New Living Translation (NLT)
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
This was a big part of our Pastor's sermon on Sunday... as we move into a new year it seems appropriate to leave the past behind and forge ahead. But more then forging ahead, we need to look forward to what lies ahead, to live for that future that is so promising and fulfilling. For Christians, we know what lies at the end of your journey... salvation, paradise, eternal life... such an amazing prize indeed! God is calling us there and we must move toward him.
But sometimes it is so hard to leave the past behind. So many times I have thought I was past something, that I had let it go...only to have it come crashing down on me later. The biggest area that this seems to happen to most of us are the areas that we are most closely connected to emotionally. The moments that have hurt us, wounded our hearts, moments of anger, distrust/dishonesty and, of course, moments of grief.
I wish I could say that I have moved past moments of anger and hurt and moved forward in Christ. But I know that I haven't in some areas, that I have a long way to go in forgetting past hurts. I have forgiven but somehow I can't forget and admittedly, sometimes I have not forgiven fully either. I am human and I know that much of this is natural but this reminder from Pastor Jeff was very much needed.
This past year has brought great healing in my life in regards to my grief. I feel like I have moved forwards leaps and bounds. I feel so free from the chains that grief held on to me. So much of this has happened because of the amazing things that God is putting on my heart and from the gentle push he gives me to seek new books and scriptures and most importantly, from the people he puts in my life.
Sometimes those are people in my real day to day life. I have some amazing friends who are just so supportive. Some of them are those he has given me in my church circle but not all of them are. One in particular is someone who isn't even sure what she believes and who doesn't ever go to church. She has given me much to think about and she has given so much support in areas of my life where others seem to judge in, criticize in or simply turn a blind eye to.
Within my church circle there are people who just listen. Who don't judge or question my reasons, motives or actions...they just are there for me when I need them. Some just send me a text or message on days that they know I am struggling, others just seem to know when to call or show up with a diversion, a hug or a surprise of some sort. I am so very blessed!
But God has also brought some people to my life who I have never met and many, most actually, who I never will. They have given me strength and hope beyond what I ever thought possible and they have helped me find peace and acceptance. Some of these friends have done this through their support of my journey...through messages, phone calls, help understanding diagnostic results and reports and their encouragement and support of me as I have worked through my grief. But their are a great many others that God has put in my life that have helped me to move into the future by allowing me to encourage and support them, to help them find help, support, funding and most of all, hope. Sadly, as many of you have seen me write about in the past and many who are involved like I am have also experienced, not everyone is open to the support that some of us like to give. Some people are, sadly, very territorial almost of TTTS and will do just about anything to prevent those whose opinions are different, whose approaches are different, from helping those who need it most.
And I fit into that category...someone who has different approaches, opinions and views. This has been a year of much change and therefore much conflict in the TTTS world and it has been a year where I have questioned my involvement over and over, a year where my feelings have been hurt and my heart stepped on a few times. I have gotten angry at the insensitivity of others, at the disrespect given to others. I have shown disrespect myself and been personally convicted of it. I have swallowed my pride (which I know I should not have anyway) and apologized for things I have said and done. I have been further hurt to have my words of apology twisted, my faith questioned and been spoken of in terms of blasphemy and hypocrite. I just had this exposed to me in the last few weeks again and discovered that people I had trusted weren't who they appeared to be. In the fall out of that I found myself in conversation with a sister in Christ who asked me why I thought I was the one that always seemed to be a target. Without even thinking I replied that it's because the enemy knows my weakness and knows that I hurt when others say things like this about me, that I am easily wounded and question myself and I wear my heart on my sleeve so they all know how hurt I am.
And so in my reflecting in the days following last Sunday's service and the scripture above I am deciding to move into 2013 with a new resolve. I will forget the past and what hurt has happened. I will will look forward to what is ahead, I will forgive and move on, not stopping or even pausing to consider the words of others that are done in disrespect or anger. I feel very strongly that God has called me to help others, to offer support, to connect those in need with the services that will help and to just simply be there. I feel this is a gift he has given me and that it brings me closer to him. I have many areas in my life to press forward with, many things that bring me closer to the prize that is my salvation. Jesus is with me, he will guide me and I will listen...not getting distracted by the words of the enemy presented by those I mentioned, not getting too caught up in any of the areas of life that separate me from him. I will pray often for guidance to know what is too much, to where the line needs to be drawn in offering support and still being in the moments of my life that bring glory to him.To those who are part of the world that, admittedly, sometimes takes up too much of my life, I encourage you to also let go of the past and move on. Let God guide you to do what is right for you. Perhaps someone will share this message with those who are on the 'opposite side of the TTTS fence' and maybe some healing, understanding and co-operation can be found.
Happy New Year! May 2013 bring you peace when you are full of unrest, joy when your heart is aching and hope when the light at the end of the tunnel is so hard to see. May you feel God in each moment.