I love Peter's experience of walking on the roaring sea with Jesus. But the thing is, Peter's story is often misunderstood. Do you have a step you need to take?
Listen to this message I gave at a women's retreat to gain the fresh perspective you need to see Jesus in a new way! My FREE gift to you!
As we get ready to dive into the fourth post in our Finding Forgiveness Series, I wanted to point new readers back to the first post (so you can follow along). Also, you are invited to join the Step Out And Thrive Inner-Circle Facebook Group where we dive deeper into each post and get to know one another better. If you have been enjoying our weekly Forgiveness Interviews, you can connect with them inside of the group as well. Plus I go live every single week during the series.
I am a writer. Words literally whirl through my head and flow through my fingers as I type them for you and others to read. Yet, when it came time to actually write out my words of forgiveness to the guy who stole so much from me – I fell silent.
I was finally ready!
(A quick review here)
I had a clear understanding of who I needed to forgive. (see Facing Forgiveness Part 1)
God had been gently reminding me of His love and forgiveness displayed through Jesus Christ on the cross (see Facing Forgiveness Part 2)
I had accepted that I had not really forgiven him, but that I was an amazing stuffer (see Facing Forgiveness Part 3)
What was holding me back at this crucial moment was my lack of words.
True forgiveness is a 2 part process and the first part will be outlined here today.
Remember the piece of paper that was handed back to me by my Caring for The Heart friend? The piece of paper that I had easily marked through the forgiveness blanks and excitedly had written, “No way”?
That paper, freshly erased and re-written just sat there, staring back at me. The blanks threatened to take me out. I was in a mental war that day at war that day sitting at my kitchen table.
The blanks you ask?
Lord, I choose to forgive ____________________
causing me to feel _____________________________.
I am willing to pay for the emotional pain and consequences that ____________________________
has caused me and never again bring it to his/her charge.
I had the first two blanks filled out easily. His name shot out quickly as I bit my lip hard. I continued immediately to the second blank even flipping the page over to list more on the back (that is definitely permissible by the way!). My words seemed endless until I came to that dreaded third blank.
I’m a writer.
I describe feelings easier than operating my iPhone!
Yet, I totally failed that third opportunity to enter my brave and vulnerable pain words.
In that blank sat a three letter word that I knew did not adequately describe my feelings. Yes, to my dear English teachers everywhere, I filled in the blank with the word “bad.”
He caused me to feel “bad”? Seriously?
I knew that wasn’t going to cut it.
The Holy Spirit agreed that I still had other words that needed to be written down on that paper.
Here’s my problem: I can easily describe the pain that happens to someone else or pain that I feel I have worked through with God. But this level of heartache, rejection, abuse, filth, and shame honestly left me “feeling” but not articulating. Pain this deep, especially when it is your own, can often leave us silent.
Forgiveness gives us a voice. This exercise will help you walk through the first step and I’ll be walking right here with you.
You are not alone. In fact, I’m gifting you this Facing Forgiveness Exercise and a list of pain words (click on the link to download the PDF). No email to enter. No charge. I want you to prayerfully enter into this journey with me if you are ready. The feeling words I included literally saved me that day, trying so hard to put a voice to my raw pain. I began compiling this list after attending a Healing For The Nations retreat and it has been such a great resource for me as I work through my personal forgiveness walk.
As I ventured bravely down the feeling words and phrases list, my tears began to flow as my once frozen pen began to move. I felt each word as it was added to the blank, spilling over the edge and onto the sides of my paper. As my eyes read through all the pain that had been done, I honestly questioned if I had too much.
It felt so heavy.
Way too much.
“God, I’m not sure if I can do this next part,” I said out loud.
“It hurts so bad Daddy and I’m so tired of feeling this much pain. Are you as good as You say that You are? If so, I’m ready. I’ve never been more ready. Daddy, I ask You to take all of this away and I truly forgive.” (These words were part of my journal entry that day).
I would go on to complete those same blanks for over 20 more people in my life, including myself. I also had to bring my anger towards God to His Throne, openly and uncensored. I’m still here by the way. God can do more than just handle our anger, He will guide us to the real source of our rage and heal us right from there.
This, by far, has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I freely let go of all the pain, my right to revenge and my right to hold a grudge. I gave away my victim status and accepted victory in Christ. Forgiveness was a choice. Not an easy choice, but nevertheless, that decision God left in my hands.
The same choice is in your hands today. The blanks will stare back at you, regardless of your writing skills. You have real, raw pain. It’s okay. Therefore forgiveness is not possible without a relationship with Jesus. We need God’s Promises rooted deep within us to help us navigate through our pain. He is just as much with us during forgiveness as He is the very first day we chose to follow Him. Grab His hand and trust the way He is leading.
That’s why we are walking through this together. Sometimes faith seems so very low and we just need that friend to come along on the adventure. I’ve seen God do miracles in my life.
I can sleep through the night now.
I can speak out in public.
I can laugh on my runs.
I can breathe in deeply.
I can see God move mountains every single day because I’m no longer blinded by my pain.
It’s a process and believe me I’m far from completion. I still have days that I struggle and when the anger, hurt, rejection and fear come raging back. That’s okay though – we will cover that more next week in Step 2.
Until then, grab your free “Facing Forgiveness Exercise Sheet With Pain Words and Phrases” and if you are led, begin prayerfully completing the blanks as applied in your life.
Just try one.
Begin with prayer.
Don’t be pressed for time.
Grab your words.
Take your time and spend a few hours alone with God.
I’m glad we are on this road together.
Remember, dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!
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Which blank has been the hardest for you?
Hello and welcome to Step Out And Thrive Ministries! My name is Bethany Boring and I am proud to be called a child of God before any other title or role. I am a wife to Steve and a mom to 3 amazing boys. I enjoy writing for this Step Out And Thrive community and walking with you as we venture through the ups and downs of life together. I am an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor, Certified Human Behavioral Consultant (DISC Personality) and an author. As always - dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!
Facing Forgiveness: Face Your Future With Boldness
Facing Forgiveness: Video Interview With Jeanette Engel
Facing Forgiveness: Video Interview With Tricia Grow
Facing Forgiveness: Face Your Truth
Facing Forgiveness: Video Interview With Cheryl Rucker