It was my biological father’s funeral. I had met him a couple of times over my life time. I went out of respect, though he was a stranger to me. So I wasn’t expecting all the feelings that rushed in. The anger when the song, “I Did It My Way” was played. The hurt as I was met by a handful of his buddies who said, “Oh my goodness, we can tell you are his daughter.”
I climbed in the car and started toward home, Richard driving.
“What’s going on, babe?”
Tears came. I couldn’t explain it. I was angry. I was sad. I was confused by the feelings. And as I considered my own children and how much I loved them, I wondered how he could live his life loving some of his kids and not others. I started thinking about all the things I wanted to say to him. I wanted to set him straight. I wanted him to know what he had missed. I wanted him to know that his selfish (I did it my way) philosophy left people impacted in its wake. A few minutes into that, a gentle voice I’ve come to know whispered in my heart.
I thought we left that place, Suzie.
I had left that place of unforgiveness, of resentment, of trying to change what was already done. God had shown me the power of forgiving, even as others refused to say they were sorry, or change, or become what I wish they would. God moved in and took up residence in those old wounds and showed me what healing looked like.
Forgiveness was (and is) freedom.
And yet here I was wrestling again. It made sense because I was leaving a funeral of a man who was never a father to me or my sister, but here I was back in that place of resentment and anger.
I’m so thankful that God gives us sacred space to work through hard feelings and to share those with him; it’s needed. But he is also a Healer and he was calling me back to that place of freedom.
As I listened to today’s episode of More Than Small Talk with Holley and Jennifer and myself, I can’t help but be grateful for the healing God has done in my heart. Sharing that moment brought tears in the episode — not of sadness, but of sheer joy of who God is and what he does when we struggle.
Are you struggling to forgive? If so, you are not alone.
Do you wonder if it’s possible? It is.
Do you want to live free and find healing in this area? It’s for you, sweet friend. I know that because I’ve walked it. I’ve lived it. I continue to reach for it. If you found healing and those feelings have cropped up again, just know that we all go through that. The enemy would like nothing more than to drag us down that old road we once traveled. Your feelings matter to God, and he’s the safest place in the world to bring them.
He also has more to give you as you bring them to him.
That day, I rolled down my window and put my hand out, palm up, to release those feelings of anger. To release the things I could not change. To release the broken man who didn’t know how to be a dad to some of his kids, and to find compassion for the brokenness he must have walked in.
And as I did, God did something incredible.
He took up residence in that wound and made himself at home one more time.
He is our Healer. Is God calling you to release that resentment and anger one more time? Open wide your heart, thoughts, and soul and let Him step into those wounded places to do what only God can do.
I have three powerful resources for you today.
The word forgive is not, as many people think, one dimensional. It does not just mean let go and let God, a challenge for anyone who has experienced traumatizing abuse, injustice, neglect, or abandonment. In The Unburdened Heart, we discover the multiple facets of forgiveness found in the Scriptures. We can, with the help of God’s Spirit, leave pain to find wholeness, leave regret to find purpose, and leave the past to live fully in the present.
- TogetHER study beginning February 1, 2020: Finding Freedom Through Forgiveness (and how to live it). Join in this 21-day interactive study on FB. To do so, join the free TogetHER Community and Bible Study group. Then click on Events and join to discover all the details.
- Listen to this week’s More Than Small Talk podcast episode: Fresh Start Forgiveness. (You can find all the ways to listen here.)