But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:13b-14
February 27, 2014 Every year I come to a place where I feel God is stretching me in an area of my life where I have a strong conviction that God is saying, “work here.” It is usually an area in my life where my eyes are opened to the ugliness of my heart. I’m quite certain, because I’ve been told by those that love me, that I am a stubborn, strong-willed soul. I see these things in both of my girls, while Presley has a quiet stubbornness, Hope has a fiery stubbornness that shows her strong-willed heart daily.
It’s no secret that a few years ago I felt a tugging in my heart to work on the fear in my life that held me captive for decades. I continue to struggle here, but have learned to move forward and not sit and wallow- if you will- in the depths of my fear. I journal for a reason. I write down my heart for a purpose. It’s truly how God reaches my stubborn heart..where He reveals things to me.
I have a strong memory from my past, after grieving my mom’s death, where I was deathly afraid of “forgetting my grief.” Afraid of forgetting what I had learned through all of her sickness. I never wanted the pain of her death or the things that I struggled through to be in vain. And I never wanted to forget the fact that in the midst of my grief I still held to the truth that God Is Good. I knew God had a reason for taking her from us so soon, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be open to what it was that He wanted to show me. What he wanted me to learn during that time. I did harden my heart for a period of time because of the amount of pain I felt; but I eventually had to make an assertive decision to forge forward and accept the journey he called me to live through in dealing with my grief.
In the midst of my grief I would hear from the world “time heals all wounds”
“you never get over it, you just learn to live with it.”
It didn’t take long for me to realize that these statements hold no truth. Time doesn’t heal all wounds and you never learn to live with it….you can’t. God heals all wounds and because of His grace we do not have to learn to live with it. You can carry around pain for years and never be healed. Time doesn’t exist when dealing with the matters of the heart- especially with the grief of losing someone. God is constantly working in me and continuously teaching me things through my mom and past pains of my life. However, God also wants us to move forward, to live forward, and to love forward. So how do I remember what I’ve learned through my trials rather than the scars of those trials? How do I leave behind the scars while still moving forward with what I have learned? Grace. God’s grace allows me to move forward…accepting grace and extending grace to those around me.
I realized that for me to move forward fearless would require me to move forward in grace. I admit it’s easy for me to receive grace. I happily receive the grace that is extended to me daily by those I love, but it is hard for me to extend that same grace to others. Especially to my children and those closest to me because, let’s be honest, I require more of them. I have higher expectations of those I love. I am required to extend grace daily and God gives me enough strength in His love to do this.
…But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:13b-14
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead is where grace rests. Grace lives in the moments we strain forward towards the future. Grace cannot live in the past. It cannot live in the “what ifs of yesterday.” Extending grace is to live forward without looking into life’s yesterdays. And in the same way, forgiveness comes when I am able to repent and accept that God has poured more grace upon me than I deserve. For I am in way greater need of grace than the person living in the shadows of my past.