Every time I hear the theme music of Mission Impossible, I get excited. I know there is going to be a lot of action and intrigue ahead for the IMF team. I actually watched the television show when I was a young girl before Tom Cruise made it so popular with the movie version. Each time you watched the shows or the movies, the IMF team was given an impossible task to perform to save someone or something from happening. I loved watching them figure out the best way to accomplish their task and turning the mission from impossible to possible.
Most of us in our lifetime, come to a point when we question God. We want to know why He allowed certain things to happen to us. I was filled with so many questions that I wanted answers to. “Why did you allow my Dad to cause so much destruction? Why was he allowed to hurt us so much? Why didn’t anyone help us?” (That little girl inside of me was holding her blanket and stomping her feet. She wanted answers!)
Bitterness, anger and resentment were a security blanket to me. I knew in my brain that I needed to forgive my Dad, but I felt like if I let my anger, resentment and bitterness go, then I wouldn’t have anything left. I was so afraid to give them up! I had them in my life for so long that I didn’t know what I would be like without them.
God spoke to me and said, “Laurie, forgiving won’t make the offense alright, it will make you alright. I want you to be free. Freedom comes when you forgive.” I responded, “But Lord, it is so hard to do this! You are asking me to forgive and show mercy to someone who has never shown it to me. I can’t do it! I need your help to do this! But, I also know that if I don’t, all the anger, resentment and bitterness will eat me alive. Your way is far better than mine! You are asking me to do this because you know how much it is going to help me.”
I began to picture God rocking me. He says, “Little one, I am not going to make you do anything. I know how hard it is to forgive. I am here to help you. I know you are angry. I know exactly how you feel. I am going to stay with you and help you. I want you to trust me and lean on me.”
I respond, “Father, I know your truth, but I can’t connect with it. I am surrounded by your words, but I can’t embrace them. Lies hinder my ability to grasp the truth. I am not able to get over the pain of the past. I feel like someone is going to hurt me and I am not going to be able to stop them. I am letting the lies perpetuate the pain. Lies dictate, control and victimize me on a daily basis. I need to get rid of the lies and replace them with your truth. Help me to receive your love and truth! I am going to choose to believe you. My feelings aren’t there yet, but my mind chooses to believe your words.”
Not only did I need to forgive my father, I needed to forgive God for giving me that father. I didn’t realize I was mad at God until I started journaling. It scared me to death to say that I was mad at God. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around God allowing all the horrible things that happened to me. I needed help to forgive and God sent it my way. My husband was listening to a radio broadcast and heard R.T. Kendall speak about forgiveness. He told me I needed to listen to it. I listened and then went out the next day to buy his book called Total Forgiveness.
R.T. says, “Confidence toward God is ultimately what total forgiveness is all about.” That statement made complete sense to me. My confidence in God was shaken so I was having trouble forgiving. I needed to regain confidence in God and the only way for me to do this was focus on what his word says about him and about forgiveness. I think forgiving someone is probably one of the hardest things to do, but the person that gains the most from forgiving is the person who does the forgiving. It is definitely a process. I thought that if I prayed to forgive my Dad that I would immediately feel different and would have peace. It didn’t work out that way because my heart wasn’t forgiving him. My brain and my heart weren’t in unison yet.
One of the key things I want to convey to you is that forgiveness is necessary and God commands that we do it. At this stage in my life, I was at war with myself on a daily basis trying to get my heart and my head to agree. I was having panic attacks, trying to be a mom and wife, and also given the task to be my Dad’s caregiver. He had a stroke which affected his brain and caused dementia. He had many business ventures so his lawyers wanted me to become his legal guardian. They convinced me it was best for everyone that I take on that task. I loved my Dad, so I said yes. Let’s just say that my Dad was not thrilled to have his daughter in charge of him and his decisions. There were many, many days in conflict with him. He was mad at his condition and mad at me for trying to tell him what to do. I was experiencing a lot of conflict spiritually and emotionally. Forgiveness seemed impossible to me, but I knew in my brain that it was possible with God’s help.
Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall was the best book I read to help me to forgive. He has wonderful insight on this subject. In the next few blogs, I am going to be sharing with you what I learned about forgiving. If you are having issues with forgiveness, I highly recommend getting this book. My prayer is that what I learned will help you.
Until next time fellow sojourners!