Tag Archives: healing

Forgiveness…

Wednesday Wisdom 😊

Inspiration this week comes from the Gospels of Mark and Matthew:

Mark 11: 25 “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

Matthew 11: 28-30 “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'”


Can you think of a time when someone wronged you? And, how you felt after the interaction was over? Your mind just keeps replaying the scene over and over again, or maybe you create pretend scenarios where you get back at the other person with words or actions. Sometimes, your anger and hurt are so strong that your face turns red, your hands may shake, or tears may be running down your face.

Or maybe you can think of a time where you made a mistake, and the resulting guilt just threatens to take over. Days, weeks, even months or years may go by and your mind still shifts back to the mistake that you made. And, the shame and regret creeps in. It ruins your self-esteem and eats away at any attempt to find peace. “I should have….” becomes your mantra as your mind replays your mistake over and over again.


I believe that God hard-wired us to be in relationship; both in a vertical relationship with Him, and a horizontal relationship with others. Last time, we talked about love and the two foundational commandments that we are given in the Bible: love God, love others as Jesus loves us. If love is the basis for all that is important, and we are asked to love as Jesus loves, the only way that we can be successful is to have a heart that is open to both receiving and giving forgiveness.

We all make mistakes, and those mistakes invariably hurt God and hurt others. Those mistakes separate us and drive us apart, thereby going directly against how God designed usso they ultimately also hurt us. God’s mercies are new each day, and the gift of Jesus allows each of us access to the forgiveness that enables us to reconnect in relationship and ultimately find healing. We have to decide to accept and share this Grace, and let God heal us from our pain.

It is almost like we stand at a crossroads, and are able to decide which direction we’d like to take:

  • We can remain in denial or self-blame
  • We can choose bitterness and stubbornly hold onto the anger and pain
  • We can intentionally move down the path of forgiveness in order to grieve, empathize, find peace, learn to trust again and reconnect in relationship

The third option seems so right and so easy, and yet it is often so very hard.


I could share a lot of stories from my life where my stubbornness kept me from seeking the peace found in forgiveness, but I think the most recent example is when I broke my leg. I remember getting so angry at my doctor because what he told me was going to happen at my first appointment was not at all my healing experience. I also remember getting very angry at myself – my own body – when it refused to heal. Finally, there was a piece of my heart that just hurt. I was haunted by the thought that either God didn’t love me or I wasn’t important enough for Him to heal.

Every day that I hurt, I got just a little bit angrier. One day, about 9 months post accident, I went to the doctor for a check up. When I asked him why my leg wasn’t healing, he looked at me and said “you have skinny ankles and high expectations”. That day was a turning point for me. My anger boiled over and later than night I beat my crutch so hard on the floor that I bent it. Bending my crutch didn’t fix my problems, but it did show me that I was in a very unhealthy mental place. It forced me to recognize that I was at a crossroads, and helped me to make the intentional choice to get “unstuck” and move into forgiveness.


It’s been more than three years since I made that choice. My leg still hurts, and it likely will never be the same, but my heart has moved through the grieving process. Somewhere along the way, I figured out that forgiveness was not about finding answers, rather it was about accepting my circumstances and knowing that God loves me and walks with me through it all. God doesn’t always choose to take away our pain, but I also don’t think that He wastes it either. When we open our hearts to forgive, our pain becomes a tool for personal growth as we allow Jesus to move through us and rebuild us. The healing process then holds the power of hope as we find strength and purpose in it 😊

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Flexion…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


Inspiration this week comes from Jesus’ word in the Gospel of Matthew 10:39

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”


I’d never paid much attention to the concept of flexion until I tore ligaments and broke my leg. The bone that I broke (the fibula) is actually the “non-weight bearing” bone in the lower leg, but it – and the ligaments near it – play a critical role in ankle mobility.Β  As a lifelong runner, I’d enjoyed really good flexion in my ankles which allowed my foot to bridge up and back down in a harmonious running step. Like many things in life, I never truly appreciated my ankle flexion until I no longer had it.

It has taken many, many painful hours of intentional physical therapy to work to gain back the ability to bend my right ankle. It’s still not what it used to be, but last week I made a new stride as my therapist was able to push it to 29 degrees past neutral. To help put that victory into perspective, in between my first and second surgery, I scored in at only 3 degrees past neutral. I’m not sure that I can put into words how hard it has been to gain the ability to bend those additional 26 degrees, but my body has given my heart an entirely new outlook on the concept of shaping.

I recently completed my first 5k post leg break – it is the first race in my life that I have walked and it took me longer to walk the 5k than it took for me to run the 10k last year. But, this race is likely more meaningful as I honored the medal God placed on my heart instead of the one that I might have earned had I been able to run…


I think that God finds creative ways to grow us. My leg experience is one of those. Outside of my ankles, I have spent most of my life not being a particularly “flexible person”. My stubbornness can outweigh my ability to bend. It stands in the way of God’s ability to shape and refine me; and can provide a significant hurdle as I strive to hold Jesus’ hand on my daily faith journey.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

That scripture verse used to confuse me. I couldn’t fathom why God would want me to give up who I am in order to find myself. It frightened me to think about releasing control in order to allow God to guide my path. It took a lot of prayer and deep reflection for me to realize that walking with Jesus – responding to the Holy Spirit – and honoring God’s calls actually allowed me to find myself.Β  It freed me to be the person that my brain feared but my heart desired.

Being shaped by God is not always an easy process. When I am stubborn, it can look like my ankle refusing to move as the physical therapist breaks into a sweat trying to cram it into the proper bending shape. My therapist describes me as “guarded” because I don’t trust him as he bends, twists, and yanks on my leg. A truthful introspection shows me that God might also describe me as guarded when He asks me to truly give him my heart.


As I write this today, I’m still stubborn. I’ll likely always carry a bit of that trait with me. But, I’m learning to be more flexible — to submit my heart to the One who calls me by name with an unconditional love that fuels me despite the circumstances of my earthly life. I am finding that the more of my heart that I surrender to Jesus, the more that I can find the peaceful hope that transcends human ability or explanation. It doesn’t always make intellectual sense, but it frees me with a flexion that lends purposeful meaning to my life.

 

 

 

 

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The Call To Serve With Grace…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


Inspiration this week comes from Jesus’s words in the Gospel of Matthew 20: 26-28

“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


During the “off season” when I do not coach, I like to spend time mentoring students at the high school. In January, God brought a new group of high school students into my life. I love teenagers and working with them truly helps me to find personal and spiritual growth. These kids are such a blessing as they remind me that the greatest gift in life is theΒ ability to serve.

Perhaps it is my psychology training in college – perhaps it is simply my innate need to reach out – but God calls me to look for gaps in these kids’ lives and then help them to fill them. Specifically, I feel the call to show them love. Some of the students that I mentor have experienced trauma in their lives. Behind the walls that they have built around their hearts exists a deep-seated hurt. While the expressed goal of our time together may be to write an English paper or work on a Biology project, the primary goal is to show each student that they matter.

They have worth.

They are loved.

They have love inside of them that is meant to be shared.

The students have taught me a priceless lesson over the past couple of weeks. Through them, I have learned to answer God’s call to serve at their level of need. This is very different than answering a call to serve at my own personal level. They’ve taught me that to truly serve, I must put my own needs aside and let God lead my heart so that I can truly see theirs.

Some hurt can only be healed through GRACE.

Living with a Grateful perspective while leaning on God to find Resilience brings an Awareness of the needs of others so that we can reach out with Compassion and Eloquence. This brings hope and enables the love that can begin the healing process. It bestows an innate sense of worth in the child when they need it the most.


The above scripture reading provides a foundation for my faith. Each time that I read it, I gain better insight into the acts of unselfish service that Jesus modeled for us during his earthly life. He lived to serve others — not in order to fulfill a personal need, but in order to share God’s love with others in a meaningful way.

Hearing God’s call is vital to our service outreach, but how we respond to the call is perhaps even more important. Reaching out under God’s direction with love in our heart allows for the act of service to meet the specific needs of those that we serve. The act of serving finds completion when we share Christ’s love and build a foundation of faith together.

We are not called to serve alone.

We are called to serve each other — sharing the love of our Creator and finding strength in His care.

How do you follow God’s guidance to serve others?

 

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