Nailed It

There it was again, a memory I thought I’d left behind twenty plus years ago. But in the early hours of a cold Colorado morning, I awoke with this as a bookmarked entry on my mind’s playlist. Was it a dream? Did the memory awaken me? Was I already awake when it surfaced? It made no difference. There it was.

The thought of leaving my warm bed was not attractive in the least. Still, I decided a hot cup of herb tea and a few minutes in prayer would help me regain my slumber. I padded out to the kitchen in my fuzzy slippers and robe to put the kettle on.

As I sat in the dark, sipping the hot liquid, snuggling in my fleece blanket and favorite chair, I was hit by waves of guilt. The haunting infraction replayed without missing a single, unpleasant, vivid detail. I shook my head back and forth, trying to clear the image of directing anger and frustration at a loved one two decades ago.

“What am I doing back here, Lord?  Why are you punishing me? I’ve tried to make up for this. I’ve apologized to you, to the one I hurt and have felt forgiveness from both. Why am I still standing on the guilt meter about something I cannot change?”

The room was silent…and cold. I waited.

The memory of the incident replayed. The hurt on my loved one’s face seared my conscience and pierced my heart.

“Lord, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. Will I live forever with this awful memory of terrible behavior fed by an unleashed temper and untamed tongue?” Tears of shame crawled down my cheeks, then progressed to a steady stream in a matter of seconds.

“Father God. Please forgive me.”

On the flat screen of my brain a New Testament verse appeared, edging out the glaring transgression. “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17 NIV).

I felt God was saying, “I have forgiven you child.” His truth filled my heart and ears as we sat together in a once familiar room, now made foreign as regret framed the dark, shadowless space.

“Then why is it still here? Why tonight? What must I do to remove it? Please Lord, what must I do?” I wailed.

There is nothing more valuable than the Scriptures at any time, but especially when we are in pain.  My mind focused on another memorized verse. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).

I sat stunned as I realized God was saying that in this case, I was the “one another.” I needed to be compassionate with myself and forgive the person in this scene I continued to condemn – me. I had been assured over and over of God’s love and forgiveness. I also had been granted forgiveness from my loved one. Yet, I still clung to my guilt, shame and human fallibility with a death grip.

Billions upon billions of sins were nailed to the cross at Calvary.  And it never occurred to me, until that moment, my lack of forgiveness for myself was in essence un-nailing of sin that was covered by His precious blood. Yes, even this sin had been borne by our savior on that rough wood, in His wounded body, so that I wouldn’t be rendered sleepless, immobile and at risk for use and abuse by my own thoughts. My revisiting this event and resisting the healing balm of Christ’s sacrifice was, in a way, showing ingratitude for that sacrifice.

I closed my eyes and sipped the now tepid tea. I handed my pain, my past, my guilt and my unforgiving heart up to the Lord to be placed where they belonged. Even when my unconscious mind unleashes memories of wrong-doing on my part, I can see a nail driven through them like billions of other sins. My tears dried as I gathered my blanket around me and felt Christ’s arms enfold me.

After a few minutes, I walked back to my bed and crawled in with my fleece blanket still wrapped around me like God’s sweet truth. There is no need to hold onto guilt. There is no need to continue letting memories of a past and painful time consume me to the point of distress. I was forgiven at my first confession decades ago. And Jesus took that sin to the cross with innumerable others over two thousand years ago; and there it was nailed.

hammer and nails

Copyright February 2019

Laura L. Padgett

Lakewood, Colorado

Connect with me on Twitter @lauraleepadgett  or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published:

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers.

“Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Or see the Upcoming Events tab on this website for locations where I will be selling and signing my books.

See my Publications tab on this website for books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and Xulon Press, “Letters to America”.

9 comments

  1. Love it!!!!! Insightful. Makes me wonder how many memories and guilt I hold onto simply because I haven’t forgiven myself or shown the same compassion to myself that I would have for another. Happy Anniversary! Nancy

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    1. Thank you Nancy. I am trying to blog once a month. God has given me some ideas but it honestly takes two days for me to put a post into a form I am happy with. This thought came to me as I have worked on stuff (you know what I mean?). Thanks again. Glad you liked it. Blessings, laura

    1. Thank you for reading this Melanie. I only blog about once a month. I’m not a very disciplined writer by the lens of some but I just write when He tells me and what He tells me. The rest of the time I am marketing as you know. How are things going for you? Please let me know where and what time your launch is. I so want to be there my friend. Let me know how I can help you. Many, many blessings. Laura

  2. Beautiful confession of a human condition. I have a memories creep in of things I’ve said, hurtful, regretful, stupid things that make my face blush in shame. It’s deserved. I use the replay as a reminder to do better and honor the forgiveness given. I love your posts, nothing stands in the way of your message, and it’s coated with vulnerability and hope.

    1. Oh yes my dear friend, those memories are there for a reason. I once heard someone say, it’s okay to look back. Just don’t stare. God uses our past to make us better for His purposes in the future. I appreciate your support. Many, many blessings. Say, how about a post called, “Pobody’s Nerfect”? I actually wrote one like that a few years back. Maybe time to revise, revive and ressurrect? Love ya.

      1. Thanks for reading this Laurel. Unfortunately guilt is one of the enemy’s strongest tools to render us immobile for the Lord. I’m learning that when I accept the love of Christ and love myself daily, the enemy’s tools are less and less powerful. I appreciate your words and that we are on a writing and living journey together. Blessings my friend.

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