Hello everyone…and a very happy Thursday to you all! Well…I have now hit the 61 mark…and some would say that they are getting old; but I see these many years, as times of new growth and a greater wisdom…a wisdom that can only be obtained through Jesus Christ our Lord. My prayer for you today; is that you too will come to experience this God, in the way that I have come to truly know Him over these many years of affliction…and that you won’t be taken down by despair; but that you will be lifted above it, by the One who truly has lifted me from despair…Amen!!
Last night, as I was preparing to end my day; God came to me in a very special way…and what a special time we had together. You know…every step that I have taken in life has walked me through one storm or another; but the light of God’s presence has ALWAYS been there, to safely guide me out of each storm I’ve faced…and some of these storms have truly been seen as unending; but even though I couldn’t see through the darkness of the blackened clouds that surrounded me at the time; God knew when and where they would end…for I truly came to see that He was waiting for me, on the other side of the storm.
No matter what we face…or no matter where we seem to find ourselves in life; there is a loving hand reaching out to us…a hand that can lead us out of these darkened moments…for I have seen and experienced that hand upon my life many times.
You know…there was a specific time in my life, when God had truly come to me…and this is what I would like to share with you today. Just after beginning the group counseling, for the sexual abuse that I experienced as a young girl, along with a very dysfunctional home life; I had felt led by God to take a trip home…over 2500 miles from where I now live, to hopefully find an end to these painful moments of the past and to also truly learn how to forgive my past.
After finally returning home, I took several trips to the cemetery…over a period of 10 days, to where my grandfather (my molester) was buried. As I left in the way I came, I was getting a little discouraged; because I knew that we would be leaving soon and it would be difficult and expensive for me to return; so I talked with Keith and we agreed to take one final visit.
As Keith and I approached the cemetery for the final visit, I could feel God working with me. He began to show me that I needed to mentally bury all the pain with the one who had hurt me, so I began to do so. As I began to bury every painful moment, I felt like a very heavy load had been taken off my back. For each moment of pain I buried, God began to replace the painful feelings with His peace. From there, I knew that I would have to forgive my grandfather…which to be honest was the hardest thing to do. I came to see that day; that if I wanted God to forgive my sins, then I would have to find a way to forgive him too. From that moment, I started to feel pity for my grandfather instead of anger…knowing that one day, he would have to stand before God and be judged for what he had done. As I sat on a nearby stump…not far from his grave, I began to sing, “I surrender all…I surrender all; all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.” As I finished singing, I began to give all the anger and lack of forgiveness over to God, so He could nail all of my feelings to His cross, where once He died to set us free. As I got up from the stump, I slowly walked back to the van…never to look back again…and as I left the cemetery I cried; because for the first time, I had finally been set free, from the heavy burden that had become my life for so many years.
You know…one of the greatest things God has taught me; is that we do need to forgive those who hurt us…but not only by word; but truly from the heart. I believe that if I wouldn’t have forgiven my grandfather in this way; then the burden would still be there…haunting my life every day.
One thing I came to see that day at the cemetery; was that I was no better in the eyes of God; then the grandfather that had molested me…because you see, all sin is sin in the eyes of God…and no sin is greater than another to Him.
One thing we must remember every day of our lives; is to forgive with a true heart; for in Matthew 6…verses 14 & 15 we read… “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Today, as I celebrate 61 years of life, I thank God for the lessons learned along the way…and for the heart He has given me, while walking through the ashes of deep despair!
No matter what has taken place in your life, may I encourage you to get alone with God and let Him teach you how to forgive those who may have hurt you in life? One thing I know…the weight of each hurtful moment will be lifted from you…and you will experience God’s love and peace…a love and peace that will keep you closely connected to Him, rather than the painful moments of your past.
At the darkest moments in our lives…moments that make us feel as if the sun will never shine again…comes a presence…one who gives us the light we need, to walk out of these darkened moments of despair…and this is the hope we hold near to our hearts.
Well…it’s time for me to celebrate another year of life and God’s goodness! I wish I could have each of you with me in my home…for we would talk and share and enjoy a piece of blueberry cheesecake…something special I’m looking forward to today.
As you walk through this day, my prayer for you; is that you would truly come to experience a God of power…one that can break the chains that are attempting to keep you in a prison cell of despair.
Have a great Thursday…and I pray many blessings on your day!
It’s Always & Only Because of Him…
Diane K Hiltz Chamberlain