Friday, December 13, 2013

A Year of Grace

Last December, I came in contact with some Instagram friends who had a word for the year.  I wanted to learn more about this word...and how they each picked it.  What I gathered is that instead of making New Year's Resolutions, they picked a word to focus on for the year.  What a great idea!  

I think New Year's Resolutions are overrated.  They get made and about two weeks later, they get left behind in the dust.  So I decided that I wanted in on this little word-picking-for-the-year-shindig.  Boy am I glad that I did.

If you remember, I picked to word Grace for 2013.  Let me just tell you, I had no idea what the Lord had planned for me this year.  Oh goodness.

My mind was open to giving and receiving grace this year...but I shortly learned that my heart was not.  I knew that I wasn't grace-filled.  I knew that I needed to be working on it.  But my heart was completely shut to the idea of grace.  Oh I could receive God's grace...his forgiveness, but I couldn't seem to give grace to people who needed it.  Something was seriously wrong with that picture.

I am a fairly dense individual.  I don't get subtle hints very well and that includes when God is talking to me.  I feel that He has to hit me over the head when it comes things He needs me to hear and learn.

This year, what I didn't know was that God was working in my heart.  He was softening it little by little.  Then one day, He poured His truth on me.  My eyes were open.  My heart was listening, and I was broken.

The next few weeks were emotionally painful for me.  I was working through pain that I had held onto for years.  I was working through situations that hadn't been resolved.  I was working through a mountain of lies that Satan had been telling me through those years that I had chosen to believe.  Yes, I chose to believe those things.

I had even broken down and asked my small group for prayer as I was sorting through all of the issues.  I had been held captive to unforgiveness, bitterness, and even hatred.  I was tired of living this life.  I wanted a life of freedom.

You see when you harbor unforgiveness in your life, the only person you are hurting is yourself.  For some reason I thought that holding onto hurt and anger and grudges would be the way to go.  I thought it was the only way that I could live.  I didn't ever think that I could ever begin to forgive.  

I was right about that, though.  I couldn't ever forgive.  Not on my own.  If it were up to me, and only me, I would hold onto all of that for the rest of my life.  I would try to get even.  I would be filled with hate forever.  It is only through the grace of God that I could forgive.  It is only because I allowed Christ into my heart and let my guard down, that I could truly know what it meant to forgive.

Through lots of prayer, reading the Word, writing down my thoughts, and the encouragement and prayer of my small group, I finally found that freedom.  Slowly but surely, my heart is being healed of all the hurt, guilt, and hate.  I know that God is Healer.  But what I hadn't really known is how He can truly heal my heart...from a pain that I never thought that I would be rid of.  He can heal my wounds...the ones that cut so deep.  He can heal my attitude towards others.  

God has broken down those walls in my heart.  He has busted through and stamped out all the lies.  He has has restored my soul which has allowed me to forgive and extend grace to those in my life who have needed it.  This has been nothing short of a miracle.

God definitely gets all the glory in this story.  There is no way that on my own I would have been able to make this kind of progress.  There is no way that on my own I would even be talking about God's Grace today.

Friends, I am here to tell you that God can truly heal you...but only if you let Him in.  Is there an area in your life that you need to let Him in?  I kept this part of my life from Him for so was such a burden to bear.   But when I finally let Him in, I found freedom.  I found peace.  Most of all, I found grace.  

No more am I a slave to hurt...guilt...hate...bitterness.  I am free.

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