Day 34: The Heart of the Matter is Forgiveness

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Today is Saturday and I’ve been up since 4:30 AM. Why? I don’t know for sure, but I have a few theories.

Theory #1: My 42-year-old, soon to be 43 year-old bladder is not what it once was. When I have to tinkle, I gotta get in there and do it like pronto, no messin’ around or else there will be a mess. This might be too much info, but I’ve been known to pee myself on the front porch because I waited a little too long to use the facilities. So this morning when my bladder alarm sounded, I was up and at em’.

Theory #2: I have a lot to do today and God needed to have a talk with me before I embarked upon this busy Saturday. Some of my priorities have gotten out of order, and well…I needed a bit of loving correction. And, I am happy to report that I took it like a champ. I received what was being said and now I am moving on in hopes of becoming that better person.

Theory #3: And the winner, winner chicken dinner; I’m gonna go with a combination of the two. So, here I am, an hour later blogging for the first time in almost two weeks. I am woman, hear me roar. I feel like the Energizer Bunny on coffee…gallons coffee. But I am fairly confident that today’s blog will touch many, even uplift and inspire some, so here goes.

Today I want to talk to you about forgiveness. Yes, again. Don’t roll your eyes, just hear me out. I must admit that when my devotional this morning was on forgiveness, I was a little irritated. I mean, I’ve been working really hard on forgiving others, myself and asking people for forgiveness. I seriously thought that I was working overtime in this area and was evolving into a master of amnesty. Then, two names popped into my head and there it was.

I have been harboring resentment and unforgiveness for two of my best friends, more like sisters, for over five months. When we house any form of unforgiveness or resentment, things aren’t right. Our lives are out of sync and we block our blessings. For me, it’s like an uncomfortable itch that absolutely will not go away until it is dealt with. This itch has become excruciatingly painful, so today is the day of reckoning and I do believe part of the reason for my 4:30 AM wake-up call.

In August we moved from the town that my husband and I and our four children grew up in. I was in the midst of my alcoholism and I had successfully isolated myself from many people. I didn’t want them to know that I was drinking everyday and if I didn’t see or talk to them, my secret would remain safe. Besides, we were busy with the move and that would be good enough reason to avoid them.

On August 4th, I had my tonsils removed and I promised myself that I would stop drinking. And I did… for about six days. But in those six days, I allowed the devil to come in and take hold of my thoughts and plant some pretty vile seeds. In my mind, I became the victim of a “friendship violation.” How dare my friends not come and visit me while I was recuperating from my surgery. How horrible they were for not making me broth and bringing me flowers and sending me to my new life on a float with a parade in my honor. Duh…I was ready to receive them in my life again. I was free of alcohol; didn’t they know this?

And I swear to you, some form of this pity party continued until just this morning. The difference is; today I did not RSVP. Nope, I sent off two text messages at 6:33 and 6:35 AM and asked my two friends/sisters to forgive me for harboring this resentment towards them. And guess what happened? Those chains were broken and I have been set free. My heart is lighter and my “itch” is gone. I’m not kidding. Gone! And I refuse to take it back.

Newsflash: We should let go off all fear after we ask for forgiveness. Remember how Joseph’s brothers feared retaliation from him after their father’s death? He had already forgiven them, but they had not fully received his forgiveness. They threw themselves at his feet and begged for absolution again. Joseph was moved to tears by their pleas and then reassured his siblings that his grace and mercy remained in tact and nothing would change that.

By the world’s standards, Joseph had every right to make his brothers pay heartily for selling him into slavery. But Joseph didn’t live by the world’s standards and neither should we. He knew that God had a plan for him even in the darkest of times. And he knew that the actions of his brothers were meant to harm him, but that God intended it for good. That is faith, my friends.

I am hopeful that my sisters will allow God to take the ashes of our friendships and turn them into beauty.  I think that is the hope of most people when asking for forgiveness. Still, we cannot allow their decision about whether or not to grant us clemency to influence our decision to ask for it. If they decide not to forgive us, that’s okay. It’s not the outcome that we desire, but it is and will continue to be okay. God loves us that much and if a void is left, He will fill it if we allow him to.

Today, do yourself a favor. Take a forgiveness inventory. If there are people that you need to forgive, or people that you need to apologize to, talk to God about it. He will help you find the peace that only authentic forgiveness can bring. Open your heart to Him and allow Him to gift you with the necessities for your own forgiveness journey.

One thing is for sure; forgiveness is a gift and so is sobriety. My journey is allowing me to clean out my closets and dust off the cobwebs in my life. And with that comes clarity of heart, soul, spirit and mind. And for this, I am truly blessed and so are you.

My cup runneth over. I hope yours does, too.

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The Past is the Past is the Past is the Past

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The past is the past. Those were my first thoughts when I woke up this morning. Well, that and the fact that my dogs were more comfortable in my bed than I was because they had more room and more pillows than me. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our fur babies!

I laid in bed for a few minutes and my mind drifted back to my first thought. I was a bit irritated because I already know that the past is the past. A piece of my blog yesterday was dedicated to just that. So, why was I fixated on this statement?

“Okay, God. I need a download here.” And so it began.

Today is day eighteen of my sobriety and one of my focuses has been allowing myself to really “live” life in the here and now, without beating myself up for past mistakes. And believe me, there are a lot of them. Though I am a work in progress, I am allowing God to show me the difference between conviction and condemnation. God convicts, or gently corrects, satan condemns. Slowly, but surely, I am understanding and happily accepting this. You should, too. It’s freeing and there have been several times where I have stopped in my tracks when the condemnation tried to saturate my entire being.

“No, no, no.” I said it out loud and it shifted my entire mindset.

Whatever I did, did is past tense, it is done. I will not relive it. I will not take another beating over it. I will not let it muddy up today’s clear waters. It’s over, it’s done, I learned from it, took what I needed from it and now I am moving on. Perfect.

There it is Lord. I think I’ve got a fairly decent handle on the “past is the past” lesson. Of course, like any life lesson, review sessions are necessary and I will participate fully when these opportunities present themselves.  As a recap, whenever the the ugly deeds I did in the past try to rear their dead, ugly heads, I will dust my feet and move on.

Perfect. Ummm…not so fast. Thankfully, our pasts are not solely made up of ugly, dastardly mistakes and deeds. Our pasts are a culmination of everything that has happened in our lives. At this point, I needed to digest what God was sharing with me. I got up, made coffee, pulled out my laptop and began taking notes.

“Quit hanging on to the past. Let it go…all of it.”

Wait, all of it? The good stuff, too? But, I like thinking about and reminiscing about the good stuff. How often do I replay, fantasize, dream, recreate, or pine over the awesome past events of my life? Crap! If I combined the time that I spent reliving the negative events as well as the positive events of my past, when in the heck was I actually living and enjoying the present moment?

Revelation. I have been spending entirely too much time in my past. It’s like I’ve been going through the motions of life, but haven’t really been living in the here and now. I mean, how could I if I was spending my time beating myself up over my drinking addiction and then pining over how good I looked in jeans that now won’t go past my thighs?

And there was my “aha!” moment. Look, there is absolutely nothing in our past that we can change. We cannot got back and erase the bad and we cannot go back and relive the good. We are different now and if we are not allowing ourselves to be present in the here and now, we will never realize who we are supposed to be today.

We are made to evolve and grow and we no longer need what the past had to offer. Our lives are here, right now, today. Even better, the greatest moments are yet to come because God says so. He says that our latter days will be better than our former days. That means, my friends, that the best times have not yet occurred, but they are coming. They are set to occur in the here and now and in the tomorrows, but we cannot experience them if we are living in the yesterdays of life.

Carpe diem! We must seize the day before it too, becomes the past and we miss out on what it had to offer. It might sound nutty, but it is never too late to live a happily ever after, God-type of life. And in order to do so, we must be present in every moment.

New Year’s Eve 2014 was the first one that I spent sober in many, many years. I experienced every moment of the 1920’s murder mystery dinner party. I breathed it all in and I enjoyed myself. I’m telling ya, Diet Pepsi never tasted so good. And even better, January 1st never felt so good! My point is, I didn’t allow the goods or the bads of my past to cloud the present. I’m new to this way of thinking, so I had to keep reminding myself to enjoy the moment. I am sure that after a time, this will just become the natural way I live my life. It felt great to be sober in mind and heart and enjoy all that those moments had to offer.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t to cherish our memories and learn from our mistakes. But, let us stop fixating on them and allow ourselves to really experience life in the here and now. After all, that’s where our true joy can be found.

Blessing and hugs to you all. 🙂

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