Tag Archives: painful past

Letting Go

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I have a friend who recently asked me, “How do you let go?” He’s had a very rough couple of years. It started with one event and it has snow-balled to the point that it has affected every area of his life. He no longer has an optimistic outlook on life. He’s waiting for the bottom to fall out again. You see, every time he thinks he’s hit rock bottom, something else happens and the bottom falls out. This one event has changed not just his life, but who he is. He struggles with bitterness and he’s holding on to resentment. He doesn’t need or want a shallow answer to his question.

I could only share what worked in my life when I had held on to that kind of pain. My catalytic event was different than his, but I recognized the pain and hopelessness in him. I know all too well the mental battle he is facing. It took years for me to let go even after I finally did hit rock bottom. Everything I did for the next few years was done out of a heart that was still holding on to the pain and trying prove that they had made a mistake. I wasn’t living for something. I was living against someone. There is no peace when you live like that.

It wasn’t until I was reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:15. He said, “If you refuse to forgive others, your Father (God) will not forgive your sins.” I couldn’t find peace in my life because I was holding on to bitterness and I wouldn’t forgive. I had to make the mental choice to forgive and to let it go. I had to go through a mindset change because for years I had let that control my thoughts and actions. When I finally let go, the Prince of Peace came in brought balance back to my life. Thoughts of anger and bitterness no longer controlled me. It was still a fight to keep them out though, so I had to be on constant guard against them.

When I did let go of the things that were holding me captive, I found that my hands were free to receive from God. I also noticed that my motives changed and my outlook did too. I was no longer bound to the mindset that bad things were just going to keep happening and I needed to put my head down and deal with if. I now had a source of peace in my life. When bad things happen now, I hold on to the Prince of Peace instead of the pain and bitterness that the situations could cause.

We each have that choice. We can let events define us and change us, or we can cling to the one who created us. I saw a quote the other day that said, “You won’t know the strength of the anchor until you feel the force of the storm.” Too many times we don’t trust the anchor so we let go of it when the storms come. Bitterness then becomes a sail on the mast of pain. The winds of life blow us around until we crash on the rocks. We have to consciously pull down that sail and cut down that mast because ultimately it’s our choice of what we hold on to. I have decided to put my trust in the anchor, the Prince of Peace, and hold onto it instead of my past.

Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

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The Mom Who Was Granted Grace

I want go focus on mothers in the Bible this week. Today, Hannah comes to mind. She was the mother of Samuel. Her husband had another wife named Peninnah. She had blessed her husband with children, but Hannah had not. She struggled with infertility. I’m sure it bothered her all the time, but each year when they would travel to Shiloh to worship God, it would become a major issue. Her husband would give a portion of the sacrifice to Peninnah and to each of her children. To Hannah, he only gave one portion. Peninnah would taunt her and make fun of her for not having children.

I’m sure that Hannah struggled daily with not being able to have children. The voice in her head constantly tormented her making her feel like she was somehow less of a person because she couldn’t have kids. She must have felt like God was punishing her or that there was something wrong with her. Every time she saw a mother with their children, it was like a knife in a wound reminding her that she was barren. Having the other wife taunt her and make fun of her was just salt in the wound.

Her husband would say things like, “Aren’t I worth more to you than ten sons?” Men really don’t understand what a woman goes through. We aren’t wired the way a woman is. Instead of doing something consoling, we say something stupid. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her husband, she wanted fulfillment that only a child could bring. Her husband’ swords weren’t meant to hurt, but spoken out of ignorance, they did more harm than good. She would have preferred he prayed for her there while we sacrificed.

Since he didn’t, she did. She went into the sanctuary to pray. She began to weep as years of pain, suffering and mental anguish released. When she ran out of tears, her body dry heaved as she tried to pray. The words wouldn’t come out. Her mouth was moving, but the prayer was coming from her heart. Eli, the priest, saw her at the alter. He assumed she was drunk by her behavior. He called out to her, “Must you come here drunk?” Sobbing she replied, “I haven’t been drinking. But I am very discouraged and I was pouring my heart out to The Lord.” He said, “In that case, go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

She went away happy and began to eat again. She believed the word from Eli. She conceived and gave birth to a son. When he was old enough to be weaned, she took him back to Eli and gave him to The Lord. She left him there as an offering for God answering her prayer. She gave back the thing she wanted most. When I looked up the name Hannah, it meant “grace”. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines grace as “an unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration.” God gave Hannah grace just like he gives it to us. When Samuel was born, Hannah became a new person. She was free of the thing that haunted her. God is still in the business of answering our deepest desires and granting us grace when no one else understands.

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