20 years ago my life was altered. It was shattered into tiny pieces, some getting lost along the way. My Poppop died 20 years ago after a battle with leukemia.
I remember where I was when I heard the news, alone. I was downstairs trying to hold it together. I swollowed the sadness and held it in, even though I wanted to just run away or even die myself. My life was ruined. I was only 10 years old.
You see I walked the journey with him. I held his hand has he fought the cancer. I went to most doctor visits and always was there with him in and out of the hospital. If no one was allowed to go, I was the exception. Yet, I couldn’t save him. I couldn’t fight it for him as much as I wanted to.
I saw every up when the cancer would go into remission and he acted like himself again. I got so hopeful every time. And every time I would be heartbroken when I saw him getting worse. I remember being so angry at God for not healing him.
I saw every low when his flesh became so pale, his skin so cold. I remember seeing the look on his face when he knew we would never see each other again. I remember that last hug he gave. I didn’t want to let go.
Poppop died a few days after I last saw him. We were taken out of town to see other family. Honestly, it probably was on purpose so we didn’t see him die literally before our eyes.
I still remember thinking his death was my fault. I took the blame and shame onto myself. “If only I…” just kept repeating in my head even though I knew I couldn’t stop the cancer.
Today I went back to a place where he underwent his cancer treatments. It was a very freeing experience. I wasn’t there for mourning, I wasn’t there to have the memories flood. I was there for a friend. I was there because it’s where God brought her to undergo observation and where God ultimately led me to. It’s no coincidence that God brought me back to where I lost myself over 20 yeas ago.
God always has a plan, even if the outcome isn’t in our best interest. My Poppop might have died. I might have lost myself in that and defined myself by that, but it makes me no less of the person I am today because of that.
I wouldn’t be who I am if I never went through the storm. So I can sit here and try to say a part of me died that day but really it was God ultimately using that to define my path and my story. God’s not done with me. He’s not done with you.
In Genesis 22, Abraham was to sacrifice his son after God told him to do so. But the beauty is when they go to altar, God showed up. God had Abraham free his son and provided a ram to be sacrificed in his place. God met Abraham in the place after he placed a calling on him and Abraham was following through.
God will meet you where he called you, just not on your timing. I’ve been struggling with faith, I’ve been struggling on whether this life is what God has called me to do, I’ve been struggling with connection with God, I’ve been struggling with a relationship with God. It’s been rough. It’s been battles with the enemy, internal struggles and some very dark days. God promises me he will never leave me nor forsake me. He promises he will always love me and he is working all things for good for those who love him.
But I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear the goodness of God. It was as if I put myself in this box and the enemy decided to trap me in there and tried convinced me that God had forgotten me, and repeatedly told me if he truly called me then I wouldn’t be going through this pain. But all this time, God was out there telling me to hold on because I had to endure this moment to get to where God wanted me but I couldn’t hear him over the words of the enemy. I was right where the enemy wanted me, trapped in my own thoughts.
But I was set free. You see there was this moment I had to pull over and allow tears to just flow down my face and be broken before God. At this very point was the point at which God met me. I yelled. I screamed at God. But a peace had come over me. It was in that moment that I knew I was free and all I had to do was let go.
God will meet you where he wants you. Today I walked into church with more happiness and joy than any Sunday over the last few months. I got to serve Jesus today and for that I am thankful.
The other day an unexpected thing happened. One of my closest friends through high school and college contacted me.
I had put her in a category of “not worth trying” and “I’ve been hurt far too many times”, but this time after two years of hardly any communication seemed different. There was urgency behind it. There was purpose.
She knew me when I didn’t know Christ. Shortly after she invited me to church and I began to get involved and walk with the Lord, our friendship diminished. God set our paths apart from each other, regardless of how much hurt in the moment, God had a plan.
His plan was for us to meet again at a coffee shop years later. We sat together like old times laughing with each other. But this time we had a meeting with a purpose. The topic, forgiveness. As the memories began rushing back, as things were mentioned, the hurt never did and for that I am thankful. But the moment, “I’m sorry” peirced the lips of an old friend, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. A weight I didn’t know I was carrying. The beauty is it didn’t matter what she said , it didn’t matter if she mentioned every little detail because I knew she had a genuine heart. I got a chance to let her know that not only that I forgave her but I got to ask forgiveness as well. It was an amazing moment, a freeing moment.
We all go around life carrying burdens, stresses, regrets, resentments, and just plan unforgiveness. But God doesn’t call us to hold on to them. He calls us to give them over to Him. When we don’t let him handle them it can bury us. It can have us turn towards to our old ways, our addictions, something that just makes us feel better in the moment.
Our friendship was pruned, so we could build it back up in Christ. I am excited to see if God decides to have it blossom again. If not, I am thankful for it leading to me Christ. I am thankful for a friend who never gave up on me.
Forgiveness is freedom.
The world needs Christians. They need authentic Christians. I look at churches and I see so many people who come just to be filled but they don’t care about their neighbors. They don’t care about the homeless person they see at the street corner.
It breaks my heart to see people clinch up, lock their doors, hide their purses or wallets because they don’t want people to see that they may have a few extra dollars. However, they are more than willing to give to a pet rescue agency standing at the corner. How can we be so ignorant as Christians? How can Christians give “generously” to agency’s and Christian organizations but yet can’t give to our own community or church? How can we do missions somewhere else but refuse to do them locally?
I’m really confused. Do we believe that if we do things because OUR “heart” is in it it is therefore worthy of our generosity and love? God states for all of us to generous because He is. He stated for all of us to be loving because He is. We ARE an example. If we don’t give and live out generous lives in giving, forgiveness, and love how do we expect for the ones around us to even come close?
Our hearts should be bent to where God places us in the moment. God didn’t put you in the city or town you are in to just live your own life. He put you there for a reason, he put you there to live out a life geared and pointed at Him because WE are the example and sometimes the ONLY example some people get.
Are you living a life geared towards the Heart of God or towards your own wants and desires?
So you’ve had a rough day. Don’t we all have those sometimes? Sometimes you “spilt the milk”, sometimes you have to clean up “spilt milk”, or even sometimes the milk isn’t spilt, it has just gone bad.
Maybe because you were rushed, maybe because you didn’t care, maybe you just messed up and it was a mistake. What do you do with that? How do you deal with something you screwed up on? First off, YOU don’t. More then likely you are getting yelled at, or someone is holding a huge grudge and is short and nasty to you.
You don’t handle it God does. Why? Because you can’t control others. You can’t pretend you can sit back and change their attitudes, you simply cannot. However, you can pray for them, you can give it over to God, and you have to forgive them just as much as they have to forgive you.
Some people do not think that forgiving someone can change their attitudes, their behavior; but it can if you let it and actually forgive them.
If you spilt the milk, apologize whole heartily. If you are cleaning up someone’s spilt milk, stop and forgive the person who spilt it, whole heartily. If the milk just went bad, then forgive yourself or the other person for acting sour.