Originally published Wednesday, 12 August 2015.
"Sure you are okay?" my friend simply asked. I don't know how he knew but he did. That's what friends are for. This particular person though knows me well. I tried to not let the tears show but water hit the rims and simply fell on my cheeks. I sniffled a little. That must have tipped my friend off.
In Bible class, we talked about some struggles we face in our faith. And those struggles can distort the way you view God as a loving Father. Our hearts are like an onion aren't they? Life pulls off one layer at a time and then it's up to us to choose how to respond to each situation. Some people grow up in an atmosphere of encouragement. Some do not. Some are reared in very violent situations, some have peace-filled homes. Some are without parents, some have only one. Circumstances that happen to us when we are young come back to haunt us.
My pastor was talking about many things that could have a positive or negative affect on your emotions when you are child and how you grow up with faulty kind of love that humans give. So let's just leave it at that though to describe how I grew up. I lived with a lot of faults and with the flawed view of things. I mean, who has had a perfect childhood?
I was remembering some awkward times from my own past plus reminding myself that I have overcome a lot of negative feelings toward myself. That's a good thing, but when I thought about them again, I experienced what I like to call a "heart-ache." Don't get me wrong, my past wasn't violent or disturbing. It was fairly normal. Growing up as a fat child though and being picked on constantly, well those things just remain until you can fully process them. When you are an adult and you discover your true identity in Christ, your past can and does disappear...eventually.
These thoughts aren't new or worn out. But as I was listening to my pastor tell some stories from his own past it reconnected me with mine too. I was happy and sad in the same moments. Happy because I'm not in the same place any more. I am healed from those days where I suffered some emotional turmoil as a child. And I am free from some other situations that held me captive as an adult that were not the most positive for my self-esteem.
I am not a slave any more to my feelings and have gained control over many of them. But I can't deny that they never existed. And that's when my heart ached a little. That part of my life is over and I'm an over comer. I am healed and whole today because I have properly put them all in a place of God's rest and forgiveness.
But they are still a part of my past. It's one thing to move from your past to gain freedom but it's another to live free of your past and past your past. I have chosen the second option for sure and am living free from so many things that used to hinder me and trip me up a lot. This freedom feels wonderful!
There were a few minutes this evening though when I had to grieve because those years resulted in those faulty feelings. And those feelings plus how they had such an irrational grip on my heart and mind must have pushed God away some so that I kept Him at arms length. I was sorry through tears that I didn't invite God in sooner. He would've helped me quicker and healed me sooner. I wouldn't have been able to let so much heart damage give way to a very lonely season for me. And I wouldn't written in so many journals and needed so many boxes of Kleenex.
"If wishes were fishes the sea would be full." says my mom. Don't you sometimes wish you could just go back and have a 10-year re-do on your emotions? Honestly I am so thankful those days are gone, and now just once in a while there is a only a lonely ache. But I will be okay as long as I remember to keep the cross before me and the aches behind me. What's gone is gone and that's a wish I will keep. Those days are healed, forgiven and God has burned His love sentiment in my heart layers so that I don't' ache anymore. That door will not open again, and what God shuts can't be re-opened.
I am thankful for my friend who asked me more than once if I was okay. I kept saying "I will be". Then he said, "You have two kinds of peace. The're's peace inside of you and the Peace around you. You stand under the favor of God. Nothing can get to you now." I remembered in that one encouragement that my friend was right. And that God has righted my past with His peace. God's peace is something that is felt. Peace is not some kind of puzzle or hidden picture. He wraps Himself around you to remove all your hurts and pains, and covers you with His everlasting peace. And then He puts a seal on your heart to let you know through your hurts, it's His forgiveness that won't let them in again.
We can't move out of or away from that type of peace nor keep Him at arms length. It lives inside of me as Christ dwells in my mended heart. That's that kind of peace that passes all my hurts, my past full of thoughts, and my wounds now removed.
Where do you need peace and how will you feel His peace for you?