This has been a great week. I finally got back into my exercise routine, we are doing strategic planning at work and my relationship with Terry is really blossoming and I continue to see God working in both of our lives. For so long I struggled with receiving love and could not understand why. As I have continued to study Love; how to love myself, how to love God and how to love others I have witnessed my prayers being answered in ways I never dreamed possible.
Last night Terry and I celebrated our two year anniversary. I have to tell you when I reflect back over the past two years I have witnessed many changes in us both. We are no different than anyone else in a relationship as we have had to learn how to communicate how we feel, what our fears are and grow together. I would love to tell you the journey has been easy but that would be a lie, just ask my friends!
When I entered into this relationship I had many issues. I was insecure in who I was, I had preconceived ideas on how this relationship should be, I was selfish and I had so much baggage that I was carrying around and I refused to let it go. The walls that I had built to protect myself had become the very walls that were now keeping me captive. Although I did not want to be these things I did not know how to change myself. In order for me to change I had to face the truth about myself. I actively begin seeking God about what was wrong with me. Why did I continue to hold onto the past things that hurt me....Why could I not move forward....
We have all heard the saying "you can't give away what you don't have" all of our lives; well this became very real to me as I realized I did not love myself. I did not think I was worthy of love when I looked at all the mistakes I had made, the rejection I had experienced, the pain from words that were spoken to me and over me that continued to play over and over in my mind. I had spent most of my entire life looking for the approval of my father. Just wanting to hear the words "I am proud of you" or "You did a great job" but those words never came. I am sad to say that I will never get to hear those words on this side of my journey as my father died suddenly seven years ago. Since I could not get what I felt I needed there I turned my attention to other things; my ex-husband and my career. Again, I found that neither of these things filled the empty void of pain and rejection that I was carrying around. I went through a very painful and humiliating divorce six years ago and during that process I also lost my job, the very things I had built my identity upon.
The next several years would be life changing for me. I had to learn to forgive! A very easy word to say but not easy to do. Forgiving others and forgiving ourselves cannot be done in our own strength. Matthew 6:14 says "If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." That is a pretty strong command. If we continue to hold onto the past, the pain and the hurt by always keeping records and refusing to let it go, then God cannot forgive me. This was an eye opener for me!
I began searching scripture, reading books and praying that God would help me forgive those who had hurt me. In John Bevere's book Bait of Satan I began to see that the purpose and plan that God had when He gave us this commandment was to free me, not the offender. Forgiving others does not justify or make their actions right, it does not mean that when you forgive them you are saying what they did was okay, forgiving them is saying I choose to let this go with God's help and I choose to not dwell on those words, actions or deeds, I choose not to let this define who I am. Forgiving is a choice but it is not something we can do on our own. The power of prayer and the power of God's word is our weapon.
Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7
God promises to help us in our time of need and I can't think of a time I needed Him more. And He was there with me every step of the way. It has been a long journey and yes there are still times today that those thoughts will creep back into my mind and I will find myself getting short of breath, getting anxious, remembering all those hurtful moments and if I let it, I will be back in those memories in an instant. This is when I must decide to either wallow in my past; or move on to the future God has before.
Which brings me back today! Oh can I tell you I am learning to love myself; not in a prideful and selfish way but learning to know who I am in Christ. Learning to accept myself faults and all. Learning to deal with the things God is asking me to change and when I stumble and when I fall knowing that He will be there to help me. I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned and the faith I developed during those trials. And when I come to my next "ledge" in life I will have faith and trust that God will be there to see me through.