Friday, July 30, 2010

Embracing the Sunrise

I heard a story one time about a woman who had suffered years of physical abuse from her husband. After ten years, she finally managed to break away from the hold he had on her, and even though she had re-married and moved on with her life, those feelings of hate and resentment were never far away. It was like a boulder tied to her waist; she was never free.

One day, an idea came to her. She went to the store and bought ten helium balloons and a black marker. Then she drove out to an open field.


Taking the balloons, she wrote a number from one to ten on each one. She got out of the car with the balloons and for a long time she sat on the ground, thinking of the years of abuse she had suffered at the hands of a man she once loved.

But today was the day for forgiving. As she released the balloons—one for each year of marriage—she visualized all of the hurt, the pain, the hatred that she had carried around for years floating away from her and out of sight.

She says it was only then that she forgave her ex-husband, and, strangely, only then did she feel truly freed from her past. The weight she had carried so long was gone.


Carrying past hurts and personal mistakes around is a self-defeating activity. It's like trying to walk with a ball and chain on your ankle. It keeps you from moving forward, and is constantly rekindling unpleasant feelings. Every time you would get on with your life, the ball and chain yanks you back, reminding you that you aren't free to move forward. Your spirit is still bound to the past. It’s a trick of the enemy.

It is only when we truly forgive others, and ourselves (which is just as important), that we will be free to move forward.

No doubt, we've all been hurt by someone—by actions, by words, by lies—and surely we've all been guilty of hurting others, as well. Neither is a great feeling. They both can keep us from God. Whether it’s holding onto bitterness and anger from being hurt, or feeling the weight of guilt and self-hatred for having hurt others, such things are debilitating and can consume our thoughts. I’ve been in both places. It can be a long journey to freedom, either way.


A religious teacher once had this to say about the past: "Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?"

I’m guilty of falling short on every level—as a wife, as a mother, as a friend, as a sister, as a daughter, as a neighbor, as a church member. You name it. I’m not a great example of anything, except a flawed human being in need of God’s mercy. But I can’t allow my frailties to be my excuses, nor to hold me back from becoming a better person.


We can, and should, apologize to those we've wounded, and do our best to make things right. Whether they forgive us or not is up to them, but we must forgive ourselves and believe that God has forgiven us. It isn't healthy to wallow in yesterday's mistakes. Neither should we replay the harsh words and hurts that others have brought to us, over and over in our minds.

Today is a new day, and it’s God’s will that we come boldly to the throne of grace, that we let go of the mistakes and pain of our past, and walk humbly into the future. What did the Apostle Paul say? "Putting the past behind me … I press forward." It's the will of God. It's the best we can do.

Until next time, dear friends, I'm embracing the sunrise. Won't you join me?

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Joining my friends at "Spiritual Sundays" today,
where it's all about inspiration and encouragement.

25 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. I know that it is going to minister to someone who really needs it at this time. I like the photos you chose to go along with it. God bless you.

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  2. Hi Dayle, A great reminder that we should let go and let God so that we can live life to its fullest.

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  3. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. It speaks to me as I am sure it does to many of your blog friends.

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  4. The balloons are a great visual! Pressing on and not looking back. Love that verse!

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  5. Thanks Dayle, I needed to hear this today.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  6. Yes, Dayle. I'll embrace the sunrise with you. We will let go and let God. Lovely post. Susan

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  7. This is from God to me to let my bitterness and unforgiveness go. I can't worry about others, just myself. Thanks for bringing me His word.

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  8. Soaking in your words today. I think I'm doing really good and then the enemy brings it all back to me during the night. I keep trying to press forward, and pray that God gives me peace as I do so. Have a blessed Sunday!

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  9. Great reminder to live by every day. To forgive others and ourselves and start anew...Free by the Grace of God.
    Sweet Blessings,
    Virginia

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  10. Dear Dayle,
    What a wonderful, inspiring story...I will go through the day thinking of those balloons and your wonderful words.

    I have a prayer blog called I Owe it All to Him...I don't usually have a link event, but there is one today and you are welcome to link up so people will be able to read your blog...it is so inspirational. I just became a follower.
    Hugs,
    Cindy
    http://Ioweitalltohim.blogspot.com

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  11. I have been finished reading a few books on forgiveness. One was called "Left to Tell" by Immaculee Ilibagiza . She went through the Rwandan holocaust and still was enable by God to forgive and love those who had killed her family and friends. I also read Amish Grace. This is a book about the killing of the Amish kids in their classroom and the response of forgiveness by the Amish and it went into what forgiveness is etc. Then I just finished watching the movie called, :Kaol: A man who became Pope" which is about Pope Paul II's life of terrible suffering in Poland before he became pope and how his example of forgiveness and love caused even some of his enemies to come to God. It is amazing what God can do when His Spirit enables people to live in His light.

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  12. my therapist had told me to stuff inside the balloons the pain, the shame. the hurts...and then let them go and as they float higher and higher continue to let those things go. Your story reminded me of that and that visual worked so well....

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  13. Rituals are a technique I use in my practice to help people let go of negative things. I believe it is the Lord that makes these rituals effective. He knows we sometimes need a visual or an action that will help us to mentally let go. What a great and merciful God we serve. Thanks for the post. God bless, Bobbi

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  14. It takes so much more energy to be angry than it does to forgive. I need all the energy I have these days.
    Thank-you for a wonderful post.
    Blessings,
    Ginger

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  15. Years ago while my husband and I were going through a difficult patch in our marriage we began to see a Life Coach. We then began dealing with our childhood issues. One night we went to our Housechurch and a man who is gifted in the Prophetic had a word for my husband. He shared that the Lord wanted my husband to literally speak out those things that he had been hurt by in the past and that the Lord was saying
    "Can I have it now?" It was LIFE CHANGING once he sat down and laid down each and every offense at the Lords feet, just as your story shares! The Lord LONGS to carry our burdens if we would just let HIM!

    Great post Dayle!

    Have a blessed week

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  16. Wonderful. Just wonderful. I very much enjoy it when I can go from one sister to the other in my blog reading and get a double dose of spiritual medicine.

    I want to use the balloons in my S.S. teaching. It's a wonderful story. In thinking about forgiveness, I find it to be so perfect too. I know in my heart and say with my mouth that forgiveness for the Christian isn't just letting it drop but placing it into the capable hands of God. What BETTER visual than in the giving "up" of a helium balloon.

    Thanks, dear gifted one. I loved it.

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  17. what wonderfully wise words! i forgive easy but i have a friend who it is difficult for. i see how unhappy she is because of it. i love your story of the balloons- great idea!

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  18. Unforgiveness is the poison we drink expecting the other person to die.

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  19. Hi Dayle,
    I'm wondering if you could send me a note at my email address...I'm at cindylou_20@hotmail.com

    Thanks so much!
    Hugs,
    Cindy

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  20. I just read today on Twitter that forgiving is like setting a captive free, but only after you have done so do you realize the captive was you.

    Beautifully written! Thank you!

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  21. Hi Dayle,
    I am your newest follower!
    I just read a few of your posts and am so encouraged and challenged!
    I can't wait to hear what else you are talking about!
    I am also happy to have a new-to-me Sister in Christ!
    Blessings to you as you make your home!
    ~me

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  22. Dayle,
    I've been struggling with some things that happened in my marriage - things that just pop into my mind and I rehash them over and over...thanks for your post it reminds me that I have to put those things into a bag, sling the bag over my shoulder, drop it and walk away. I heard that advice soon after my divorce and have been trying to forgive and walk away ever since.

    ~Jean

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  23. How encouraging! You hit it on the mark with the ball and chain...how you are weighted down. Excellent post! :)

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Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle