The odor of fresh paint drew me back to when my dad built homes. As a child, I roamed those framed structures, pleased to smell woodsy lumber and hear hammers pounding. Best of all, I recall Dad’s voice, echoing, giving orders.
Dad quit speaking to me when a misunderstanding occurred. Irrationality won. Dad declared, “I’m no longer your father.” It age 19, I was stripped of love just as suddenly and unexpectedly as fire strips land bare.
Dad’s decision, stated irrevocably, caused deep pain and loneliness. I held onto my hurt, hoping in some way, to protect me from more pain.
A few months prior, I, also, made a radical decision. I asked Jesus to make His home in my heart. I put my faith in Jesus who died a bloody death. He forgave all my sins and took all my guilt and shame on the cross. It freed me. I quit trying to earn His love and acceptance.
It’s an awesome thing to know Jesus died for me. I wanted to know my Savior’s lavish love more intimately.
I prayed with a wide-open heart. “Heavenly Father, teach me how much You love me.”
My prayer sent the Holy Spirit on a hunt. His light revealed bitterness in my heart, caused by Dad’s and others’ hurtful words and actions. Divine Love mounted an attack. Resentment and unforgiveness is Love’s enemies.
Time doesn't heal, neither does revenge. Receiving the warm truth of God’s love heals. It brings me to my knees.
“Heavenly Father, teach me how much You love me.” Quieter than a whisper, I hear, “Forgive.”
Forgiving Dad came first, but it wasn't easy. I learned forgiveness is a choice not a feeling.
Over time, I surrendered more hurt and pain. I choose to forgive coworkers, classmates, friends, my husband, children and myself. I settled it once and for all.
Forgiving does not condone wrong or hurtful actions but is an act of releasing offenders and their offenses to God. He alone is the ultimate judge. It helps to remember my smallest sin against God is far greater than any sin committed against me, yet God willingly forgave me of everything.
Forgiving created space in my heart for God’s love. It cleaned out the poison. A cleansed heart has the capacity to hold love, immeasurable. (Ephesians 3:17-19)
I’m still forgiving. I must never let up because when I’m unforgiving, I let criticism, rejection, fear, and condemnation run my life.
Forgiving freely, generously, and fully is a beautiful gift to give and receive. The more I understand it and receive it; I’m freer to forgive others and I experience Divine love in ways I never knew. Divine love loves best. What an exciting adventure!
If you pray, “Heavenly Father, teach me how much You love me,” He will rise with compassion and rush to your side. Because nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Nothing from our past, present or future, not even angels or demons. (Romans 8:38)