Thursday, October 25, 2012

She Has Served Her Sentence...

Here in Freeport, we are getting ready to field hurricane Sandy.  It's only a category 1 hurricane as of now, and it doesn't look like it will strengthen into anything worse before it hits the Bahamas, but nonetheless, we are preparing for a few days of bad weather.  What that means for us is that we'll be heading over to the Wellses for a night or two since their apartment has a generator.  Our power goes out when it only rains a little, so 90 mile an hour winds will most definitely knock it out.  So we're packing up the pup and headed that way.

This evening I was reading Angie's blog over at Gracefully Giddy and the title of her blog was Redeemed.  I just had to read it.  I found myself sort of looking for a word or two tonight.  I have had a rough week this week.  I have felt like I've just come out of a cage fight.  Both my eyes are black, my lips are bleeding, I can't see straight.  I am beat up, beat down, and just plain beat.  I've had to have Jonathan rub my back until I fall asleep at night these past few nights because I cannot turn my mind off.  I wake up in the morning and grapple for my Bible as soon as Jonathan leaves because I'm looking for a word, a little comfort, maybe an explanation.  And I do receive that from Him daily.  But it's always nice to stumble upon His words throughout the day.  So here's an excerpt from Angie's blog:

One word pierced my heart. Redeemed. We all know the word. I wanted to know more.
Redeemed is defined as:
to buy back
to free from captivity by payment of ransom
to release from blame or debt
to free from distresses or harms
to free from the consequences of sin
to change for the better.”
Did you read that? Isn’t that amazing? We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. He loves us so much that he released us to be free. God uses our imperfections for his glory. We are freed to leave the old and be a new person in Christ. We are redeemed.
The part about that post that spoke to me tonight is the part about being "released from blame or debt".  We all have things we regret in life.  We all have things that, if we were given the chance to go back, we would have handled differently.  All of us have been blamed, accused, charged...guilty.  But thank God we don't have to keep feeling like we aren't worth anything because of the mistakes we've made.  We are told that if we forgive, we'll be forgiven.  Free from blame, free from guilt.  Shame, guilt, worthlessness...those things are not from God.  They are the things that keep us from really feeling the warmth of His love for us.  His unconditional love!
But it must be said, that over the years I've learned a few things about what forgiveness means.  Forgiveness is really between you and God.  I get caught up sometimes in thinking that in order to really forgive someone, you have to resolve all your issues and want to spend a bunch of time with that person and skip through the daisies together.  But that's not the way it works.  Forgiveness frees YOU.  It's really not about the other person.  We are called to "turn the other cheek", but that doesn't mean we need to willingly show up to the next fight does it?  Forgiving someone is not contingent upon their reception of your forgiveness.  Meaning if I say "Hey, I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have treated you that way.  I was hurt by the way that you treated me, so I reacted that way, and that was wrong.  I've forgiven you and I'm asking that you forgive me," and mean it from the heart, yet the other person shoots you the proverbial middle doesn't mean that your forgiveness of them is negated.  It also doesn't mean that you have to continue receiving the blame and the judgement and the accusation until they decide you're forgivable. Honestly, you were freed from those things already because of the blood of Jesus Christ.  And God will deal with their hearts in His's between them and Him.  
But in order for me to brush myself off, tend to my wounds, and keep pressing forward, I have to cut some things lose.  I have to take that proverbial middle finger that I received this week and say, "Ok.  I've spoken my peace, I've prayed about it, and I have to move on."  Because these feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and shame that I've felt this week are NOT things from God.  It hurts His heart for any of His children to feel that way.  I have to believe that I've done what I can, said what I needed to, and that I just can't keep standing here like a weeble wobble getting the crap socked out of me and popping back up for more.  As if at some point in time there will be a "last sucker punch" and it will all be fixed.  Maybe the damage has been done.  Maybe things will be different in the future.  Maybe they won't.  I guess that's not for me to know...
In the meantime, I am receiving His REDEMPTION and accepting His forgiveness tonight.  Because in the end, no matter who you're struggling with, it is only His forgiveness that you need.  And lucky for us, He freely gives it!  I can't keep trying to field this pain and hurt.  I can't keep putting myself in the line of fire.  I can't keep being made to feel like this.  I can't keep pretending that everything will be better.  It's like putting a bandaid on a severed arm, honestly.  What I need is freedom from it, and my prayer tonight is that He would, with the Grace and Mercy that only He possesses, grant me that Peace that surpasses all understanding.  Because this one...I really cannot begin to explain...
"Comfort, oh comfort my people," says your God. "Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem, but also make it very clear That she has served her sentence, that her sin is taken care of—forgiven! She's been punished enough and more than enough, and now it's over and done with." --Isaiah 40:1

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