to pay off. We stand along the wall, in our cute, but modestly covering, dresses, while all the guys dance by with the ‘hot girls’.

We don’t date in the traditional manner, because we believe that waiting is not just respecting ourselves, but also the man we will someday end up with. Because having someone for a night is not as profitable as fitting ourselves to be a lifetime companion. Because with each new boyfriend, you’re giving away a piece of your heart that you’ll never get back again. Yet, again, so many of us have ‘not dated’ ourselves into oblivion, while those other girls have kids that they give to someone else to bring up each day, while they pursue their ‘real lives’.

We follow a more humble path, because we believe what the scriptures say about leading a quiet life being more profitable…we give up dreams of being in the spotlight, fame and fortune in our grasp, to serve others with our lives instead. And yet once more, we became a fixture in the background, with nothing to show for ourselves but bruised and soiled hands.

I suppose it’s the hope. The hope that our children will have better. The hope that one day, those choices we make might change the world, if only just a little bit. The hope, the belief, that Christ would have us strive to do so, whether it seems to pay off, or not.

I don’t have answers. I just know that even though our choices seem to land us into the very heartache that we wish to avoid in the first place, it’s better to have tried than to have settled. Because, if you have the will to try in the first place, then you will be able to pick yourself back up, dust off your pants, and keep moving on. Because someday, down the road, it will all pay off.
And you’ll be proud of the choices you made, because you made them based on your values, and on your faith in Christ. It’s not just because of the outcome that we do things. It’s because of our faith. And that’s all that really matters.

Post #5: A Favorite Quote

There are lots of good quotes out there….tons of them…but I have to choose one.

So I choose one that has long been one of my favorite quotes ever; one I have here on my sidebar, from Oscar Wilde via Mabel Chiltern (Minnie Driver):

“To look at a thing is quite different from seeing it; for one does not see anything, until one sees it’s true beauty.”

It’s so true…we all look at many things throughout the many days of our lives…but few of us truly see what we are looking at.

When I first heard this, I was so impacted, that I went out the next day, lay flat on my stomach on a grassy knoll, and simply stared at a blade of grass for hours. I walked away that day knowing more about beauty than what I had learned in a lifetime before that.

We rarely truly see people, as well as things. We look at them all the time, but until you see the beauty that is hidden inside, until you’ve taken the time to know them on that level, you’ve not seen them.
I feel like people do that to me a lot…just look at me, never truly seeing.
But more importantly, do I do that to them? Too often, the answer is yes. It takes time, and commitment to really see someone, to find the beauty inside.

Some people are masters at seeing. If you know one, watch them;, take notes even, if that’s your thing. But learn the secret of seeing from them. Because it’s well worth it.

“Those who tell their own story must be listened to with caution…[for] seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not disguised, or a little mistaken.” Jane Austen. Sift what you hear, determine the truth in it; only then may I hope to inspire you.