A Gift of Forgiveness

It was this same time of year that my first RA flare happened 4 years ago.

Even as last week’s flare is subsiding, and the fire is being watered by the graceful help of my Lord, (and thank you for any who have lifted me in prayer this past week!) my mind has set to remembering a gift that was given in that first step into the world of chronic illness. . . .

 

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I had been praying with some precious people over some very hard and lingering issues that seemed to blot the light away from their eyes. Darkness hovered over me, threatening to swallow my own peace. When the pain first hit, my thoughts immediately fell to questioning whether I had allowed the enemy to send his darkness against me also. I asked for prayer, and sought to stand firm in God’s greatness and might over any attack the enemy might send.

The pain did not go away.

The heaviness in the lives of my friends did not lift either. In fact, both got worse. One morning as I was praying in the very rooms where a great injustice had happened to some of the people I cared deeply for, I felt my Lord calling me to follow Him as He walked through those hallways.

As I got up out of the chair I had been sitting in, I had a vision of my Lord walking in front of me, beckoning me to come with Him. I came to the first room in that awful hallway, and instead of feeling the need to pray over those ones who had suffered the injustice, I heard my Lord speak to me:

My daughter, look into your own heart, and see the bitterness that is lodged there. I am asking you to ask me for forgiveness for holding onto that. You have become bitter over the neglect and the hurt that was caused.

I was shocked at the unforgiveness that had lodged in my heart. I could not have been holding onto that, could I?  Oh, but I had. When I asked God to forgive me, the dam broke forth, and the tears spilled over. What a gift God gave me in His forgiveness! I walked the floor, touching each doorway where neglect and hurt had happened.  At the end of the hall, I saw the vision of Jesus again, this time turning and walking back through the hallway. I followed, and heard Him once again:

Can you ask me for that same gift for those who have wronged, and have been wronged? Can you ask that they also would cry out for my gift to be forgiven, and to be able to forgive?

Once again, the dam broke, and I touched each door, spilling my tears down that long way. What a precious gift to be able to join in the forgiveness that only Jesus brings.

But the vision did not end there.  The Lord still walked in front of me, but now, with His robes flowing behind Him, He walked out of the building and into the great wide world. It was only a few weeks later, and I left that building, also entering the world into a season of wideness. I just did not know it.

The RA diagnosis coincided with the leaving of that building.  For many months I felt the taunting lies of the enemy accusing me that the diagnosis might be some kind of condemnation for my leaving that hallway and that old life. My days certainly did not feel wide and open–no, they seemed tight and suddenly limited. Oh, but Jesus had such a different view!  He had granted me the gift of forgiveness, and it was His mercy that was walking me into a life of wideness that I had not known before: a life that was opened to ask questions that had lurked in the corners for too long.

What if we could see the days of the trial not as condemnation, but as gifts to be called deeper into His Fellowship?

Those friends I had been praying for were carrying a weight that felt as if somehow they must be doomed to live under a life of punishment for past wrongs. The taunts of the enemy from within their trials only seemed to confirm those ugly lies. But Jesus was beckoning them to find the gift of His forgiveness, and taste the beauty of His fellowship right there.

 

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 NIV

 

Just a few weeks ago, I was gifted a beautiful Devotional by Ann Voskamp, and these words fell open this week, as the memories of that first flare rumbled around in my mind:

 

“It’s a strange thing to find out your heart can explode with love and suffering and find out they’re kin in ways we don’t care to admit. I don’t know the way to put all these broken pieces back into place. Maybe that’s the point?

“Maybe this broken way is making something new. He is making all things new.”

Voskamp, Ann, (2017) Be The Gift, Zondervan Publishing, page 31

 

They are, after all, some of the last words that Jesus gave to us in His Written Word:

 

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

 

Although I no longer physically walk those old hallways, Jesus calls me to continue to pray for those I love there,  just as He calls me to pray for those I love in these new places where He has me walking now. Forgiveness, and being able to forgive, is a gift I pray for all of my loved ones to be able to embrace.

 

Is there a heaviness lingering in a dark place of your own prayers?

Perhaps Jesus longs to give you a wider view of His forgiveness, a gift from His own dear hands.

 

Would you join me in prayer today?

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for the gift of forgiveness that You have purchased for us with Your own blood, spilled out upon the cross. Thank You that we were never meant to continue under the weight of condemnation–You have always had forgiveness in mind.  Lord, we confess that we have held onto anger and bitterness, counting it necessary in the course of justice. But Lord we can never attain to justice, and the bitterness is a burden too heavy to carry any longer. We lay it down at Your feet, and in its place we receive Your forgiveness. Oh what a joy that You have blessed us with Your new life right here! You are making all things new, You are making us new. Thank You for the gift to be able to forgive, just as You have forgiven us.  Help us to walk forward in this wide way of living in You now.

In Your precious name we pray,

Amen.

 

 

 

When we taste the forgiveness Jesus pours over us, everything changes.

It becomes a gift to offer that forgiveness to others.

 

I am linking with:

#Teaandword

#Tellhisstory

#TuneInThursday

 

 

 

40 thoughts on “A Gift of Forgiveness

  1. “When we taste the forgiveness Jesus pours over us, everything changes.

    It becomes a gift to offer that forgiveness to others.”

    Amen! I find sometimes that it is harder to forgive ourselves even after we know Jesus has already forgiven us. May He make us aware of our sin and help us to confess and receive that loving forgiveness so we can forgive others, too.

    Bettie, I know this was a hard post to write. It’s hard to share our personal stories, but when Jesus calls us to, He always shows His power through our weakness. May your words touch many who need to hear your beautiful message.
    Blessings, love and hugs to you, dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Gayl,
      Oh you are so right that “when Jesus calls us to, He always shows His power through our weakness.” I am so grateful for your encouraging to be willing to step forward with Him, and to obey what He asks. He truly does have such a beautiful gift of forgiveness for us, even when we doubt Him there. That doubt doesn’t change Him. He is so much greater than we could ever know. Blessings, love, and hugs to you too, dear sister/poet/friend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dear Julie,
      I’m so sorry for the struggles that you are facing with your son now. But yes, that gift of forgiveness that God has poured over our own hearts brings us to our knees for those we love, doesn’t it? I’m joining you in prayer tonight for HIS love to cover you and your family. Hugs and Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Wendy,
      Oh those dark lines can feel so hopeless, can’t they? But what a gift Jesus brings as He lifts us out of that darkness and into the light of His forgiveness. I want to allow Him to show me more of the blessing of how deeply I’ve been forgiven, and be able to continue forgiving others with His love. Blessings to you too Dear Sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bettie, your prayers have so uplifted me this month. I will pray for your RA too. I suffer from it too; so I know the challenges you face. I am amazed at how the Holy Spirit can work greatly in our lives when we just open ourselves up to Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mary,
      I am so thankful that the Lord helps us to pray for each other on this RA path. Sometimes it feels so hard to keep going! I am amazed at the strength He is giving you to care for both your husband and your Mom, and other family members as well. May His Holy Spirit continue to carry you and work so greatly within you. You are a blessing to so many. Blessings and gentle hugs to you Dear RA Sister!

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    1. Dear Amy,
      Isn’t the Lord’s gift of forgiveness to us so much greater than we realize? I am thankful that He met you today, and helped you in the letting go. His grace is so overwhelming. May you be blessed today dear sister!

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  3. I walked those halls with you today Bettie. Wonderful writing of a time where forgiveness healed. And how it heals. Gosh, it isn’t easy to forgive when feeling hurt and bent toward justice! I’ve noticed that I have a harder time forgiving wrongs against what I value most like exclusion instead of inclusion, judgement before knowing the whole story, and overall dismissal (which I recently felt at a family event from someone who for the past few years refuses to say hello, look at me or talk to me making me feel very uncomfortable and…angry). I wonder if these are tactics of the enemy too, to distract? Wonderful post and prayers for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lynn,
      Oh yes, I can see that same tendency in myself, to hold onto that demand for justice, especially when it has been exclusion or dismissal of those I care for. Those especially tender places in our hearts that are highly valued are so easy to become the place of focus, to get distracted from the love of Christ that goes deeper than even those hurts. Thank you for your precious insights here. Even tonight as I am praying over another one’s hurting, I can see that same tendency rising up within me. OH! God is so good to wash us with His grace! Blessings and love to you Dear Friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bettie, I’m so glad you are feeling the water of God’s grace soothing the fiery pain. I long to learn more of how very deep God’s forgiveness towards us is. And also to forgive others as I have been forgiven. I love this searching question – “What if we could see the days of the trial not as condemnation, but as gifts to be called deeper into His Fellowship?” I long for this, too! May God give you further grace to soothe all your pain! Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Trudy,
      I am so very grateful that our Lord stirs those longings within us so that He can meet us right there! I am still longing for so much more of His grace to be poured into those areas of hurt where He wants to bring even deeper forgiveness. I am glad that we can pray for each other on this journey Dear Friend! Thank you for all of your care and encouragement that you send! Love and hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, Michele, He is all grace and mercy towards and over us. I would be so utterly lost without His tenderness as He has dealt with me. So thankful for your sweet comments here today, Dear Friend! Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Bettie, this was so moving. Praise God for His tender mercies, even confronting us with our own issues that we cannot see or address on our own. I have prayed similar prayers walking through hallways of past hurts and there is nothing like the spiritual release of Holy Spirit led forgiveness. I pray I will always see Jesus on the cross before me to anchor my perspective. Thank you for your ministry of prayer and words. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Thank you for your words of understanding. Our Lord is so gracious to pour His forgiveness over us, isn’t He? What a gift when Holy Spirit leads us into that spiritual release. I pray that I will continue to listen to Him as He uncovers more in my heart, and anchors my perspective on His cross as well! Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful words, sweet friend. Oh, how precious when we reach that point of being able to let it go and forgive! When we reach that moment that we want Him to increase more than we want to hold on to the grudge! It is a release like no other. May the Lord continue to bless you and take away your pain. Praying for you faithfully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Thank you so much for your precious prayers! They do mean so much to me. What a gift that He has given us to be able to pray for those we love, and to pray for His compassion to grow in us. It is that compassion growing that causes us to let go of more and more of those old ways of thinking. I pray that I will allow Him more and more access right there. You are a blessing! Love & Hugs Dear Friend.

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  7. Oh, Bettie, your moving testimony really hit home to my heart! As I pondered your words and the touching song you shared, I sensed Jesus saying that though I was able to extend forgiveness to others, I still have a hard time receiving it myself. Accepting we are fully forgiven by God and loved just as we are is something I often write about and truly believe. Yet there remains a disconnect between my mind and my heart to fully accept those things sometimes. Thank you for your courageous willingness to be so open and vulnerable. It paves the way for us to be touched by God’s goodness and grace as we read your honest thoughts.
    Dear friend, I’m always awed by your humble, gentle, caring spirit, God-given insight and wisdom. I know some of those attributes have come from the school of pain and problems. But they’re wonderful gifts, hidden in dark places, which we are blessed to witness as God encourages you to share them. May your pain be greatly eased as you rest in Him, while continuing to mine and receive new gems. Blessings, love, hugs and prayers! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joy,
      Oh your sweet comments are such a blessing and encouragement to me here. It is such a gift to receive that forgiveness that He has for us, and we just can’t imagine why He would give us His all-encompassing grace! It is hard to accept that from Him when we feel the weight of our own past and current mistakes. Oh but He is so persistent because His love goes so deep! I am so grateful for the ways that He rushes to us even in those smallest of glances. I know it is a daily lesson for me, to lift my eyes, when all I want is to look downward. Thank you for the support you bring, my friend, as you encourage me to press in closer to Him. Even the pain we bear is lessened as we press in to Him. Blessings, love, hugs, and prayers for you also! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your post is such a testimony to God’s power, Bettie. Only God can open our hardened hearts. I know I so often think I have fully forgiven, only for Him to take it deeper still. His power is just so stunning as He opens our eyes to see what He does. This is so precious: “and it was His mercy that was walking me into a life of wideness that I had not known before: a life that was opened to ask questions that had lurked in the corners for too long.” This is exactly what God has done for me too. So often we look with the eyes of the world and miss the depth of God’s love in the moment. I am thankful He slows us to notice and rejoice with Him. So thankful to walk this faith journey with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Anna,
      Oh I am so very thankful that you understand the beauty of letting Him take that forgiveness even deeper still! You are such an encouragement to me, as I open my heart and ask the Lord to help me be willing to share what He is doing. Your support has been such a blessing to help me to “slow and to notice and rejoice with Him.” This process of learning to lay down my striving is a daily journey, to learn more about resting and pressing into His heart. Love and Hugs and Prayers for you Dear Friend. xoxo

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  9. Hi Betty! I found your wonderful blog through Melissa McLaughlin’s blog pkst and I’m thrilled to meet you. I too struggle with chronic pain from TBI and understand the battle and struggle with chronic illness. I also take prayer requests on my blog so feel free to join. Post called ‘Come pray with me. ‘ God bless!🤗💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Vivian,
      Thank you for visiting and for your kind words! Isn’t God so good to weave our paths together with those who understand the trials we face? I am so glad that He calls us to pray for each other. Blessings to you Dear Sister! I’m heading over to your site now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! He is so good to lead us to others we can relate to, pray for and support! I’m so thankful! Awwww, you’re so welcome Betty! Blessings back and so glad to meet you today! Hugs!🤗💕

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts about forgiveness. God is so gracious even in the wilderness. It is easy to miss the gift of abundance right in front of us. I am praying for you and your friends as you face the wilderness and find abundance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mary,
      Oh yes, He is so gracious to us, and we do miss that abundance so often! I am so thankful for your prayers for myself and for my friends. Jesus is such a beautiful giver to us of all of His great blessings.

      Like

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