There is a place I visit in my mind. A place filled with laughter, love, loud family members, the scents of my childhood, hugs, ice cream, all sorts of beautiful and wonderful memories. I was blessed and grew up in a wonderful family, not perfect (because what family is?), but wonderful. But, my mind isn’t just flooded with these moments of bliss and happiness, it was also filled with moments I would rather forget. Moments I had to work through in order to be able to forgive. Moments that still have the power to stop me in my tracks. I used to live there in those moments that make my skin crawl, the ones that embarrass me to even think about.
But I don't live in those moments. I choose not to make that my dwelling place. I turn up my face towards the one who has forgotten the bad parts and I remember that I can forget them too. I can move forward. I can remember the good without the bad rearing its nasty head into my thoughts. How you may ask do I do this, remember the good but not the bad? It’s because of grace. Grace that God has given to me. Grace that I can grab ahold of and remind myself that that past does not define me. Is it a part of me, yes. But does it define me, make up the better part of me? No. God has that part. The part that has been forgiven and set free. He gave me that. The rest, the ugly, broken, sad parts, he saw those and forgave them. Faded them away so that they no longer had this tight grip on me. The bible tells us in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious for anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” We are not meant to live a life of grief and overwhelming hurt. God tells us to make our requests known to him. To tell him what hurts. He is there to heal.
Now, when I think back on my past, my childhood, the parts that made me who I am, I think on those good things. The smells, the smiles, the laughter because those are the ones that I chose to carry with me into my today's. The rest I left at the feet of Jesus. They are where they belong. And I am where I belong.
Here and now with God as my center. Pieced together, his grace and those good places. God tells us “to approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). This is what God does. He takes you from a place that seems to have you stuck there like quicksand. He grabs you, snaps his fingers in your face to wake you up and shows you who you really are. All the good, the beautiful that you can be. He shows you what he has done for you, how he gave all for you. And because of that grace that has been given, you give grace. You learn this new trait little by little at first. How to forgive others even when they have mistreated you or hurt you in a way you thought you would never recover from. But God got to the place that hurt the most and cleansed you of all that hurt. Now, it’s your turn to give that kind of grace to others. You give it to them. The ones that put the bad memories into your past and you give it to yourself for all the self-inflicted pain you put into your past and present.
What is left is love. Love for others. Love for yourself. But most of all, love for a God that gave everything so we can have everything. All it takes is one moment to allow God to come into your life. It has to be your decision. He will not force his love on you, but he is willing to give it at any moment. So, choose now to take that beautiful, unending kind of love and make a positive change in the life you thought was forever ruined. Philippians 4:19 tells us that “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Everything you may need will be supplied unto you and I from God’s riches. His blessings are never ending.
I am worth it.
You are worth it.
God believes that. So, we should too.