I was eleven, twelve, thirteen... and many of the teen years that follow. The words spewed at me were often delivered through clenched teeth and eyes full of seething anger... with shaking hands. I used to stand there, in the wind of it all, taking it in the face, and wondering deep within... What-have-I-done-to-ignite-such-fury? The confusion would often leak out onto my face and another match would be lit and her fire would rage hotter.
And then it would happen. I would hear the answer. Plain as day... in my mind... and on it's way to my heart. "You are bad." "You are so bad, you don't even see it." "Anything good in you is bad in disguise and she sees it." "Your very presence here is what ignites this fire." "She hates you." "You are hated." "Others hate you too." "You are alone and no one will save you." "You will always be bad."
I didn't know about taking every thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5) So I lied in bed in darkness, and those thoughts sang me to sleep each night and I listened to them over and over and over. They greeted me each morning and were confirmed with silent treatments, hard glares, and thick coldness. They followed me to school where they invited my friends into the symphony and new songs were born. But always with the same chorus.
Those words burned their imprint on my heart and I carried them into adulthood. Their shadow was seen in almost every aspect of my life. Until I realized forgiveness stood before me, holding a beautiful basket of goodies. Erasers in every shape and color, soapy wash clothes, and my favorite... the "Magic Eraser" I use to attack the stubborn stains that just don't want to let go of their mark. She offered a basket full of items for cleansing... deep clean cleansing.
And in her hand, she offered a tiny key. A key that seemed almost too easy... to good to be true. It fit every lock on every chain those words had ever wrapped around my heart. She offered freedom.
As I prayed to forgive the one who wounded so deeply with words, my eyes were opened and grace hovered like a beautiful and gentle morning fog. Every memory of various situations started going through that fog of grace and suddenly my pain turned into compassion.
Compassion caught me so off guard and yet it enveloped me and peace followed quickly behind her. They were transforming my wounder before my eyes. The cloak of her fury fell to the ground and there it was... her own pain, hurt, disappointments, confusion, bitterness, loneliness, and fear... her own wounds exposed... and they were raw.
Simply from taking the key in hand, having the faith to use it, diligently seeking every lock on every chain... not content to skip just one, I stood there in the glory of freedom and unexpected compassion. And I felt it deep. And it healed me. And I rejoiced and was left in awe of His presence.
Today, on our sweet second day of praying through November, we are walking forward into a sea of wounding words. Words that linger in our minds and replay at what seems to be the most random times. Sometimes they whisper. Sometimes they scream. Sometimes we can quickly shrug them off. Sometimes we invite them in... and they bring along a string of friends who start their own little party in our mind, in our heart. And they are not the friends we would choose. They come with smiling faces but are quick to wound. And the wounds gash deep, most often catching us so off guard, and we have little, if anything, for defense.
What wounding words surface from time to time in your mind, reopening wounds that you had hoped to forget, to keep buried deep? Go there. That's where we are going... into a sea that offers beauty and majesty on one hand and a drowning death with the other. A sea where we find ourselves swimming without actually remembering when we entered in. A sea where a strong sweeping current lurks in the spaces beneath us, just waiting for the perfect time to grab hold and drag us under.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23~ One version of translation says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." And yet another, "Be careful how you think, your life is shaped by your thoughts."
I love that last version, the Good News version. It offers wisdom so clearly. Our thoughts shape our life. Our hearts and minds are so intertwined they dance together always. The enemy knows this and so he is the master of delivering wounding words, lies that shape and mold us. And instead of going for the jugular, he attacks our thoughts and goes straight for the heart. And he cleverly uses those around us to deliver his strikes... adding an element that extends an extra punch to each and every hit.
Who has wounded you with words? We need to go there, we need to let forgiveness take hold of us and protect us from the sweeping current just beneath our feet. She is our life preserver and she will keep us afloat.
All of us have someone in mind.
Forgiveness is standing before you today. She is holding a basket of goodies with your name on it... each and every one of your names. And everything she offers is free. And it is good. And it is true.
I ask you, dear friends, dear precious friends, whom I can see clearly, take that tiny key from forgiveness and walk into your sea of words. Your Father is holding your hand. You will not go under. Do not be afraid. Fear has no place here.
Pray to forgive the deliverer of those words. Pray for God to open your eyes to see that person as He sees them. Let specific situations come to surface. They HAVE to come to the surface in order to be seen and captured. In all these situations, speak forgiveness aloud for the wounds given. Pray that your forgiveness can flow freely and release you from the chains that have wrapped around you for so long. Pray for strength to carry you onward. This may not happen in an instant. You may have to walk into this sea numerous times, but walk... go there... as many times as necessary... until you find Freedom waiting at waters edge to wrap you in her warm towel of peace.
You are not alone. You are never alone. Ask the Father to walk this with you. He will. He wants your freedom even more than you want it.
Here are some verses that have brought me strength. If you need some help... turn here.
Psalm 29:11~ Psalm 37:39,40~ Matthew 6:14,15~ Luke 17:3,4~
I am thrilled and overflowing with joy with the fact so many of you went swimming with me yesterday. Better yet, you jumped off the high dive and swam low... searching for pearls offering the gift of self-grace. If I could meet you at waters edge with a large, soft, fluffy, warm towel. And I would wrap you tight in one of my hugs (I am a hugger) and hold you for a while. Your friendship and courage inspire me.
Walking and praying with you today...
*A small post edit full of mercy... this person was not my mother.
*A small post edit full of mercy... this person was not my mother.