Learning What Forgiveness Means

model-2079935_640I figure things out by writing. Sometimes my journals are filled with random thoughts and events from the day, sometimes it’s just venting frustrations, or counting all the many blessings I have.

I can’t pretend to be any good at it, but writing is a way of connecting with my soul. It’s a way to find out what lies deep inside me, sometimes I’m afraid of that darkness, sometimes I’m so afraid that I run, that I chase it away and avoid it, but that’s no way to find healing. We must bring even those darkest things to light, that’s the only way God can cleanse us. Not that He isn’t powerful, but that He isn’t abusive and He won’t force Himself on us. We have to be willing. We have to take that first step.

The past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with some very challenging issues, emotions, and I’ve realized the weight and depth of my own sin. This is very painful for me, I want to be better than that. But I’m not. Knowing that I’ve hurt people, or that I’ve caused pain, or that I still harbor shame and resentment, I just don’t know what to do with it most of the time.

But God uses it. And He strengthens me. It’s like each time I fall I come up stronger, more solid and secure, more sure of the truth.

There’s great power in love. Great power in forgiveness and compassion. I think sometimes we are, or at least I am, afraid to forgive or let things go, because in my mind I have a hard time separating forgiveness and trust. Forgiving is a submitting to God, and handing over the results to Him. Trust, well trust is a different matter. Forgiveness might require trust in God, but it in no way requires trusting the other person.

Of course the relationship dynamic plays a role in that, but we have to be wise. There are some cases where it’s nothing but pure foolishness to trust the ones who have hurt us. I don’t believe that that’s what God wants for us. Because if we continue to walk in darkness, then we’re not walking in the light. God never wants us to turn away from Him. He’s called us to “come out from among them” to “be separate.” This also requires humility, that we may look at our own lives, our own failings, and to give those to God. But each one is responsible for himself.

I still wrestle with these concepts. I can consciously know that forgiveness and trust are two separate things, and yet, there’s still a fight inside, that I can’t emotionally make sense of it. That I’m still afraid to forgive because I’m afraid of foolishly allowing myself to walk back into a bad situation.

I want freedom. Freedom can only come through trusting God. And sometimes, that even includes trusting Him with all my filth, all my shame, and trusting Him to provide and take care of me, loosening myself from the chains of unforgiveness, yet having the wisdom to step back and no longer enter into destructive and damaging relationships. It’s not my place to save them. After all, I can’t even save myself.

Making A House A Home

flowers-1000498_640My husband and I have been together for a while now, and I’m ashamed to say that we haven’t really made our house a home… Yet. At least not much beyond basics. But we’re beginning to work on it. We’ve had just about every excuse in the book as to why not to. It’s a temporary place, it cost so much money, we’re not sure what our someday house/home will look like, do we really want to commit to a certain look/style, we’re too busy with work and interests. And it goes on.

Slowly but surely we’re building our home. It started with some curtains, now we have some pillows and I’m working on some art pieces for the walls. It’s amazing what a difference a few small things can make. Having some homey comforts really transforms the feel of things, and it makes me sad that we haven’t done this sooner.

The past few days have been really warm. We’ve had the windows open, and even that fresh breeze makes me feel so much more comfy and cozy. I feel peace. I feel calm. And I’m really beginning to allow myself to hope. This is what I’ve been missing. And that hope is what allows me the motivation to even start on decorating our home.

Maybe the difference between a house and a home isn’t really about the things, though they do impact the feeling of things, but maybe home is more about a state of mind. A state of freedom, security, love, and hope. Those things combine together and pour out into our environment to create a home wherever we may be.

Finding Hope In The Storm

breakwater-379252_640Anxiety. Depression. Physical illness. All these things combine and create one heck of a storm. I’m noticing, that although the storms still hit, and the waves at times are larger than ever before, God is strengthening my trust. This must be what it means to learn to sail.

What if every storm we face serves to bless us later on? What if all these things we endure are meant to bring us to a brighter and better future? Maybe we don’t have to be as afraid of the waves. Maybe we don’t have to worry as much about capsizing our ship (lives) and ending up stranded on an island. After all, a nice, tropical vacation sounds pretty lovely right about now.

I’m finding hope. Even in the darkness. And I see those beacons of light shining even brighter than before. This past week I’ve seen God use even my own despair as an encouragement to another who was deeply struggling with thoughts and feelings she couldn’t share with others. That pain, that struggle, God has allowed it to give me understanding.

Fearless Hope. Even here.

I’ve known the true depth of love from friends and church family. I’ve been met with understanding, compassion, and encouragement. Not just religious platitudes and “you’d better try harder,” but real, genuine compassion and love. I’m accepted for who I am.

I’ve been told I don’t have to apologize for my thoughts, my feelings, or my struggles. Yet they have patiently endured with me. Showing me, guiding me, to look at and find the light. In the darkness, God empowers His people to shine the light of His love.

plouzane-1758197_640I don’t exactly know what I’m trying to say. But through another storm, God has shown Himself to be faithful, He’s strengthening my trust. And though I know I’ll probably still be inclined to fear the next time, He’s slowly working in me. I think one of the most beautiful things is knowing that the rain is sent as a blessing, for us to learn and grow, for us to be tenderly loved by those God has so faithfully placed in our lives. Sometimes we need the storms to know we need to search for light.

And another thing, the world is so beautiful right after a hard summer rain.

What have you found to be helpful through storms in life? Do you find you recover stronger than you were before? I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and/or stories. 🙂

Motion Sickness ~

So relevant and so true for the storms in life. Enjoy. 🙂

CHRISTian poetry ~ by deborah ann

motion-sickness-christian-poetry-by-deborah-ann

Some people suffer,
from motion sickness
some can’t stomach
waiting for God’s stillness.

Some people succumb,
to their fear and doubt
some can’t even begin
to shut the world out.

Some people fold,
under all the tension
some collapse beneath
the gloom of depression.

Some people’s faith,
goes by the wayside
some can’t stand firm
when pressure is applied.

Some people suffer,
from motion sickness
but those who trust in God . . .
give Him their queasiness!

~~~~~~~

Psalm 107:29

“He maketh the storm a calm,
so that the waves thereof
are still.”

King James Version
Public Domain

Copyright 2017
Deborah Ann Belka

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To Find Love

woman-731395_640See me. Hear me. Know me. Understand me. I don’t know if it’s a type thing, a me, thing, or maybe a both thing, but the idea of being the center of attention is one of the most terrifying things imaginable. I hate it. I hate every second of it. People with their ideas that they know me, no one seeing past the outer shell, the mask I show the world.

In a general sense, I’d prefer anonymity. I want to fade into the background, with my thoughts and feelings as a whisper that surrounds others, a deep sense of connection and knowing, where silence is accepted, and we’re found in the quiet.

Sometimes, I don’t want to be invisible. There are a few who I want to be myself with, where I want to let my guard down. And when that happens, and transparency becomes real, my vulnerability is seen. How will you respond? Do you recognize me? Has anyone taken the time to look, to listen, to know?

When vulnerability is seen, and found, and truth and grace win out. When people are real. When they don’t respond in hate, anger, or disgust, when I feel known and understood, that is when I feel loved.

My ideals are high. Yet I don’t expect much. I just want to hold value, and purpose. I want to be someone’s treasure. I want to be understood, and loved in spite of my failings, or maybe loved even more because of them.

And when I’m seen, when I’m loved, that is when I’m better equipped and more able to love. I think we all want to be special to someone, whether we’re able to admit that to ourselves or not. Though there may be challenges in life, we can face them together.

We can be quiet, and still be strong. We can be broken, but still be whole. We can be safe, and still be known. This, beyond anything else in this world, is when we find home.