Changes and letting go

Please welcome my friend and fellow Christian author/blogger, Davalynn Spencer as she helps us move through seasons of change and letting go.

By Davalynn Spencer

“Fuel up,” “pack up,” “load up.” These were oft-repeated phrases when our family rodeoed. With “up” attached to so many words, we must have lived a glass-is-half-full kind of life. Either that, or we had a roundup mentality.

When Mike said, “Load up,” our children and all the dogs knew what he meant, and it had nothing to do with piling one’s plate at the buffet line.

This particular command came drifting across the years to me recently, opening memory’s gate to our diesel-driven days. Now, only one of the family continues to rodeo, and the remaining dog is so old he couldn’t jump into the bed of the truck even if he heard the order. Which he can’t.

I’m not sure he can see the truck.

The season of our life has changed as clearly as the leaves around our home.

Autumn’s oranges and yellows have been there all along. We just don’t see them until chlorophyll-producing photosynthesis slows and the green fades.

The transition is closer to “letting go” than changing, and somehow that makes the idea easier to accept. After all, didn’t someone once say, “The only people who like change are wet babies”?

Someone else said, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1 NKJV). However, it’s often just as hard to let go as it is to change, especially when we must let go of loved ones, our youth, favorite pets, careers, homes, relationships.

God’s grace for the task is there for the taking if we’ll simply ask and await His answer. Of course asking is easier than waiting, right? Waiting takes time.

Our pastor encouraged us with his message last week and drew our laughter when he quipped, “Give God a minute, will ya?”

But we don’t. We’re in too big of a hurry. Why is that? Are we afraid we’ll miss something?

I’m afraid I’ll miss something if I don’t take time to watch those leaves slip from verdant green to glorious gold. Or take a moment to breathe in the crisp, clean air of autumn, and give God a minute to touch my heart.

Lord, help me slow my internal clock to Your eternal tempo. Help me fuel up on You.

This article first appeared on Sept. 16, 2019 at https://davalynnspencer.com/is-it-change-or-merely-letting-go/

Author Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. As the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, she writes romance for those who enjoy a Western tale with a rugged hero, both historical and contemporary. She holds the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction and is winner of the 2019 American Fiction Award, sponsored by Best Book Fest, for her book “Unexpected Redemption.” She also teaches writing workshops and plays the keyboard on her church worship team. When she’s not writing, teaching fiction, or playing, she’s wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Learn more about Davalynn and her books at www.davalynnspencer.com. Sign up for her newsletter http://eepurl.com/xa81D and receive a free historical novella.

If you comment on this post, Davalynn will be happy to give away an e-copy of Mail-order Misfire. Winner will be selected at random.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, 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.

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Short 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”.

Grace

Please help me welcome my very first guest blogger to “Livin’ What You’re Given.” April Zoe gave this beautiful devotion at a writers’ meeting I attended in the Colorado Springs area earlier this month. I was invited to speak and share some of my truths/experiences as a writer. But it was April Zoe who gave the word from God that spoke into my heart and the tender spots of what I was dealing with that night. As you read this piece, see if it doesn’t speak truth into your life, no matter what your circumstances today. Then relax in the freedom of breathing grace.

Here is April’s devotion from Sept. 12, 2019

I went downstairs crying. My husband, sitting at the breakfast table, said, “Oh, are allergies bothering you, too? I kept waking up last night. I couldn’t breathe.”

“No. A friend from mine’s husband died last night. She’s in my running group. They were a great couple and they have three little kids. It’s hitting me hard.” GRACE.

The next day, I was walking the dogs. I was just cruising along and BAM! I twisted my ankle. I wasn’t even running. I’m training for a 50 mile run. I’m not sure how this is going to affect my training or if I’ll be able to run the race. GRACE.

The following day, I was hosting a gathering in the evening. One by one, they cancelled. Some cancelling that morning. One just didn’t show up. Only my two best friends came. GRACE.

The day after that was September 11th. Being a former military family, this hit me fairly hard. Our family was forever changed after that. As were many. It was a solemn day.  GRACE.

I had just purchased a new car and they didn’t pay off my trade-in. It had been four weeks and they were denying that they owed any money. I spent five hours on the phone until the second person at my bank confirmed that I was owed money for the trade-in. It took another hour to get the dealer to run the numbers again and admit they owed money. GRACE.

The next day, I woke up and checked the confirmation email to make sure that my writer’s group meeting room was fine. It wasn’t. There had a been a glitch and they only reserved the room for one hour, instead of three. And it had been scheduled by someone else for the time after that hour, making the room unusable for our group. The library helped me find another room last minute. It was smaller, but our writers were understanding. GRACE.

Psalm 4:1 says, “God, you are my righteousness, my champion defender. Answer me when I cry for help! Whenever I was in distress, you enlarged me. I’m being squeezed again—I need your kindness right away! Grant me your grace, hear my prayer, and set me free!” (TPT)

As a writer, there are many times that we need grace. When we didn’t get the contract that we were hoping for. When someone just published the book that we were working on. When your schedule isn’t allowing the time that you need to write. When someone said that they would help you and they haven’t; and after a few more times of reaching out, you stop. Or maybe you’re the one who needs to follow up with a friend. Maybe you have some unmet obligations that you’ve been putting off. GRACE.

Grace is forgiveness. Grace is acceptance. Grace is kindness in the face of unkindness. Grace allows you to walk when you think that you can’t. And this is God’s promise to us—that He will give us all we need to get through our trials and to overcome obstacles. He promises His presence that will never leave us. If the God of the universe is with us, nothing else that seems to be against us can take away Grace.

Grace is giving and receiving—to others and to ourselves. Who do you need to extend Grace to today? A friend? A spouse? A neighbor? Yourself?

Danny Gokey, of American Idol fame, tweeted, “You’re never going to white knuckle your way to a better version of you. The best version of you will only come forth in an environment of unconditional love. Love God, love people, and love yourself. God loves you right where you’re at, and not just the future version of you.”

Exactly. GRACE.

April Zoe lives with her family in the mountains of Colorado. She started writing when she was young and now blogs for military spouses at www.asparrowslife.com. She is currently working on a novel for middle readers about a military kiddo entitled Leaving Home. She leads a group of writers in Colorado Springs and is editor for the online magazine, Arise.

If you comment on this post, I will enter you into a drawing for a free copy of my latest book, “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Short Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments.” Winner will be selected at random.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, 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.

The award-winning “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”.

Citizens of the World

What was this woman, who lived halfway across the world from me, trying to say? I couldn’t speak her language (Estonian) and she could speak only a few words of mine (English). By many people’s standards, we could not communicate. But she seemed to think we could understand one another as she took my hand and placed it on various pieces of fiber art she had created.

My husband and I were with a tour group as part of our recent trip to the Baltic Sea, where we visited several countries. In each place we were delighted to eat the food, hear the history and try, even in a limited amount of time, to soak up what we could of the culture.

Estonia’s history is full of stories of occupation, loss and violence perpetrated by other countries, including Russia. Despite the scars, the people are proud of their resilience and that they eventually gained independence and maintained their own identity through language, music, architecture and fine art.

As we toured the house (manor) with its expansive grounds, we heard about owners of the property. They were forced to leave during the Russian siege in the1940’s. One of the owners returned to her home around 1991, when Estonia became independent of Russia.

We didn’t see the owner until the end of our house tour. When we did meet her, she was seated at her loom and weaving a blanket. Questions were asked and answered through an interpreter for several minutes. Then most of the tour participants moved outside to view the sprawling manor grounds.

I stayed back, captivated by her handiwork. As a knitter and embroidery enthusiast, I was riveted to the work before me. She noticed my interest and came to join me. As others looked at the grounds, trees and nearby buildings, I walked from table to table admiring embroidered pieces, handmade lace and many woven lap robes made from fox fur and linen strips.

We were silent until she took my hand and guided me to an oil painting of a young woman, a man and two children – a boy and a girl. She put her hands to her chest and said, “Before.”

“You?” I asked.

She smiled, nodded and whispered, “Before.”

My eyes lingered on her as she gazed upon the painting. She wasn’t aware of me searching her face and eyes. I wanted to know what she felt. Was she sad, angry, resentful, defeated or regretful? No, none of those were in her sweet, calm countenance. Instead I soaked in the presence of acceptance, loving memories and peace. I sensed that she treasured the past but did not live there – either in the joy or pain. Her life was here, and now. I believe that is what she was trying to tell me.

She noticed me looking at her and blushed. Then she motioned for me to join her at a large table where she opened a book and handed me a pen. “Sign please?”

I wrote my name, where I live and a blessing. We smiled, held hands and shared a moment of heart to heart connection. She handed me an apple from one of her trees, beaming as she offered this treasure. I gratefully accepted it as if it was fine gold. To me it was.

We couldn’t speak the same language or discuss anything that the world would consider relevant or important. But in those few moments of shared artistic inspiration and expression, I was allowed into her world – the past and the present. We were in a space void of politics, religion, language or nationality. And it was more than okay with us.

As our tour bus left the grounds, I looked back to see her on the front porch and waving. I waved back and clutched the apple to my breast wondering how many people come on this tour each year, look at the obvious but don’t spend time trying to find out who she is and was. I’m beyond grateful that God granted us just the briefest moment of connection because we share love of fiber arts. I leaned back in my seat and rested in the knowledge that through smiling eyes, an extra moment of lingering and the human touch, we each recognized another citizen of the world.

Estonia 2

Copyright Sept 2019 Laura L. Padgett, Lakewood, CO

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.

The award-winning “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”.

Little Drummer Girl

“Dance is absolutely not an appropriate art for worship. It is almost indecent to think about dancing in church. And on the altar? No, my dear, no.”

Like so many others in church, I was seeking permission from the leaders to bring my gift from the Lord in prayer, praise and worship. This strong rebuke left no room for discussion and no margin for doubt. My gift was not wanted or recognized as a valid worship art.

I went home and prayed about my encounter and asked God to release me from the dream of dancing with and for Him. After a few weeks, I submitted to the words of the church elders and accepted the fact that my art was not altar worthy.

For months I tried to bury the dream of dancing with and for God’s people. I even questioned Him about the reminders He sent in dreams and visions when I heard praise music. My mind always saw a dance. My feet refused to be still and my heart flooded with praise in the movement.

Then one Christmas I was listening to music on the radio and I heard the song, “The Little Drummer Boy.” The song is about a child who felt his gift was not worthy of the new king. Still he was encouraged to bring his gift to the cradle of the Baby Jesus too, and to give his very best.

I closed my eyes and listened to the story of the small, fictitious boy who brought his gift forward and offered what he had to our Lord. He played his best for Jesus, emphasizing his praise with every heartbeat, “Pa rum pum pum-pum” Oh how I identified with the little boy – shy, small and convinced he had gift poverty. But God said, “Bring your gift child, bring your gift.”

“I have no gift to bring
Pa rum pum pum-pum
That’s fit to give our King
Pa rum pum pum-pum”

My hurting heart heard the words and understood that no matter what anyone said, God defines worthy; and all of His gifts are worthy. I committed that day to always dance for an audience of One first. He approved my gift and He would use what He gave me at His designated time. I just needed to keep dancing for and with Him.

“I played my drum for Him
Pa rum pum pum-pum
I played my best for Him
Pa rum pum pum-pum
Rum pum pum-pum
Rum pum pum-pum
Then He smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum-pum
Me and my drum.” Lyrics by Katherine Kennicott Davis, 1941

In the stillness of that moment and the peace of recognition, I knew the time would come for dance to be brought into worship. And it wasn’t long before it was.

Since then, I’ve danced from California to Ottawa in praise to Jesus. I’ve been in big churches and small, retreats and workshops – as teacher and student. God has used this gift to bless, heal and encourage others as each step brings glory to Him.

I never stop thanking Him for that moment when He used a secular tune to comfort and encourage me in His plans. And there are few mornings, after awakening, when I don’t walk into the presence of my favorite dance partner. He always takes me in his arms and we move together in prayer and praise. I sigh and hum, “Pa rum pum pum-pum.”

Copyright June 2019 Laura L. Padgett, Lakewood, CO

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.

The award-winning “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”.

Some Gave All

 

“He was  a hero you know.”

A stranger announced this while I sat at my father’s grave in Ft. Logan National Cemetery. It was Memorial Day Weekend. She was moving from grave to grave, placing small American flags in front of each headstone.

“Was he?” I asked.

She put a flag at my dad’s headstone, and then turned to face me.

“Why yes. All these men and women were heroes.” She swept an arm around the immediate vicinity.

“They paid a high price for our freedom. Some paid with their physical and
mental health; and some with their lives. We must never forget or dishonor
their sacrifices, or that of their families.” She said as she resumed her
journey.

I stared at my father’s tombstone. I hadn’t made many visits to this site
during the forty plus years since his passing. When I did visit, it was out of
obligation. Over the years, I practiced keeping thoughts and feelings about my dad far from my mind. That morning, however, I felt compelled to make an appearance at the cemetery.

“Here we go, water for the flowers and a screwdriver to dig out the metal
vase.” My husband, Keith, had dropped me at the graveside, parked the car and brought the necessary equipment to decorate the grave.

“What’s wrong?” Keith asked when I made no acknowledgement of his return.

“I thought you wanted to come here today.”

“I thought I did too. But when I got here, all the old feelings of resentment and fear of this man I barely knew came flooding back. Then some
woman in a red dress declared him a hero,” I snorted.

Keith went about adorning the grave with multi-colored irises. I watched him in silence until he finished.

“Do you want to go now?” he asked.

“No, I want to just sit here for a few minutes.”

It was a warm day with a slight breeze moving shadows of leaves from the
massive tree that grew a few feet from my father’s grave. I watched the lady in red walking among graves and placing flags. I thought about what she said, wondered why she spoke to me and how she knew anything about my father. I didn’t even know very much about him.

“Maybe it was a mistake to come here, Keith. I didn’t know much about this
man other than he had a bad temper that erupted at the slightest provocation.”

I directed my remarks to my husband but kept my eyes on the grave.

“Maybe you just don’t remember the good things about him. Maybe it’s time
you stopped hating your father and made peace with the past. What did she say?”

He nodded in the direction of the red-clad stranger.

“She said these men and women sacrificed their health, even mental health…” I trailed off and grasped.

“Where did your dad serve, Laura?”

I whispered the answer as I let out my breath. “Northern Africa. He was a
munitions expert on the front lines. He always said his hearing wasn’t right
because of explosions and yells from his fellow soldiers that were injured or…” again words failed me.

“Keith, do you think my dad had PTSD and that was why he had such erratic
and violent outbursts? I know he died from a service-connected disability in
his fifties, after decades of suffering. But do you think what they once called
“shell shock” was the major factor in Papa’s mental instability?”

“I don’t know, Honey. I think it’s very likely. What else to you remember
about him, besides his temper? Papa. Is that what you called him?” Keith asked. I nodded.

I sat for several minutes allowing the warm breeze and sunshine breaking
through the tree’s shelter to form a safe place for unpacking memories. I shook my head to clear almost fifty years of mental cobwebs laced with resentment.

“Well, he had a great sense of humor and quick wit. He loved music and Ed
Sullivan. He fancied himself quite the dancer. He and my mother went dancing a lot at the old Elitch’s Tracadero Ballroom. They won quite a few contests, you know. He was passionate about gardening too and particularly loved his trees.”

“He loved baseball and even though he completed school only through the
fifth grade, he had a photographic memory that allowed him to tell you who won most World Series contests and who was on the pitching mound at the time. One of his happiest days was when he could afford to take his family to see the New York Yankees play an exhibition game at Mile High Stadium. All his favorites were there – Mickey Mantle, Roger Marris and Yogi Berra. Papa smiled and stuck his chest out like those men were his personal friends.”

For the next two hours, we sat under the big tree as shadows shifted on and
around us while I told Keith about my dad. I alternated laughter with tears and silence until I realized why I felt compelled to visit his grave.

Keith was right. It was time to begin the healing and understand that my
father was not an angry, brutal monster. He had something no one diagnosed in those days – one of the effects of war – PTSD. He had no way of understanding or controlling it. As we strolled through my childhood there were as many, or more, good memories as bad. Those memories were buried under years of anger,  resentment, and lack of understanding and even unprocessed grief.

As evening approached Keith reminded me we had a dinner commitment. I
reluctantly agreed to leave, but not before cleaning off my father’s headstone and rearranging the irises. I stood for a few minutes searching the massive cemetery for the lady in red but couldn’t spot her.

“Keith, did I tell you Papa’s favorite flower was the iris? He grew them you
know.”

“No I didn’t know that, Laura. “ Keith took my hand and with tenderness,
guided me toward the car. I turned to look back at the grave of Albert
Carvallo, Tech 5 U.S. Army WWII Veteran. Through tears of new-found recognition, I thanked him for the gift of my freedom that cost him his sanity, his health and ultimately his life. For the first time, I saw my father as a true war hero.

I’ve since cried many tears of loss and released my resentment toward my
dad. I’ve processed where our country would be without the brave men and women in uniform who selflessly sacrifice to protect and defend our freedom. And I’ve acknowledged that even from his grave that day, Papa gave me a new kind of freedom – that only found in the reconciliation of forgiveness.

There are still many things I don’t and probably will never know about the
man I called, “Papa.” This I know for sure: future visits to the final resting place of my father will no longer be out of obligation.

Reposted on May 27, 2019 from original post February 2018

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.

The award-winning “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”.

Accidental signing

“I know you. Well, I know your name anyway, and I’ve heard of this book.”

These words were spoken by a woman I had never met before (to my knowledge). I had handed her my business card to provide contact information because she and another party were traveling together when they were involved in a car accident. This happened right in front of my husband and me. We witnessed a car try to crowd their lane, hit them and leave the scene. Keith recorded the license number and we gave it to the gentleman driving the car that was hit.

When we got off the main road and into a parking lot, we assessed the situation to see if there were injuries. Thanks be to God, no injuries were sustained. Then the police were called.

While waiting for the officer to arrive I asked the woman with my card, “Where did you hear of me and my book?”

She said “I don’t remember where I saw this but the title of this book caught my attention somewhere.” She continued looking at the images on my card.

The police officer arrived and began taking the accident details. The lady who knew my book, (and knew of me apparently), asked how to get a copy. She said she had been thinking of buying the book. I told her I had several in the trunk of my car as I had been selling books along the way on our latest road trip.

During the next several minutes the lady, who was no longer a stranger, and I discussed the book. She wanted to know how I came up with the title, why I write short stories and why I wrote these in particular.

She bought a copy of Jesus in Shorts, asked me to autograph it and said she was looking forward to reading it and sharing it with others. I thanked her in my fog of a whirlwind experience in the middle of Moscow, Idaho where we witnessed a hit and run accident, came to the aid of strangers and sold a book – all within an hour’s time and almost 1,000 miles from home.

With details settled and police report completed, everyone went their own way. Keith and I got in our car and drove for dozens of miles before either of us spoke. Then he asked, “Who would ever believe this story?”

I knew who would believe it. I called my sister, Mary, and told her what happened. She said, “Whoa. Laura, you have to write this story. ” Sister is always right.

As Keith and I continued on our way I reflected, “It is unfortunate people will sometimes leave the scene of an accident, especially if they caused it. But one thing is for sure. The woman we just met was meant to have a personalized copy of Jesus in Shorts. And by God’s lens, there are no accidents.”

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

Copyright May 2019, Laura L. Padgett, Lakewood, Colorado

Check out the books I have published:

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

The award-winning “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”.

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”.