Finding forgiveness

they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.  But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them,“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it,being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”  John 8:4-11 NKJV

Have you ever felt like this woman? I have. Many times. Condemned by others. Shunned because of past mistakes. Felt unworthy and unloved. Could not see how God could use me. How could God even look at me. It was during these times that I even questioned my salvation. Oh, I knew I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. But that was when I was a child. Before I grew up and started making the wrong choices and going down the wrong paths. Before I became unworthy. Not good enough. Unlovable.

Unlovable. Three marriages, three divorces. Unlovable. Numerous relationships that ended badly. Unlovable. Cancer, surgeries, scars. Alone. Unlovable.

It’s easy to say “God loves me”, but when you have been hurt and rejected it’s harder to believe it. It’s easy to say “God forgives you” but when you look at the choices you’ve made and the people you’ve hurt, especially those close to you, it’s hard to believe that God forgives you. Especially when you’ve not forgiven yourself.

The thing that has scared me most over the years has been ending up alone. I mean physically alone. No one to hold you when you hurt, no one to hold you when you weep, no one to rejoice with you when you are happy, no one to help with everyday things like chores around the house, no one to help you make the hard decisions. Because of this fear, I’ve ran from relationship to relationship, person to person, wanting to find that one. That one that would be there with me the rest of my life. Yes I prayed. But then someone would show up and I would convince myself it was God’s answer to my prayer. It didn’t matter that deep down I knew the situation wasn’t right. I convinced myself it was okay because this was God’s plan. This was the person for me. Even after being diagnosed with cancer right at the same time my third divorce was final, I still believed that I had found the one for me. That it was an answer to my prayer. That nagging little voice that would show up every now and then to tell me it wasn’t right, I shoved it away. Made it shut up. Ignored it. Did things that I am not proud of. Even after that, I was left alone. At the lowest point in my life when I really needed someone. During my time of chemo.

The simplest way to describe chemo would be to imagine the worst case of flu that you have ever had in your life. Then try to imagine it being ten times worse. There were times at night I would hug my pillow and cry myself to sleep, tired, drained, sick, crying out wondering why I had to endure this alone.

I want to say that it was during this time that I found my way back to God but in all honesty it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have made it through that time in my life without God. But that’s not when I really started trusting Him. That’s not when I really and fully understood that I wasn’t alone. I think that’s when I really started finding my way back to Him, but still got sidetracked by things that would show up. And the one thing that would still drag me down was not only my fear of being alone but not forgiving myself for my past.

The internet can be a great place for someone that has become very insecure with themselves as a person because they can find sites to go where they can be something they aren’t. I was good at finding those places. It was like I was living a double life. I could be one way in the real world, then come home and be something totally different. Something I wanted to be and no one had to know the real me. I joined games or sites or whatever you want to call them, where you could create an avatar that looked NOTHING like you and go find other people to hang out with without ever leaving the comfort of my couch. Even there I would try to find happiness by having my avatar be in a relationship that would end badly. I became addicted to WOW (World of Warcraft). Would spend hours upon hours shooting and killing things. End up in guilds to try and find friends and still eventually be disappointed. I don’t know how much time I wasted on the computer in games trying to find happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trashing computer games. I was just using them for all the wrong reason. In other words, I was searching for something to make me happy and fulfill me. I got to the point where I was cutting myself off from the outside world and living my life online. When I got home on Friday evenings, I would literally not leave my house until Monday morning. I didn’t want to be around people. I was looking for acceptance from people that I didn’t meet face to face. I wanted someone online to tell me I was important, that I mattered. Figured if I couldn’t find it in the real world, I would find it online. Then when I didn’t, I would sink into depression.

Sitting here now writing this, I am still battling that demon of wanting to have approval and acceptance from the people I interact with, whether it be online or people I meet face to face. Even when I first started joining the P31 online Bible Study, I would want what I said or did in groups to be noticed and meet with someone’s approval. Someone to say oh what a difference you’ve made in this group. I actually stopped doing a study once because I was disappointed that it hadn’t happened. Other people were getting mentioned but not me.

It was during this last study that something clicked. I wish I could tell you what, that I had found the answer, but I can’t. It’s still a change I’m struggling with. But I have started pushing through. Working through the feeling of not being important. Determined not to give up. Seeing that these studies I do or the things I participate in is not about me and earning praise from people, but learning about God. Learning what God wants me to do. Learning what other people have to say about life. Learning to open up and share what has happened to me because God wants me to whether or not anyone else finds it important. I may never have someone comment on my blogs or comment on the posts I put on Facebook. But that’s ok. Because I write and post what I feel God has led me to. And if I don’t get asked to participate in any other way, then it wasn’t meant to be. Then that’s not the way God wants to use me. I have to stop trying to make things happen by manipulating the situation. God will make it happen when He wants it to happen the way He wants it to happen.

I went and sat with a friend this evening and we talked about some things that happened in the past. She’s probably one of the few people that know some things that have went on. I told her that I tried to be what others wanted me to be, whether it was the person I was with or a group I was with, just because I was afraid of being alone. But in the end I still ended up alone. It was when I stopped fighting being alone, when I stopped searching for people or things to fulfill me, that God spoke. I had to be alone to fully realize that I’m not alone.

As for the forgiveness thing. This past study is where I started pushing through and spending more time in His word. Not just a passing thing in the morning and taking breaks on weekend. But actually spending time in the morning and evening studying and listening. When that feeling of wanting approval and not getting it, or wanting special mention, or whatever would hit, I pushed through it and didn’t quit. I still attended the events and participated whether or not anyone would acknowledge it. It was through this study that I started learning alot more about not living in the past. Not letting the past define me. Trust me, it’s not something that changes overnight. This is something that took a lifetime to learn and it’s going to take a lifetime to unlearn. But like the woman in the temple, one thing I know to be true now, is that Jesus does not condemn me. He is not throwing stones or looking the other way. He loves me. And He is holding out His hand to me. He will always be by my side.

I know I’m not alone feeling like it’s hard to forgive yourself so it’s hard to believe that God forgives you. Read my blog post forgiven here: https://walkinginfaithjourney.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/forgiven/. I don’t have the answers as it’s still a walk in faith journey for me. But I’ll be more than happy to listen to your story if you need someone to talk to. God puts people in your life for a reason. I have learned that. If you’ve found your way here, then it must be for a reason. Feel free to share.  I won’t judge or condemn. Or search out Proverbs 31 Ministry. They have a lot of resources and studies that will help you. Listen to KLove as they have excellent music and words of encouragement. Talk to someone you are close to. Spend time in God’s word. Spend time just listening in the stillness. Trust me, it may feel like you are alone, but you really aren’t. Jesus is there to pick you up. Let Him be your portion and your happiness.

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