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If you’re like every other human being in this world, you can think of a number of instances where you’ve either been wounded by another or can’t move past a painful experience. It might be a personal violation that has forever redefined the way you do life, like when you were unjustly cheated out of an opportunity or betrayed by a spouse or friend. Jesus knew these times would come when he warned us in John, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” In other words, we don’t have to stay “stuck.” Christ gave us of escape.
In Philippians 3 Paul gave further instruction, as well, “Brothers and sisters, Forget what lies behind.” But that has always been an oxymoron to me. How can we forget wrongdoings or hurtful circumstances? Friend, we can’t literally forget, but we can participate in the next part of that verse to “reach forward to the things ahead.” We can take steps to move beyond the misfortune or injustice.
My husband left me when my children were two and four. Horrified to be a single mother, God enrolled me in the school of “Learning How to Forget.” I’m a living testimony that no matter what happens, there is a way to advance to the place where we are no longer permanently harmed by life. And how is that possible? God gave me three truths to move me in the right direction.
You can choose to let go. We can choose or not choose. In my daily outreach to women, I’ve discovered that some ladies don’t want to forget. They’d rather remember. It allows them to feel like they’re in control which shields them from having to learn a whole new way of thinking. To choose to let go is to release unfairness and entrust the situation into the hands of the Father. No one ever moves Godward until they first confront their will to do so. I remember the day that my will made the choice to let go. I was on the aisle by the Christmas stockings in a craft store, a deliberate moment in time. I said, “God, I’m done with this emotional roller coaster. This is yours now.”
Forgiveness means choosing grace. Many of us have a wrong perception of what forgiveness is. We think it means forgetting the wrong that was done or letting the other person off the hook of responsibility. Or we might think it means to disregard the seriousness of the offense, to ignore the heartache, or place the problem on the back burner and hope that time will heal the womb. None of that is true. Forgiveness is a choice to cancel the debt owed and yield our right to God that the other person make right the wrong that was done. God was asking me to extend mercy and grace by giving my offender to Him and trusting the Father to redeem the situation. Only then did I begin to feel the distance between my angst and God’s presence.
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There is a bigger picture. I remember my first parade. I was in the fourth grade and we marched for my Brownie troop. To this day, I love parades. But there’s one parade that captivates my thoughts. It’s the parade of my life story from God’s perspective. He sees every float representing the seasons of my life. Though I might be on float number twelve, He sees the entire procession from beginning to end. He knows how He is going to work it all together for good. It’s my job to learn from the past floats and use those hurtful ones to draw me closer to Jesus. The reason we can’t forget is because we’re short-sighted by not believing that God wastes no sorrows. The problem is not that our offense is too big but that our God is too small.
Today God has used the heartaches of what I thought I could not forget (my divorce), and launched Arise Ministries, a global ministry for single mothers. I marvel at His greatness. I wonder what would have happened had I chosen to live in a state of remembrance instead of a state of reaching ahead. We don’t have to live trapped in what happens “to” us. It can work “for” us.
Pam Kanaly, selected as National Mother of Achievement – 2015 - in Washington, DC, and popular author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, remains one of the nation’s leading advocates for single mothers. As founder of the single mothers’ conferences – Survive ‘N’ Thrive, Pam exudes with a God-given passion in seeing women walk in their value in Christ. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries bringing encouragement to single mothers worldwide through their online education center: EQUIP. Pam’s been featured on the 700 Club along her own national television talk show. Pam is a favorite in Oklahoma having been nominated by the Governor for Oklahoma Mother of Achievement – 2015. Pam and her husband Rich reside in Edmond, Oklahoma. ariseministries.net
Publication date: October 15, 2015