When our Katie was diagnosed with Lymphoma I found myself, typically, crying out in prayer. My heart was so very heavy and I had a fear that I’ve never known before. The unknown is always scary but especially when it is not you going through it but your child.
In my prayers I started to see myself as the Lord might be seeing me and I must confess I didn’t like what I saw.
I knew then that if I was going to petition the Lord to heal my child I needed to do some serious praying.....and listening.
The first thing I saw was how I had held onto a hurt from a few months before. Some things were said about me, they were very subtle but it was clear the intended target was me. I confronted the folks in this conversation (I’m all about getting things out in the open) and was told that it wasn't really about me. I was hurt and didn't want to let this go.
Fast forward to the weekend we received the Lymphoma news:
In my prayers I saw myself as the one holding a grudge and realized what I had to do.
I wrote a long letter to the one saying the things, absolving them of all the blame, I took it on myself and said that I misunderstood what had been said. I asked for forgiveness and said it was all my fault.
Anyway, I mailed the letter and have never heard a word back, I'm sure it was received but I was told they would probably ignore it.
They also have never called, sent cards or even asked about how Katie was doing, to this day they’ve still never acknowledged her Cancer.
So, the situation is no different from the standpoint of them and us. But, what’s most important is that I knew that I had to ask forgiveness for me, I needed to know that I could go to the Lord with as pure a heart as possible. I’m not perfect, I’m a sinner through and through but I’m also a Christian and I know that as a Christian I must be able to forgive and ask forgiveness, taking on the blame if the situation warrants it.
I tell you all this not because I think I’ve done a wonderful thing.....no, no, no, what I have done is to ensure that my heart is cleansed of anything that could keep me from Him. If I didn’t have Jesus I would simply cease to be, those aren’t just words, they’re the truth. Judy is nothing, Christ is everything.
I do challenge all of us to look closely into our hearts and undo any hurts that we possibly have caused or simply that others have caused but we’ve let those things fester until there is a separation from that person or just a silence, sadly I know there are those that I have hurt. We know that the Scriptures tell us not to harbor these things in our hearts, we are truly hurting ourselves much more than we could possibly hurt the other person. Below is a list of things that I felt led to pray about and clear up, I encourage you to do the same. I promise you it will ease your burdens, calm your spirit and lighten your heart but especially take away any stumbling blocks that would keep you from Him.
- if others have hurt you and there has been no communication: open the wires of communication with a heartfelt ‘I’m sorry’, whether it be from a hurt you caused or simply because you’re sorry the situation escalated to the silence, I promise you they will be open to clearing things up.
- if someone owes you money or made a promise they have not kept: forgive the debt or absolve them of their promise. This might be difficult, it might even be the biggest obstacle you could ever face and can’t imagine forgiving this. Do it anyway, not for the pride of being the bigger person but simply to keep the path to Christ clear for them and you. We do not ever want to be the stumbling block to someone else’s faith. Can you just imagine their surprise when you forgive this, it could be that they are really struggling financially or are simply not able to keep the promise, the relief they will feel will automatically cause them to thank Jesus and that’s exactly what we want.
- if someone has slandered you: let it go and make sure they know that you have let it go. Tell them you’ve forgiven them, they may not accept the apology but your heart will be cleansed.
- if I had 24 hours left to live and wanted to meet Jesus with a pure heart: who do I need to forgive, ask forgiveness from, apologize to or simply talk to so things can be cleared up? Maybe those folks have passed on, in that case we can do nothing but pray about it....but, I know that with most of us it is those closest to us, probably family...that we need to get things right with. The reason we have such strong feelings with family is because of the depth of emotion we feel with family, the hurts hurt worse and the love loves stronger, emotions just get put into overdrive.
I just want to encourage all of us to start the new year with a clean heart, knowing we don’t have to face these people and deal with awkwardness, silence or fighting. What a peaceful feeling we will have and when we pray, we’ll not have that nagging feeling inside knowing that we are holding on to things that we should not.
Most of you do not know this about me but I was married on my 18th birthday, the marriage ended after two disastrous years, most of that time we were separated. What you don’t know is that I was mentally, verbally and physically abused, I’m truly amazed I lived through it because a few times I was in pretty bad shape. Looking back I see that although I was not close to the Lord at the time, my sweet little Christian Mom was praying for me and I know that’s why I was not disabled or worse, thank you Jesus!
Anyway, I’ve never had contact with him since the divorce but I have forgiven him. I cried, I was on my knees crying out to the Lord, asking Him to take away the burden of it all, I forgave and have never ever thought about holding a grudge since. Believe it or not I cannot remember those times if I try to, the memories are gone but I know it happened. I believe the Lord took away those memories so I could move on, isn’t He just so merciful?
Anyway, our Katie is now cancer free. She still has things to deal with for quite a while but basically the treatments are over and have done their job.
What a year this has been, I wouldn’t want to live it over....but....I’m a completely changed person because of it. I no longer sweat the small stuff and as I know that everything can be fixed but death, I understand that most of the things I worried about before were so very insignificant. Yep, God is so very good!
To God be the Glory!