Saturday, September 20, 2014

Missing this space

Seriously, I am.

I am missing being here....writing....sharing....hopefully making a difference.

Life has a way of happening.

Mine happens a lot!

We are smack dab in the middle of soccer.

We are smack dab in the middle of the first quarter of school.

We are living life and loving it.

So, could you forgive me for neglecting this space for the last few weeks?


Do you consider that the "F" word?  Why is it such a difficult word?

I am reading a book right now....

Are you ready????

Sara Horn's new book How Can I Possibly Forgive?

Haven't heard of it?  That's OK, It will be released on October 1.  And can I just say.....It is awesome. I am blessed to be a part of Sara's Launch Team for this amazing book! I can't wait to tell you more about it after I actually finish reading it.

I love Sara's writing.  She's honest, funny, and well, honest.  I appreciate that so much.  When I read her books, it's like having a conversation with a best friend.

And a book on forgiveness.....

Well, isn't that what so many of us need?

For some people, forgiveness is easy.  For others, well, not so much.

Looking at my personal experience with forgiveness, I know of instances when it has been easy to forgive and instances when it hasn't been so easy.  Sometimes it is a pride thing. Sometimes we feel that the act was too unforgivable.  Whatever the reason, it isn't good enough.

I have forgiven family.
I have forgiven friends.
I have forgiven strangers.

Most importantly, I have been forgiven.

When I decided to live my life for Christ, I asked God for forgiveness.  You know that Amazing Grace song?  Well, I'm that wretch it is about.  God saved me and forgave me through amazing grace.  How can I, therefore, deny forgiveness to someone???

Resentment is too hard on the soul.  It isn't worth it.

No, I know life isn't fair. I know we want people to get what they deserve. I see a lot of things on Facebook about Karma.  But payback and heartache are not the answer.  God is our ultimate judge. Let Him deal with it.

I can choose to let go, to forgive the hurt, to move on, and to be free from the burden of a hardened heart, or I can choose to harbor the hurt, to let pride stand in the way, to miss out on the amazing joy that comes from letting go and letting God.

Forgiveness is a God thing.

Unforgiveness is a Satan thing.

Why would we ever let Satan have a stronghold on us like that?

Oh, and I know what you are saying, "But Natasha, you don't know!  You don't have any idea what happened. You don't know my story!"

But I don't have to know your story. I have my own.  And regardless of our stories, I have seen first hand what unforgiveness does to people, to family, to friends.

I know people that have missed out on years of the lives of people they love, all because they chose not to forgive.  They thought it was a punishment to that one person, but unforgiveness affects many people.

Look at it this way.....

I get mad at my brother (Hi, Doug! I'm seriously not mad at you.) because he was careless with our parents' estate.  Now, I don't get my share of the inheritance.  There goes that vacation I wanted. There goes my sons' college funds. There goes.....our relationship. I avoid him. I don't go to family functions because he is going to be there.  I miss out on his children (those innocent bystanders).  I miss out on other family members (more innocent bystanders) because I simply cannot show up somewhere my brother might be.  This goes on for years. A ripple effect of missed opportunities, missed relationships, missed memories.  All because I chose to hold a grudge. I was slighted. I haven't mentioned the fact that I swell up each time his name is mentioned.  The resentment continues when I see those vacation commercials on TV or my kids start talking about college.  Dang it, brother!  It's all your fault.

But forgiving can allow me to move forward. It can help me communicate.  It can help me be aware of people and their intentions. Had I forgiven my brother in this hypothetical example, I could have extended grace to him.  He could have been embarrassed about what had happened and needed my help.  Had I forgiven him, I wouldn't have missed out on sharing life with him and his family.

I think sometimes we feel like if we forgive we are saying to the other person, "It's OK."

I've heard kids say this in the classroom, and it bothers me.  Calling another student "stupid" is not OK.  I realize a child says this because it seems to be the right thing to say.  But we need to have the appropriate response.  We can say, "I forgive you." We can say, "Thank you for the apology." I don't think we should say, "Oh, its OK."

Some people may not realize they have hurt us.  We have the choice to let them know that we were hurt and have forgiven them, or we can just forgive and move on without mentioning it.  I think somethings we definitely need to talk about, but others....just move on.  

Just because I choose to forgive, doesn't make me naive.  I believe that forgiving and moving on doesn't mean that I am going to allow that behavior to happen again.  I may forgive someone for a wrongdoing, but at the same time realize that we do not have a healthy relationship.  I may forgive you for stabbing me in the back, but I am choosing not to keep my relationship with you because I know your heart has not changed and you will probably do it again.  I will continue to pray for you so that you can be the person God intends you to be.

And in all of this....prayer is the key.  Go to God in prayer. Ask him to help you forgive....forgive others....forgive forgiveness.  Don't deny forgiveness, God didn't deny it when it came to us.

This week, I challenge you to offer grace, the grace found in forgiveness. Can you say this with me....."I forgive you."  Those are life altering words. Try it and see what happens.

Are you interested in Sara's new book?  Find out more information at her webpage.  You can even pre-order an autographed copy.

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