Please join me for the next 31 days and walk with me through the healing process.

The Nester, every October, does a stint on 31 days of writing about anything that you want.  Please check out all the amazing 31 Days stories.

"We've shared many smiles and many tears, but nothing beats the laughter!"
I called my friend and mentor to tell her what happened between me and my parents because I knew she would understand,.  She walked through it all with me in high school and I knew that I would find comfort in our conversation.  However, out of her mouth came something I DID NOT expect.

"What's going on?"
"My parents cut ties with us." (I'm sobbing buckets of tears. . .)
"BAH HA HA!" (Cue laughter for a few seconds.)

I was a little stunned.  It even caused me to pause ever so slightly.  I started thinking, "Did she HEAR what I said?  My parents NO LONGER want to have a relationship with me and my family!"

Um, yah.  She did hear me.  And yes, she did understand.  She understood so well because she went through a similar situation.

Throughout our conversation, she just kept chuckling.  I love that through the pain she could help me find the laughter within me.  For the last 16 years she has remained constant in who she is to me.  Nothing has waivered, not even a little bit.  We've had our share of ups and down while I was in high school, but she didn't love me any less.  Her love was not and is not conditional. 

"Katie," one of the few people who can call me by that name, "you cannot change them.  But what you can change are the tapes that they created that you continue to play in your head.  That's what you can change."

Her words of encouragement and her chuckles, even for those few minutes, were so precious to me.  When I felt like I wouldn't be able to pick up the pieces, she offered up her wisdom and experience.  Oh how it felt to laugh.  It felt so good. 

I find it strange that I can laugh at all.  I suppose it's my coping mechanism.  My drug of choice.  My temporary fix. 
"Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains." Proverbs 14:13
I don't want the grief to remain.  I need to learn to let go.

What do you have a hard time of letting go?
 
 
Please forgive me for forgetting to acknowledge the basis of the 31 days.  The Nester, every October, does a stint on 31 days of writing about anything that you want.  Please check out her 31 days (#13) here.


It's kind of funny how God talks to us. 

I've been trying to figure out what kind of relationship I truly want with my grandparents.  Last Wednesday I started writing a letter to them because I knew they were upset with me.  Well, I didn't really know it.  That has just been their M.O. for as long as I can remember:  Get angry, give me the silent treatment, Kate calls and asks how they're doing and life goes on.  Or so I thought.  So any way, I was sitting in my car listening to the radio waiting for Jada to finish up Cubbies for Awanas, when while I'm writing, this song came on.  Now if you're like me, you just sing to the song or listen, but not really know what you're saying or listening to.  At this particular moment, I dropped my pen to just listen.  God wanted to talk with me and I cranked up the music.
I can't believe what she said
I can't believe what he did
Oh, don't they
know it's wrong
Don't they know it's wrong
Well maybe there's something I
missed
But how could they treat me like this
It's wearing out my
heart
The way they disregard

This is love or this is hate.
We all
have a choice to make

Oh, Father won't You forgive them
They don't
know what they've been doin' (oh no)
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive
them
Cause I feel like the one losin'

Well it's only the dead that can
live
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that's mine
Seventy
times seven times
Cause Lord it doesn't feel right
For me to turn a blind
eye
Though I guess it's not that much
When I think of what You've
done.

This is love or this is hate.
We gotta a choice to
make

Oh Father won't You forgive them
They don't know what they've
been doin' (oh no)
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel
like the one losin'

Why do we think that our hate's gonna break a hard
heart
We're rippin' arms over wars that don't need to be fought
Cause
pride wont let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but
it's just to burn them down
We think our pain is own apologies and get them
to stop
Well truth be told it doesn't matter if they're sorry or not
Cause
freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of Your mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down

[X2]
Oh Father won't you forgive
them
They don't know what they've been doin'
Oh Father, give me grace to
forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losin'
I feel like I've been
losing

Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the
one losin'
This song is very popular, but since Wednesday, I have heard it no less than twice a day on the radio and I only have the radio on to and from work.  The lyrics, it feels, like they were meant just for me.  God knows just what I need to hear.  And let me tell you, I just want to give thanks to HIM because I can't do this alone.  I also want to thank my husband, who has been a wonderful leader for this family.   He stood by my side during the altercation and continues to stick by me in love and support.  I am so blessed.

I didn't think forgiveness would come to me as eagerly as it has today.  And I'm talking about TRUE forgiveness.  The kind where you know it because it speaks to your very core.  Sure, I'm still mad as hell, but God has softened my heart for me.  My heart is malleable in His hands.  He has surrounded me with people who are letting me vent, but are also leading me down the path of forgiveness.  I can speak freely.  I am free to be me, which is a concept that I struggle with, but I don't have to worry about the outcome.  Since forgiveness doesn't roll off my tongue as easily as I would like it to,I'm glad I have my support team.

Community. . .It helps the forgiveness medicine go down.
 
 
Lord, hear my cry.  Take my heart.  Mend it. Help me to forgive. Walk me through these words.
Well look at that.  I'm still breathing.  Thank you to everyone who sent a message and/or called to talk with me today.  This experience has shown me just how important community is in my life.  I love you all.

So what happened?  How did we end up like this? 
Grudges, hurt, anger. . .unforgiveness. 

Un-for-give-ness.  This is how it all started. 

My grandparents have been harboring hurt for far too many years.  I don't think they got the chance to heal from the death of their daughter, my mother.  She has been gone 20 years.  So if you think about it, there has been a lot of hurt that has been building upon that cornerstone. They have allowed any and all little grievances to find a way to embed themselves like splinters deep down in their hearts.  During our short conversation on Saturday, they could only reference the past hurt that I caused to them while in high school.  Those issues happened about 15 years ago.  My hurtful tongue wants to use hateful words.  And my heart wants to harbor anger for them being angry. 
But I REFUSE to be like them in that way.  I want to take the good qualities about them and incorporate those into my life.  I want to get rid of the poison that has been slowly killing our family.  I want to change what we've always thought was normal.  But I need to forgive as they have not forgiven.

God has gently whispered:  “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."  (Matthew 6:14-15)  Now THAT scares me.  My heavenly Father not forgiving me, quite frankly, scares the crap out of me.  But I'm NOT the heavenly Father.  Forgiveness does not come easily to me. 

So Lord, I pray that with your continued guidance, you will help me and my family learn to forgive. 
 
 
Picture
Photo from www.rahpteens.org
Now here comes the ugliness. 

At times I can have a short temper and a quick tongue when I am angry.  It's something that I have not intentionally attempted to work on until recently. 

During a conversation with one of my accountability partners, she made mention to me something that I "knew," but didn't really know how to handle.  She said, "You need to sit in front of the toilet and purge yourself of all the unrighteous anger you have and flush it away and ask God to help you work through it."  Ugh...

The last couple of months have been a season that I have been dreading to go through.  I have been "content," so to speak, with the anger I have been harboring.  I haven't forgiven some people for hurting me and all of this is making me an ugly person inside.  I have been sulking in my anger and my hurt for far too long.  I don't know why it has taken me so long to realize, "It's not them.  It's me."  I can't change how they are, but I can change myself.  I can choose to RESPOND, rather than REACT.

Last night I was forced gently to my knees for a situation that is about to unfold later today.  I was forced to acknowledge a lot of issues that I have been fighting to work through.  I was forced to surrender, truly surrender, everything to my God.  I started off with a river full of tears and finally ended in a contented sigh.  God's peace just filled me.  I called and texted a couple of girlfriends and requested prayer and I totally felt the prayers coming through. 

This healing process may not resolve today after the conversation takes place, but I will continue to seek God out for healing.  I need to establish boundaries during this conversation.  But before I can begin to establish these said boundaries, I need to work on me, but I only have a few short hours.  In these next 4 1/2 hours, I need to identify the symptom, identify the conflict and identify the need that drives the conflict.  I also need to take in and receive the good, practice these newfound boundary skills and learn to say, "No," to the bad.  Yet, all of that comes with a little something extra.  I NEED to forgive the aggressor(s). I NEED to RESPOND, not REACT.  I NEED to learn to LOVE in freedom and responsibility, NOT in GUILT.  This is such a L-O-N-G list of things that I have to learn and enforce in ONE DAY!  I'm glad that I can no longer runaway from the issue.  I need to purge everything...STAT!

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers  flare.
Lord, I pray that your words will flow from me today.  That your heart and gentleness speak louder than my own voice.  Amen.