Psalm 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
Mom’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s was evident everywhere I looked. A life threatening illness put Mom in the hospital, bringing me on a 1000 mile trip back to my childhood home. My mission: find an elusive safe which held important papers for my brother and me; the proverbial needle in a haystack.
In the few months since my last visit, Mom’s pack-rat tendencies had overtaken every room in the house making it difficult to maneuver without bumping into memory jogging castoffs from the past.
Standing in Mom’s kitchen, unwanted recollections surfaced bringing with them unwelcome emotions. Past hurts, my feelings of inadequacy, her failure to be the mother I wanted, and a collection of other foul responses simmered within me. Harbored resentments broke loose from their sloppy moorings and maneuvered into my thoughts as I discovered bits of my childhood scattered around the house.
I swallowed deep and prayed: Please God, help me! I thought I had moved past these ancient emotions. We may not be close, but I do love my mom. I hate the ugly memories I battle when I’m here! How is it possible to have two opposite feelings for someone? I don’t want to be this way. Lord, help me to focus on You.
I am with you.
A verse came to mind from Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Mom’s storehouse of prized possessions seemed to be her bedroom. Price-tagged, decade old clothes filled her closet. Jewelry stashed in a pair of sweatpants. Oddly organized collections of “collectible” coins under her bed. Piles of vintage Christmas and birthday gifts filled the floor.
Lord, why did she hold on to all of this stuff? Why didn’t she let go of these things instead of hoarding them?
A faint memory of Philippians 4:13 echoed in my mind. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
It took days to dismantle the mounds of odds and ends that Mom had amassed before the safe was finally exposed. Anticipation changed to surprise and dismay as we found a curious mix of personal papers in yellowed envelopes, none of which we were looking for. My brother opened one from 1965, read the contents, then handed it to me. “Do whatever you want with it.”
I took it apprehensively and read. It was a scathing letter to my mother from “a concerned neighbor.” This anonymous author railed against our family, and me in particular. Into the shredder it went.
Oh, Mom! You saved that vile thing, after all these years! What in the world made you put it in your safe?
Then I sensed the Lord asking me that same question. “Daughter, why is your heart safe-keeping the hurt from years past? Surrender your burden to me and let your heart be a treasure house of My Word.”
Forgive me, Lord, and help me to forgive my mom for not being the person I needed her to be.
Help me to be thankful for what she got right.
Let the healing begin.
It’s so easy to hold on to hurts and disappointments. We give them free room and board, even offering to check in on them to make sure their doing okay. Left unchecked they soon embed their bitterness into everything we do.
God didn’t design our hearts to store up grievances and pain, as real as they may be. His beautiful plan is that our hearts and minds would treasure up His life-giving Word so that we can bestow it to ourselves and others in times of need.
If you are burdened by something from your past, tell the Lord what’s on your heart. Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Ask Him to forgive you for holding onto that sin (the grievance) that has kept you separated from His Presence. Get into God’s Word starting with Psalm 51 and 139.
You are precious to God, your Creator. He loves you with an everlasting Love.
“Here, hold this and wait right here. I’ll be back.”
My children would often hear these words as a whisper, when subtlety was required, or nigh on to hollering in order to be heard over their grumbles. Either way, my point was made: I have a plan and you need to help.
The irony was I could have easily achieved my goal without their help. But I chose to invite them into my enterprise so that with my guidance and direction they would be able to replicate the tasks at hand. Making brownies was an easy draw for a volunteer, as the batter clean-up (i.e. licking the spoon) was a sweet built-in reward.
Larger jobs weren’t as easy to sell, so my asking would come with a promise, “Trust me. It will make sense when we’re finished.” It’s fun to watch a child size you up and decide if you can deliver on your promises.
Head cocked to one side. Squinty-eyed glare. Shoulder shrug. “Okay. What do I do?’
Ah, somethings we never outgrow.
When the risen Christ appeared to His disciples, spent 40 days with them and spoke of the things concerning the kingdom of God, I’m sure His followers were beside themselves with relief and joy. Their leader had beaten death and the grave to finally lead them into His victorious kingdom.
Acts 1:4 “Gathering them together, He [Jesus] commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me.’”
Okay, great! For how long did you say, Jesus? None of my business? Ah. My business is to wait for it.
What is ‘it’?
Being His Witness to this place, the neighbors I don’t really like, and …the WORLD?! Woah……..
This time, Jesus would REALLY be gone; received into the clouds. Genuine goodbyes were said. Life as the disciples had known it for the past three years was over. Their future looked about as clear as the cloud Jesus just disappeared into. What was the next step?
Jesus promised good things to those who waited at Jerusalem, so Jesus’ followers’ next step was simple: they returned to the place where they had last gathered together and “continually devoted themselves to prayer.”
In their wildest imaginings they couldn’t have seen what God had prepared for them when the Holy Spirit visited the upper room. There was no knowing how God would speak through them and who would receive their ministrations of His grace.
There was only the waiting for it, because Jesus told them to.
There was only the praying continually for it, because that’s what they had seen Jesus do in His ministry.
And there was the crazy calm trust in God that kept them obedient in that next step.
So, what are you waiting for Jesus to do in your life? Do you trust Him? Are you praying continually, seeking His face, not just reciting a mantra or locking yourself into a preconception of how everything should turn out?
Hello! My name is Vicki Johnson, aka, gracefilledgirl.