I have a couple of updates to post but have been away from the base all this week living on top of a mountain and this next week we will be away from the base living in a hotel in Cap Haitian for the week. I will update you on the week prior to the mountain first and if I have time and energy to do so - and it’s not incredibly long - I will update with the mountain top experience update as well. If not, we’ll get one week down this time, another next time, and then hopefully get caught up with updates from that point. We have been here for a full month as of today. So much is happening. God is at work! I can see significant changes in us all. It is so hard to believe on one hand that we have been here only a month and on the other it seems like we’ve been here forever. I am learning so many things that are changing my life and habits and I am really enjoying it. I have seen substancial and significant changes in Bryan as well.
We had a week on the Father Heart of God and I was really wondering what on earth this would look like for me as I didn’t feel I really had “daddy issues” and thus I don’t feel I have a wrong perspective of God as a bad father etc. Thankfully, growing up I found God at an early age and learned about his love for me and while I was away from my earthly father I learned that God was the best father a girl could ask for. I learned that he loved me better than anyone on this planet could and that he would never ever ever leave me or hurt me. So, that being said, I thought this week would be a refresher course for me and I would just get through it and hope for some sort of growth and seek further breakthroughs in future weeks. Boy, was I wrong! God is so good! He had something for me this week even when I thought it wasn’t likely.
This week was not mainly focused on “daddy issues” although we did touch on them as well as “mommy issues” and we acknowledged that our past does affect our future. I actually read a book that had a quote I loved in it and I’ll share that with you now. It was actually from Beth Moore if I remember correctly. It says: You cannot amputate your history from your destiny… my past is something Jesus takes hold of and makes in to a destiny; that’s called redemption. Beautiful! The book it was in was also a great read if you are looking for one - it is Mary Beth Chapman’s book Choosing to See. I could relate with her on so many levels and her story really touched me.
Anyway, we had a sweet father of 12 children and husband of one wife come and teach us about the Father heart of God - his name is Ray. I really felt like this week would be a breakthrough week for so many and that I needed to step back and watch God at work in the lives of others around me. I hoped to gain a little piece of something life changing but wasn’t really expecting much. As the week went on Ray talked a lot about past hurt and healing. He said something that hit home with me. He said when we don’t process hurt correctly we don’t open up; we don’t get to know others and they don’t get to know us. He then talked about how when you have a broken bone, for example, and it doesn’t heal right.. everyone knows it has to be re-broken - a painful but necessary process to ensure appropriate healing. He said he knows many people walk around in life saying “Oh, I’m good, been there, done that, got the T-shirt; I’m healed, I’m fine.” and yet the same old hurt rears it’s ugly head and we are broken and don’t know why it still is affecting us. He explained that it hasn’t healed fully or properly and may need a re-break and set.
I was dumbfounded by this. I have dealt with this all of my life where I pray over something and think that situation is resolved, I’ve forgiven, I’ve been healed, I move on and then it comes up again and I bawl my eyes out or start with the shakes all over again. I have been so frustrated with this process thinking it’s a one and done thing and wondering why I am still hurting from it if it’s been healed. I would get so upset with myself and feel like a failure in my faith or my walk since I am allowing those things to still hurt me. What he helped me to realize is that is not the case at all. The truth of the matter is, I was severely wounded and severe wounds take time to heal and sometimes lots of treatments to do so. I may have one level of healing in certain areas but God has more for me. I began to be real with the Lord and unpack some of those old hurts and wounds that have been festering inside of me for so long and really deal with them.
God revealed to me that I was still struggling with roots of unforgiveness in several areas of my life. While I may have forgiven some things, others I was holding on to. Why? I don’t know. Well, that’s not true, I do know. I do it because my flesh doesn’t want to let it go. I want to have the ammo ready for when that person wants to turn on me and hurt me again or hurt someone else that I can say “look what they did to me” or even to that person “look what you did to me” in hopes that they would truly be sorry and repent and then it’d be all good. Well, God got on me for that one. He reminded me that he gave his son for me for forgiveness of my sins long before I ever acknowledged I was wrong or said I was sorry. He reminded me that it’s not about them saying sorry. It’s about me moving forward in the freedom that comes with living a life according to his word and his ways. When we allow the Lord to use our warped structure, he can break it and fashion it into something truly beautiful. Jars of Clay.
With that being said, I spent several days talking with the Lord about what this looked like for me and how to process all of this. I took time to write a letter expressing my thoughts about it and why I do what I do and how I don’t like that. I then took time to write out offenses I’d held onto for no good reason. I felt such anger and anxiety when I did this and it just upset me so. I shared it with Ray, our teacher for the week, and told him how God was working on my heart and that I wasn’t quite ready for the next step yet but that this was a huge realization. Ray read my letter and my page of scribbles where I had wrote one offense over the other so it wasn’t legible and after a pause, he rubbed his face with his hands, holding back tears, he looked me in the eye and said, “I want to ask you for forgiveness on behalf of every man who has ever hurt you. I am sorry. You didn’t deserve any of it. What has been done to you is horrible and wrong and I am sorry.” I lost it right then and there. I sobbed and sobbed. I have been holding onto these things for so, so long hoping that someone out of the bunch would ask for forgiveness and admit the wrong they did and here was this man, who didn’t do a thing to me stepping up on behalf of all those who had and asking for my forgiveness. I couldn’t believe it. It took my breath away and as my body tempature began to rise with all of the emotions swirling around in me, I couldn’t do it. I said, “Wow. I don’t know why you would do that but thank you. I don’t even know what to think right now. I hope that I can forgive soon.”
It blew my mind that this innocent man would come to me and take the blame and seek my forgiveness for all the others who could care less or just haven’t come on their own. I saw Jesus that day in Ray. God reminded me that this, this is what Jesus did for me and for you. Long before we ever even knew we needed it; he did nothing and yet took the blame and the shame and he loved us fiercely and he took it all. I was so touched by this and it caused me to push further into the Lord and keep digging and get all the offenses that were buried deep and packed away in the darkest corners and get them out in the light. I did this and prayed over them and asked the Lord to help me to forgive them fully and finally. As I prayed over each one, I then pictured each person in my mind and looked them in the eye and said “I forgive you for….” This was such a freeing experience and I am so thankful the Lord brought it to mind. There was still one thing left to do though.. Ray’s request for forgiveness was still unanswered.
On our final day in class we took time to listen to the Lord in his love for us as his children. We sat down with pen and paper in hand and asked the Lord to tell us what he thinks of us. God was so good and gracious and loving. He lavished his love on each of us and we took time to share with one another the letters we got from our Daddy in Heaven. Once we shared Ray was there to give us a father heart hug and close out the week with that. Once I was done, I went to get my hug and as I did I was able to say.. “I forgive.”