Project Forgiveness

I found this wonderful site call Project: Forgiveness.  It talks about what forgiveness is.  Who it’s for.  What do you do with it.

The film is a deep inquiry through stories of forgiveness from the forgiver and from the forgiven, stories of success, and stories still in progress. Each of these stories will unveil the power of true forgiveness.

The website addy for this is here!  I encourage you all to check it out.  Forgiveness isn’t about the other person….it’s for you.  It’s for your heart, your hurt, your release.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angeloufil

But I didn’t forget

Forgiveness isn’t for the perpetrator it’s for me.  It’s not letting him off the hook though.  Because he will forever be ingrained in my brain.

I was sexually abused starting around the age of 4 and lasted until I was 16 by a cousin and uncle.  I was physically and verbally abused by my brother all though out my childhood.  He would always put me down and call me names and use his wrestling moves on me.  He also did the WWE wrestling moves too.  Needless to say, I was bruised a lot.  I bruise easily to this day.

Anyway, I have had a hard time forgiving anyone for anything for a very long time.  Especially those three especially.  The first two, I have yet to forgive.  I haven’t made it that far yet.  But my brother, I have.  It took me years of therapy and lots of prayer.  Like I mentioned earlier, forgiveness isn’t for the one who hurt me.  He will have to live with all the things he did in his life forever.  Forgiveness is for me.  It takes the burden off my shoulders.  It sets me free.  It says “yes, you did this to me, but I am not going to let what you did, hurt me any longer.  I give that hurt back to you.  You own that hurt, not me.”  When that happened, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I felt a ton lighter.    Literally….I felt like a ton of weight was lifted from me.

Forgiveness is not an easy task.  It does take awhile.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  It takes a lot of work but it can be done.  I haven’t forgotten, but it doesn’t have a hold on me.  I can be in the same room as him and not be afraid anymore.

sometime I came across today

The person you’re mad at, the one you won’t forgive and you just can’t believe they did that, that person that you think is terrible and thoughtless, who will never become a better person, because they did something unthinkable, something you’d never do…get that person in your head. Now-

God loves that person as much as He loves you. His grace covers them with the same stroke of white paint that covered your dirt. That person is hurting and God grieves because of their pain. They don’t need judgment from you. They need love. Return the grace you’ve been given.

Scars: Reflective thoughts

After feeling like my heart getting stomped on last night, I have been quite reflective over the past hours.  Dreams and waking.  I woke up with tears.  I got K up and off to school.  In the shower more tears.  Love is more than just spending time with a man.  Love is more than just talking about our kids and work.  Love is more than touch and closeness.  Love is more than sex.

What is real love?  I don’t know.  I don’t know that I have ever known.  Well, maybe.  My parents may have been in what is called real love.  They were married for 32 years when my dad passed away.  I know for certain that they would be still married if he were still alive.  My dad was a hard man with the softest heart.  He had big hands but yet they were gentle.  He was very stern yet you could see gentleness in his eyes.  My mom is a wonderful woman.  It has taken my many years to see this.  Yes, we have had many years that we did not get along.  Same with my dad.  But yet, I admire them both.  I blamed them for years and years and years.

It wasn’t until my late 30’s that I realized that they did the best they could with what they had at that time.  With what they knew.  How they grew up.  My mom has only just recently told me stories of how it was when she was growing up.  I understand now, why somethings happened they way they did in my family.  That doesn’t excuse the things that happened, that just puts things into some perspective for me.  I am not so sure about my dad’s side of the family.  I don’t know many stories there.  But I do know that my grands were married for forever there.  Whereas my grands on mom’s side….g’pa was married 3 times.  hmmmmm.

Anyways, enough about that.

Love.  Why love me?  That is and has been a huge question for me in the past few months.  I thought  I was pretty content where and what I have been doing and being.  But my head has these old messages and “squirrels” as my friend Karen tells me they are called, that continue to tell me how ugly and stupid and horrible I am.  Then I look at my arms, my legs, my body.  I see SCARS.  I see more evidence of how I used to be so ugly and horrible.  Let me show you.

right arm scars

right arm scars

scars - left arm

scars – left arm

This is damage that cannot be undone.  When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, I dealt with my feelings of anger and frustration and well, any feeling I had by cutting.  Most needed stitches.  The one on my right arm needed surgery to fix.  I quit cutting for good in 2009.  I also have not been hospitalized for any mental health reasons since late 2009 after a miscarriage.

So scars.  They not only are on the outside.  But there are numerous on the inside of my body as well.  My heart is FULL of them.  Sometimes it feels like they will NEVER go away.  I know some have.  Because of forgiveness.  That is a very very hard thing to learn to do.  But forgiveness has been a so necessary thing in my life.  I can forgive another person as I have an abuser in my life.  My question is then, why is it so dang hard to forgive myself?

I go back to those damn squirrels in my head.  Those messages that keep telling me I am fat.  I am ugly.  I am worthless.  etc etc. etc.   How do I make it stop?  I do I forgive myself and let me like me for me?  How do I see myself as others see me?  How God sees me?  How do I let the opinions of other not hurt me, like what happened yesterday?  How do I not let that determine my worth?

Here is what I have found and I am not sure what to do with it yet but I am going to keep trying.

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stop beating ourselves up.   I am reading this book called “There Is Nothing Wrong With You: Going beyond self-hate”  by Cheri Huber.  There is some of what she has to say:  Think about it!  Which person wants you to run and which person wants you to not to run?  There is no mystery in this, folks!  It’s not hard to pick out which characters are in which camp.  Internally or externally! The person at the Bank of Self-Hate DOES NOT LIKE YOU!  It’s important to get that!

It’s not like this person is really pulling for you to get enough money in the bank to do something special for yourself. NO!  This person will never give you a dime.  You will work yourself to death, and you’ll never get a thing for it.  It is really important to understand that!
If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago….   it seems so clear, but because that voice from inside our own heads, we are actually willing to perpetuate the illusion that this person:

-is on our side

-likes us

-has something valuable to say

-has some sort of merit in life.

But it doesn’t.

It is to be pitied.  It is a pathetic thing, It is very sad.  It needs rest and care and nurturing.  It does not need to be in charge of anybody’s life.  And so you can address it with calm and soothing words, as you would a suffering person.

You don’t let it run your life. You don’t let it sign on your bank account.  You don’t let it arrange your calendar.  You don’t even let it cook for you.  Anytime that voice is talking to you that is not talking with love and compassion, don’t believe it!  Even if it is talking about someone else, don’t believe it.  Even if it is directed at someone else, it is the voice of your self -hate.  It is simply hating you through an external object.  It can hate you directly by telling you  what a lousy, rotten person you are and it can hate you indirectly by pointing out what’s wrong “out there”.

If the voice is not loving, don’t listen to it. don’t follow it, don’t believe it.  NO EXCEPTIONS!

Even if it says it’s “it’s for your own good,” it  is not.  It’s for is good, not yours.  This is the same as when parents talk to you in a hateful tone of voice “for your own good”.  It’s for their good.  It make them feel better.  It does not make you better.  (And it does not make you behave “better”)

——-

This book is good….very good.  It’s more of a book of an ongoing conversation…..between 2 people….like arguing with yourself.  Check it out.

So anyways, I need to heal some more scars.  My heart needs some healing.  God is out there today.  He has “appeared” in many ways this morning alone.  In my devotions…I read about God’s word heals my heart so I can do my purpose.  I have a Bible verse bandage for today:  Romans 8:28  “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.  He appointed them to be saved in keeping with his purpose.”

Then……my verse of the day from YouVersion.com came to me earlier too:  Ephesians 1:13-14  ”  You also became believers in Christ.  That happened when you heard the message of truth.  It was the good news about how you could be saved.   When you believed, he marked you with the seal.  The seal is the Holy Spirit that he promised. The spirit marks us as God’s own. We can now be sure that someday we will receive all that God has promised.  That will happen after God sets all of his people completely free.  All of those things will bring praise to his glory.”

Then…….my verse of the day from KTIS (the Christian radio station here in the Cities) popped up awhile ago with this:  1 Cor 1:8  “He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.”

If that doesn’t say something for me today…I don’t know what does?  If God is for me….who can be against me?  I think it’s time to let the healing begin.

I also want to share a song by Mandisa that she wrote about scars.  It’s a beautiful and wonderful song.  I know that Steven Curtis Chapman also has a beautiful song called Scars too.  You Tube it.  it’s awesome.

Say “I’m sorry”

I woke up this morning and the first words out of my mouth was, “I’m sorry”.  It’s been kind of weird morning.  Saying “I’m sorry”., is more than just words.  It’s about doing something where you have wronged someone.  I sometimes think I am doing the right thing, but then ends up not so much.  Reminds me of the verse from Ephesians 4:32 – 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Sometimes I wonder about the things I say.  Does it really make a difference?  I have to say yes.  Never before have I been as bold as I am now.  This is not to say that I don’t mis-speak many times, but I am feeling more.  A while ago during the healing process and many times of thinking, I realized that I won’t apologize anymore for how I feel.  Feelings are not right or wrong, they just are.  Not good or bad either.  Now when I talk about how I feel and blow up and hurt someone, that is not right and I will apologize for how I said whatever it was I said.  That’s called life.

My heart is open to the opinions of others.  It’s doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything but I will acknowledge what is being said.

Something has happened inside my heart.  God has opened me to the realm of possibilities.  I wonder what God has in store for me.  I look ahead a bit and see graduation from UNI.  What’s next?  I’m not sure.  God has opened doors that I never thought I would have the opportunity to even fathom the idea.  But He has.  Sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much.

‎~One Day at a Time~

Whatever the goal we’re pursuing,
no matter how rugged the climb,
we’re certain to get there
by trying our best,
and taking One Day At A Time.

“Forever” is hard to imagine,
“the future” may seem far away-
but every new dawn
brings a wonderful chance
to do what we can on that day.

~Emily Matthews

(thanks Trey for a beautiful picture)

From an amazing Friend….Angie!!

I got this from Angie today.  I am unsure if she wrote it or if it came from some book she read.  But it so fits my life right now.  I am going to type it exactly as it is written on this paper.  Enjoy.

————————————————————————-

I know you’re tired.  I know you feel overwhelmed.  You may feel as though this crisis, this problem, this hard time will last forever.

It won’t.  You are almost through.

You don’t just think it has been hard; it has been hard.  You have been tested, tried and retested on what you have learned.

Your beliefs and your faith have been tried in fire.  You have believed, then doubted, then worked at believing some more.  You have had to have faith even when you could not see or imagine what you were asked to believe.  Others around you may have tried to convince you not to believe in what you were hoping you could believe.

You have had opposition.  You have not gotten to this place with total support and joy.  You have had to work hard, in spite of what was happening around you.  Sometimes, what motivated you was anger; sometimes fear.

Things went wrong – more problems occurred than you anticipated.  There were obstacles, frustration, and annoyances en route.  You did not plan on this being the way it would evolve.  Much of this has been a surprise; some of it has not been at all what you desired.

Yet, it has been good.  Part of you, the deepest part that knows truth, has sensed this all along, even when your head told you that things were out of whack and crazy, that there was no plan or purpose, that God had forgotten you.

So much has happened, and each incident – the most painful, the most troubling, the most surprising – has a connection.  You are beginning to see and sense that.

You never dreamt things would happen this way, did you?  But it did.  You have learned patience.  You never thought you could have it, but now you know you do.

You have been lead.  Many were the moment when you thought you were forgotten, when you were convinced you had been abandoned.  Now you know you have been guided.

Now things are coming back into place.  You are almost at the end of this phase, this difficult portion of the journey.  The lesson is almost complete.  You know – this lesson you fought, resisted, and insisted you could not learn.  Yes, that one.  You have almost mastered it.

You have been changed from the inside out.  You have been moved to a different level, a higher leve, and a better level.

You have been climbing a mountain,  It has not been easy, but mountain climbing is never easy.  Now, you are near the top.  A moment longer and the victory shall be yours.

Steady your shoulders.  Breathe deeply.  Move forward in confidence and peace.  The time is coming to relish and enjoy all which you have fought for.  That time is drawing near, finally.

I know you have thought before that the time was drawing near, only to learn that it wasn’t.  But now, the reward is coming.  You know that too.  You can feel it.

Your struggle has not been in vain.  For every struggle on this journey, there is a climax, a resolution.

Peace, joy, abundant blessings, and reward are yours here on earth.  Enjoy.

There will  be more mountains, but now you know how to climb them.  And you have learned the secret of what is at the top.

God has seen your efforts to live in peaceful serenity, in the mountain climbing.  He knows you have done well.

—————————————————————————

My thanks to Angie.  For enduring the last 5 years of climbing with me.  To Karen, who has seen the worst of me, yet continues to see the best.  For my mom and Katey for loving me despite everything I have said and done.  I love you more today than ever, ever before.

Thank you God for giving me all the tools I need to get where I need to be in this life.  Thank you to all my friends wherever you are in the world, as you too have impacted my life in some way.  The memories I have prove it.

You Can Achieve True Forgiveness!!

Imagine holding one of these water jugs for every resentment you hold, grudge you cling to and strong judgment you cast. How much weight would you be carrying? What stops you from putting this down?

Forgiveness is a form of letting go.  Many view forgiveness as a form of giving in, condoning or weakness; as though forgiving others will lead to further disrespect or abuse. By not forgiving, we are actually harming ourselves more than the original hurt. We think that the person we need to forgive will hurt more if we don’t forgive.   When we forgive others, we release the pain along with the judgment and then we are free. The one who has harmed us has to continue to carry that within their consciousness. So why would we choose to carry this too?

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that the boundaries you have already set up with that person is non-existent, it just means it teaches us to expand our own inner knowledge and trust. Every experience that I’ve had is an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop compassion. Without forgiveness, I would become hardened and bitter, and eventually shut down from life.  Which is something I have regularly done before.

Not forgiving others weighs us down and blocks us from loving ourselves and others. Who are you still hurt by, angry with or carrying resentment towards? How does this affect you mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually? What is the payoff for withholding forgiveness? What is the cost? What would you have to let go of or embrace in order to forgive others?

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32, NKJV

Forgiven people forgive, because they are eternally grateful for the grace of God’s forgiveness in their heart. They are aware that outside of Christ, they are doomed to a cycle of unforgiveness—lost in their sins. The Lord raised them up forgiven, so they in turn can forgive. Forgiveness on earth flows from forgiveness in heaven. It is something to be passed on today, not to be stored away for some unique future occasion.

Hebrews 12:1   1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us

Matthew 6:14  14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.

Matthew 18:21-22    21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”  22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

If there are people in your life that you need to forgive, take the steps needed to forgive them.

These steps are taken from LifeChurch.tv Talk It Over series on “Getting Past Your Past”. http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch/getting-past-your-past/2

God loves me no matter what.  I am walking, living, breathing proof of that.  When I was in the pit of depression and anxiety and fear…He was still there waiting for me.  The act of forgiving is for me.  Not the other person.  It has set me free.  I no longer feel like I have that ton of weight on my shoulders.  I am finally free.  You can do that too.

•Thank God for the power of His forgiveness in your 
life. Tell Him how it has changed you. 
•Pray for those you need to forgive. Ask God to help 
you as you begin the process of forgiveness.
•Ask God to help you remove the stains on your 
heart that have been created by your bitterness.
•Tell God the things that are holding you back from 
forgiving others. Ask Him to help you remove these 
things.
•Confess your sins and ask God for His forgiveness 
in cleansing you of your sins.