No matter what you do in your life, no matter what relationships you are involved in; one day you will find yourself in the position of having to forgive. Forgiveness can be difficult to do but forgiving others releases you and can bring immeasurable peace.
Forgiveness is a continuing process. When someone has hurt you it takes time for the pain to ease. Forgiveness must be given on a daily basis (sometimes hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute).
Forgiveness allows relationships to grow and flourish. Conversely, without forgiveness relationships will wither and die.
Forgiveness cannot be done through our own strength. Forgiveness requires us to lean on God. It is human nature to seek justice (what is “right”) so we must trust in God and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to truly forgive.
Once we forgive trust can be rebuilt. A relationship must be built on a strong foundation and forgiveness paves the way.
When you hold onto bitterness and anger it becomes a prison and only you possess the key to unlock that prison. The key is forgiveness.
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Being a parent is a journey that requires grace, mercy, forgiveness and faith that God has a plan. Nurturing your children, teaching them, making decisions for them that take their best interests into account requires a great amount of responsibility, maturity and patience.
When our son was little he was a handful! Every day with him brought a new challenge. When he was four years old he refused to play with any of the other children in the neighborhood. If a child came to our yard to play, our son would scream and scream at the top of his lungs until he had successfully frightened his potential playmate away. In grade four he exercised his freedom of speech, in a unique way, and used the F word whenever he was displeased with what the teacher expected of him. He had a temper that could rival a raging bull and one day he became so angered by our neighbor’s son that he hit him in the bum with a shovel. Needless to say, the early years of our son’s life were difficult ones.
While parenting our young son mercy, grace and forgiveness were handed out in large quantities, sometimes to our son and sometimes to ourselves. Did we make mistakes as parents, you bet we did!! We constantly needed to remind ourselves to be patient; God had a plan for our son and everything would come together according to His timing and not ours. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
Today our son is a well adjusted, hard working twenty year old going into his fourth year of university and on his way to becoming a psychiatrist. Did we ever envision this future for our son? Perhaps not this particular future but we never lost faith that he had a future and that God had a plan.
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In this day and age it is hard for us to believe that miracles can happen. We are a scientific society that, for the most part, believe everything that happens in this world can be explained. There was a time when we too thought this was true but then something occurred that would change our minds.
In September of 2006 we moved our family from Airdrie, Alberta, 8 hours west to Prince George, British Columbia. We drove the whole way with two kids, a large dog, a cat and ourselves all piled into one vehicle. In order to keep our sanity, and to allow our passengers some time to stretch their legs, we made many stops along the way. Luckily the route that we took is a very beautiful drive through some of the most majestic mountains in the world, the Rocky Mountains between Lake Louise and Jasper, Alberta. After one of our final rest stops I happened to look down at my left hand and notice that the diamond solitaire from my engagement ring was no longer there; I had lost my diamond somewhere along our journey! Attempting to find the diamond was a futile task, it could have been lost at any one of our many stops, and we had to count it as a loss and continue on our trip. Once we were settled into our new home we discussed the possibility of replacing the diamond but we were financially unable to do so.
Fall, turned into winter and winter turned into spring and in April 2007 Dave had to make another trip back to Airdrie, Alberta to pick up some things we had left in storage. His trip would follow the same route that we had taken the previous September. The morning of Dave’s departure I had one thought continuously running through my head “stop at the service station in Jasper”. Several hours later Dave called me to let me know that he had made it to Jasper and was at the service station where we had stopped back in September. I sheepishly asked him if he could go back to the spot where we had parked and have a look for my diamond. Dave agreed to look despite the fact that he thought it was a hopeless venture. He parked the truck, opened the door, stepped out, walked to the back of the truck, looked down at the pavement and saw something sparkling in the sunshine. There on the pavement, after 7 months of rain, wind, snow and ice, was my diamond completely clean and waiting to be brought home!!!!!!
We have no explanation of how that diamond remained in that parking lot for 7 months. We have no explanation for why someone didn’t pick it up and take it home. What we do have is the knowledge that this was our little miracle and it confirmed to us that despite the occasional rough patches in our relationship, we were meant for each other and we were meant to do life together.
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How do you find your strength? How do you refocus your attention on what is important? Where do you turn when things get a little rough in your life?
In our marriage we struggle with the inability to stay focused on what is important. We fall into the trap of materialism, occasionally we measure our success by what we own and find we can never measure up. We spend our time wanting more …. a new house, a bigger deck, a larger travel trailer, a new vehicle …. Surely when we acquire these things then our lives will be better. Instead of being thankful for all that we are blessed with …. beautiful healthy children, a partner to do life with, a roof over our heads, food in our tummy etc. etc. etc ….. we are constantly striving to make these blessings into something “more”.
All of us are guilty of moments in our life when our attention and our energy is focused on the wrong things. We are heavily influenced in this world by society, the media and the internet; but should these places be where we find direction in our lives? Much of society, the media and the internet will tell you to find strength within yourself, that you are capable of doing this thing called life all on your own. But what if you have tried to find the strength within you and have failed miserably?
As a couple we “plug into the source” and turn to our faith. Our goal on this earth is not to please society, when we are trying to please people we quickly realize that we can never, ever measure up. However when we turn to our faith we are reminded that “we can do everything through Him who gives us strength” (Philippians 4:13). God’s strength can help us face our fears and do the impossible.
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