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Tag: God’s eyes

Forgiveness: sometimes it’s like running a marathon

by Dawn Aldrich

Finish line at Disneyland's Star Wars Half Marathon

Finish line at Disneyland’s Star Wars Half Marathon

Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:14 (MSG)

My husband just ran his first half marathon and I couldn’t be more proud. As he crossed the finish line and limped his way through the medals line, he said he almost blubbered like a baby—not from physical pain, but because he accomplished a significant milestone.

If forgiveness were a race, I’d be a plodder. In fact, when it came to forgiving my dad, it took me thirty-five years to even get off the couch and start training! It’s a common story, Dad walks out on the family, leaving behind wounded hearts, but the pain an absent father causes hurts just the same.

For years I prayed, “God, please bring my daddy home. Put my family back together the way it was, please.” However, when he did return to remarry my mother, just before I turned seventeen, life became unexpectedly awkward. Filled with mistrust, I’d built thick, protective walls around my heart so no one—especially my dad—could hurt me again. Although my lips uttered, “I forgive you,” I didn’t forgive my father heart deep.

Fast forward 28 years. I attended a woman’s retreat where the speaker taught on the names of God. Based on the name Abba (Father), she asked us to list all the positive lessons our earthly father had taught us. “Yeah, right!” I scoffed. “What positive lessons could my father have taught me, God? He walked out on me, remember?”

God and I wrestled until dawn when I finally limped toward the chapel, journal in hand. I blasted God for daring to open that closed chapter in my life. Finally, God asked, “Are you done yet?” And God did an amazing thing. He showed me all the positive lessons I learned from my earthly father—because of how God created him and despite his sin. Most importantly, God reminded me that He freely forgave my father, so who was I to withhold forgiveness from him?

I’d love to say I ran home and forgave my father, but I didn’t. I wrestled with God for seven months until I finally surrendered. As I freely released forgiveness, heaven’s gates opened and God’s fullest love and blessing spilled over me.

Forgiveness can be a difficult and painful ordeal. For some, offering forgiveness may be like running a marathon—it may take years of healing and processing before we’re ready. But, whether we forgive quickly or not, the important thing is that we do forgive one another—heart deep and with love.

Is there a person you find difficult to forgive? Won’t you ask Jesus to help you see that person through His eyes and, with His help, make steps toward forgiving that person? Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget the sins against us, but that we release the hold their sin has against us.

Abba, help us to freely forgive those who’ve wounded us. We surrender our unforgiving hearts and pray for courage to release the hold their sin has had on us and to set them free from our unforgiveness.

When Love Rewrites the Ending

by Dawn Aldrich

the end

You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God…2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV

Bent over two bowls of soup, we share lunch on the hospital tray. He doesn’t say much, for what’s there to say when you traverse between the bed and a wheelchair day after day? We’d all hoped for a better outcome – one that found restoration either this side of heaven or the other. Instead, I share soup across the table from the shadow of a man I call “Dad.”

He sips and labors over every bite like he’s plowing through a banquet-sized meal and I sense his frustration – how little pleasures like eating aren’t pleasures anymore, but rather, struggles that steal his breath and I know what he’s thinking – “Why go on living?”

My spirit cries within me, “Take him home, Jesus. Take him home!” But Jesus answers, “I’m not finished writing his story just yet. Keep reading.” 

I read between the lines through the silence – flashback to a time when I would have wished him gone – not to relieve his pain, but my own – to suffer the same pain his abandonment caused me – wished he’d simply disappear. But he came back.

And now.

Now, I stand at the bathroom sink scrubbing his dirty dentures and bend over the laundry basket folding his shirts wondering from where in his story this love comes? What makes me want to do these things for him? It’s no love I conjured up on my own for this dying man; nothing I ever wrote down or plotted.

This is all part of God’s story written between us. The story where forgiveness dissolves diseases like anger and resentment and where Love rewrites the ending, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.

And, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom to love as He loves; to see others as He sees them; to restore all the time and circumstances once stolen. This Spirit breathes warmth and light and new life into our cold, cold hearts, our deepest, darkest thoughts and our shattered families and redeems all things through the love of Christ.

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While it was difficult watching Dad slowly whittle away, God’s love rewrote the ending of the story between my dad and I. It was the perfect ending to this final chapter of God’s story written between us; father and daughter. I will forever cherish our final moments together

Abba, Father,

Help us to always look for your story you’re writing in the midst of all the suffering. Fill us with your Spirit that helps us see others through your eyes and love as you love. Grant us the patience and understanding during these most difficult times and where forgiveness needs granting, humble us to offer it as it has been freely given to us through your Son, Jesus. Amen

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