This blog is tough to write. I’m going to go on record & say this might be the most open, personal & “out there” blog that I’ve written (so far).
Lately I’ve hit a block on what to blog about (try saying that 5x’s fast!), there’s been a recurring topic that’s been forefront on my mind, but (frankly) I just didn’t want to write about it or even think about it. Writing it down, especially in the form of a “blog” meant I had to open up the potential doors to allow others to judge & criticize my actions. I didn’t know if I wanted this specific topic known & out-there for that level of critique (in other words, if you’re reading this, it means I actually grew a big enough pair of balls to post it!)
I’m learning to listen to God. No easy task when you’re blessed (cursed???) with a controlling, know-it-all, ultra-stubborn personality like I’ve got. But I am learning to recognize God’s voice in my life; the direction & guidance that He’s walking me through. I’m working on paying more attention when He’s trying to steer me & when He’s trying to make clear something that I used to overlook. I think this blog entry is one of those moments.
I believe my lack of blog ideas, my devotionals lately, & my friend, Pastor Heidi, her message during our Tuesday night Woman’s Bible Study; on not allowing yourself to hide from shame, guilt, & telling your “story”-it allows God to work through you to lead others to Him who might find themselves in similar situations. Well, it all has worked together to convince me that God is telling me that its time to finally, finally, FINALLY put my past mistakes behind me & close that chapter of my life.
Woman’s Bible Study is currently reading, “A Woman’s Heart” by Beth Moore. On pg. 26 of the workbook, she asks the question, “Can you think of a promise you really wanted to keep-meant to keep-but were unable to? Now, what specific promise has God made to you that He tenderly and faithfully kept?” (If I don’t get anything else out of this study, coming to terms with this question alone has made it all worth it! And this is only week 1!)
I don’t know about you, but this question stopped me cold. I knew the promises I had never kept, but the one that wouldn’t leave my mind was the one that I didn’t want to face or acknowledge. I said a quick prayer, a prayer that God would show me His promise because my mind was a complete blank.
Well that put me in my place, when these words from Hebrews 13:5 popped into my thoughts. How incredibly true! During my darkest times, even when I was running from God, He was following me…patiently waiting for the moment I would stop & let him catch me.
Several years ago (can’t even believe it now falls into the category of “several”). I was involved in a relationship with a man that I had never met. I was deceitful, malicious & cruel to a man that treated me with kindness, love, compassion, strength & honesty. He developed deep feelings for me that I was careless with. I presented myself to him falsely, the lies got so out of control & turned into such a web of deceit, that looking back now- I can’t even believe I was a person living in such fantasy. It wasn’t the first time I had been dishonest, but it was the first time I had let it get to such a deep level. It eventually came to a cataclysmic explosion that affected not only us, but family & friends as well.
I could rattle off a thousand excuses as to why I did what I did, but in the end…that’s all they are, excuses. I had lied, I had given in to dishonesty, fully aware the whole time of what I was doing. I just chose to ignore my conscious & that little voice in my head that repeatedly told me, “the truth will come out eventually”. A part of me knew that (I also think a bigger part of me wanted to get caught). Even though I have an amazing family & phenomenal friends that loved & supported me through my guilt, it is tough to forgive yourself when you’ve wounded someone’s heart. Shortly after this “event” took place, I started seeing a therapist & dealing with some of the “why’s” I had done what I did. Why I felt the need to hurt others & myself as well.
Until recently I’ve always looked upon those years with regret & shame. I know I’m forgiven by God (something I used to ask for every time I prayed until it finally sunk in that God forgave me the very first time I came before him with a hurting heart) and I’ve even had to dish out some forgiveness of my own, to others. The only thing I couldn’t seem to do was forgive myself, to let “myself” off-the-hook. Something that, at times, I still struggle with when self-doubt sneaks in. Now, however, I can finally say that I’m “grateful” for this experience. Not in the fact that others were hurt because of my actions, but grateful of what going through this trial has done in my life. I’m grateful because I know my heart is different. I know that time-period is part of my past & will not (and has not) been repeated in the future. Through this process I’ve faced & dealt (dealing) with some of my childhood demons & I’m more conscious/aware of every time I’ve even slightly been less-than honest with people & myself. This incident has strengthened my relationship with my family, changed it & I’ll never take for granted the amount of love they have for me (and each other). I’ve come to value the act of forgiveness & how precious it is both to give & receive. And above all, it has brought me back to God, back to my foundations of being active in a bible-based church, faithfulness in His Word & Promises, & a friendship with Him built through prayer.
I have no idea how my actions have damaged those that were involved in my deceit. I will tell you this though, I pray about it continuously. I pray that God heals & restores trust to the hearts that were broken through my decisions. I recognize that I can’t go back & change what has already happened, nor can I control the decisions others have made because of my actions. What I can control is the lessons that I’ve learned from those years. It’s taken me a long time to be able to look in the mirror & not see myself as someone who is “deceitful…unlovable…bad”.
I’m so grateful for God’s promises.
*eventually you give in, wherever you happen to be, when God keeps pestering you about something. This very blog was written at the Laundromat, while waiting for my clothes to dry*