It had been a rough Saturday night at our house and on Sunday morning a frazzled, someone-help-me-with-my-wife hubby, called in the troops at church. The reconnaissance team, the wearers of spiritual armor, the warriors in prayer.
This was a season of change in our lives, coming on the heals of some rough, REALLY ROUGH, spots in our marriage. We had just moved to a new home, in a new community, with new jobs for both of us, and a newly emptied family nest . . . It took an upending of life as I knew it to bring my deeply buried pain to the surface.
Welcome to FREEDOM FRIDAY – A devotional, emotional, spiritual and sometimes hysterical series that I will be sharing on occasional Fridays, in addition to my regular Old Things New posts. Why? Because though once bound in chains Christ has set me free – FREE to live, to love, to dance, to sing, to be who God created me to be!
In my last FF post, When You’re Not Enough, I shared with you steps I’ve taken to overcome my feelings of not measuring up to the unrealistic standards I’d set for myself of what it is to be “enough”. One of those steps was to confess past sin and believe that the shame, guilt and condemnation I carried no longer had power or authority over me.
I’ve learned that this is easier said than done for many. Have you ever spoken these words?
“I will never forgive myself for . . .”
“I still live with the guilt of . . .”
“I have so many regrets.”
“If only I had . . . “
Working through the pain in my life wasn’t an overnight process. Coming to a place of healing took time and, even now, I have occasional setbacks, little twinges, but nothing like the CRAZY we had to go through during those initial months of prayer ministry and counseling.
It was eleven years ago that we sat in a room after church with three friends who cared enough to give up their own plans to stay and spend the afternoon with me. . . I figure they were either moved by my husband’s desperation or they saw the depth of pain in my eyes which I could no longer hide. . .
After hearing about my current pain we talked some about my past (sometimes you do have to start at the very beginning). After talking for awhile they asked me some questions about forgiveness:
Had I forgiven all those who had harmed me? Had I asked God to forgive me for harboring resentment against them?
What? Forgiven myself? Really? I’d never heard of self-forgiveness.
After a little explanation we went to prayer. The leader of this prayer team sat down with me, face-to-face, knee-to-knee, praying. His wife stood behind me agreeing in silent prayer.
This is where it gets weird. Freaky for others to hear about but especially freaky for me . . . the one who was there being prayed for.
As I repeated the words to a prayer of self-forgiveness, deep feelings of agitation began to rise up in me. When I tried to speak words of forgiveness toward myself I had trouble choking the words past the hard knot in my throat. My breathing became labored. I wanted to escape and, in fact, my physical body began to rise right up out of that chair. It wasn’t something I was making happen, my body seemed to have a will of it’s own. The wife placed her hands gently upon my shoulders and commanded my body to be still.
I settled back in the chair, the feeling within me stilled. I spoke out boldly then, finishing my prayer of self-forgiveness and thanking God for the new thing He had done in my life that day.
In that moment it felt like a heavy weight was lifted and glorious peace poured down on me.
This was only the beginning of the process of healing that was to take place in my life over the next several months, but this step was a HUGE and very memorable part of the process.
Maybe you’re like me and so many others and you don’t feel like you can forgive yourself. Maybe you feel like you’ve sinned more than those around you or that the magnitude of your sin is greater. Believe me, I know and understand what you’re feeling.
So LISTEN to this . . .
God our Father gave His only Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins. His blood was shed to cover all our sin . . . no matter how great . . . past, present, and future . . . PERIOD!
It was extravagant, this gift of the Father to me and to you.
So how dare we throw our sin in the face of Father God and say that the blood of His Son was not enough? How dare we presume to think that OUR sin is bigger than the Father’s great gift of forgiveness? It seems to me that it is pure arrogance to continue to declare that He is not enough!
Our Pastor Roy says, “Amazing grace is the last breath of Jesus as He gave His life on the cross.”
PRAYER . . .
Thank you Papa God for your extravagant gift, the lifeblood of your Son Jesus, that paid for all my sins. Forgive me for not believing that your grace is sufficient for me. I believe. Help my unbelief.
Dear [insert your name here], beloved of the Father. chosen and redeemed by and for Him. I am so, so sorry that I’ve held you captive to the past by refusing to forgive you and by hanging on to the sins of the past. [Your name], I forgive you now for everything you’ve ever done that has caused you to live with shame, guilt, and self-condemnation. I release you to live in the freedom that God has called you to, for it is for freedom that Christ has set you free. I choose this day to stand firm in my freedom and never be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. No longer will I believe the lies of the enemy when he calls to mind the things that are past. No longer will he have any power or authority over me through past memories. From this day forward I choose to believe that I am who God says I am, holy and righteous before Him, through the blood of my Savior Jesus. Amen.
An oft repeated saying in Freedom Session is, “The only way through the pain is through the pain.” This is truth. You can bury the pain and live with the consequences forever or you can allow it to rise to the surface where it can be dealt with forever by the healing power of Christ! A great way to begin the healing process is to forgive yourself.
There are many good healing ministries to lead you on your way to freedom. I have a special place in my heart for Freedom Session because of the difference it has made in my own life, both as a participant and a director. Click HERE for more info.
I have been know to link to the following Inspirational Parties:
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Wednesday Prayer Girls Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays A Little R & R Whole Hearted Home So Much at Home Mom’s Morning Coffee Women with Intention Coffee for Your Heart Capture Your Journey
Thursdays Serving Joyfully/Thriving Thursdays The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop I Choose Joy Live Free Thursday Thought Provoking Thursday Imparting Grace
Fridays A Look at the Book Christian Mommy Blogger Fellowship Fridays Blessing Counters Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays Faith & Fellowship Bloghop Grace & Truth Linkup Grace&TruthSharingRedemption’sStories Dance With Jesus The Weekend Brew
Saturdays Still Saturday The Weekend Brew Saturday Soiree Recommendation Saturday Make My Saturday Sweet
Sundays Spiritual Sundays Sunday Stillness
All photos taken at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California and shared with written permission from California State Parks.