Over the years, we can get hurt by different people and life events. We have a choice to carry those hurts with us in our hearts every day or to drop the old bags of pain and start each day fresh and new.
A week before I followed God to the Seize the Day – Raise the C in ymCa Conference, I asked God to help me be a more forgiving person. I wanted help forgiving someone who weighed heavy in my heart. We had a rift and she said some hurtful things to me. I have known her for years and we didn’t have any problems before that I knew of, but under stress, she really laid into me. It caught me off guard, and I felt like a deer in headlights. Later, I thought of things I could have said in my defense, but alas, didn’t feel confronting her would make a difference. Instead, I prayed for her. I have heard a few times over the years that, “wounded people, wound others.” The only way I find I can combat that is to pray for them, and not let the wounds given to me by one of them change me to be a “wounder”, too.
God answered that prayer. The person who was in my heart contacted me to help her purchase a special Origami Owl jewelry gift for a family member who was mourning a loss. I sell Origami Owl and while helping her with the special gift, my heart felt pounds lighter—like dropping a heavy suitcase to the curb, I felt relief. It was so freeing to forgive her.
Funny, I thought my prayer was totally answered, but God could see deep into my heart. He saw more dusty suitcases of hurts that I didn’t realize I still carried.
The first dusty suitcase was one left from a friend whom I had helped many years ago. She had horrible pain and unusual symptoms. I feared she had the beginning signs of a serious illness and helped her go to doctors and get tests done to troubleshoot what was causing it. Her last doctor visit, she went alone. She discovered it was psychosomatic brought on by stress, and attention to it made it worse. She defriended me instantly. It hurt to have the friendship end that way. I cared about her and at the time didn’t understand stress-related illnesses. My love and attention were actually fueling her symptoms. So for her sake and by her wishes, the friendship ended.
The week before I left for the Seize the Day Conference, by God’s will, I ran into that old friend. She was receiving an award and I was given the opportunity to give her a hug and congratulate her. After the big hug, I could see a tear in her eye while we smiled at one another. We were both touched at that surprise moment of being together after all those years. You could almost hear the sound of the old bags in both of hearts being tossed to the ground and the joy of forgiveness taking up its space.
The very next morning, God revealed to me one last giant bag I needed to toss before my trip to the conference. That bag had been buried in my heart for 15 years and its contents scared me. Stayed tuned….I will start with this bag in my next blog post!