Recently, I’ve felt the need to return to ways and things that stand as reminders to me that I am held by the One True God…I am His! I found myself reading through old pieces that I had written many years ago. For today, I’m bringing back something I wrote six years ago and adjusting/adding to it as a reminder that sometimes I need to go back!
So I’m sure you’ve heard it said that elephants never forget! People on the other hand are quite forgetful. I am most likely the queen of forgetfulness. In fact, I often joked with my students about my slippery mind. Sometimes being forgetful can serve us well. Other times it is something that can cause us to fall.
There have been times over the last several years that I’ve found myself (and the people I love most) emotionally and physically exhausted. My faith in my Lord and in people has been tested, often literally crying out…shouting out…begging for God to help! My face and eyes have stayed red and puffy from crying. I have felt physically ill from the emotional distress. At one point, I questioned whether God even heard my pleas. I knew in my head that He did, but in those moments my heart felt alone and deserted. I went through phases of reading scripture, listening to worship music, praying, seeking counsel from godly friends as much as possible to avoiding all of that. While that helped for brief moments, I still felt like I was in a desert all by myself. So what was the problem?
Have you ever been completely ready to leave the house, get out to car, and THEN realize you forgot your keys in the house? Or maybe you are cleaning your house and you head into a room to get something and all of the sudden you have no idea what you went in that room for in the first place? Possibly, you are like the frazzled mom who left church one Sunday (like completely left) and then realized she was short one kid? (I don’t think I’ve ever forgotten one of my kids anywhere, but don’t hold me to that. After all, I very well could have just forgotten that I did it.)
What do all those instances have in common?
In all those cases, you had to GO BACK! You can’t get anywhere without your keys, so you GO BACK to get them. You can’t remember what you needed, so you GO BACK to the room where you thought of it in the first place. It is frowned upon to forget your child somewhere, so you have to GO BACK to get him.
This morning, God used my writing from years ago to remind me that I have forgotten some very important things and that I need to GO BACK and get them.
First, I had forgotten that I am the daughter of the ONE True KING! The King who NEVER forgets me. The Lord who will NEVER leave me or forsake me. I had to GO BACK and be reminded that “He Himself has said, “I will never desert, nor will I ever forsake ” in Hebrews. I had to go back and get my identity! I am not the wife who is too tired to get up and fix her husband’s supper or the mom who is so emotionally spent that she can do nothing but worry about her adult kids or the grandmother that is worn out and needs some alone time. While, at times, all that is true in a given moment, it is not the TRUTH about who I am. I am a child of God and THAT is where I should find and rest in my identity.
I also need to GO BACK to the things I know. We sometimes get so caught up in being the best and learning new ways of doing things that we forget that the “old” ways worked! Yes, there are some great new ideas out there about running your home or about connecting with others, but sometimes we just need to lay those aside and go back to the ways that have worked for us in the past. I know that the house will run more smoothly if all of us that live here work together and do a little each day. I know that people need to feel a connection and know how important they are to me. I know that my relationship with my husband is the most peaceful and the most passionate when we are intentional about dating each other. I have to GO BACK to what I know works…even if it isn’t what others say “should” be happening.
Finally, there are times that forgetting is good. I realize when we’re wronged, it is difficult to ‘forget’ and most likely we won’t ever truly forget. However, when we couple that forgetting with forgiving it goes much farther than trying to forget about it without forgiving. So often in life, people don’t even realize how they hurt us. Maybe it is something they say or something they do. Maybe it is something they DON’T say or something they DON’T do. The truth is that we are called to forgive anyway. Jesus said in Matthew 6, “14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (Emphasis added) Oh Lord, thank you for this reminder. I’m commanded to forgive. It says nothing about whether they ask for forgiveness or not. I’m supposed to forgive! If I live with a spirit of unforgiveness or revenge, then why should I expect my Creator to forgive me for the multitude of sins I commit daily?
So the challenge to myself and maybe to you is to GO BACK! We will always forget, but the one thing we need to remember is to GO BACK to the TRUTH of who we are in Christ and the truth of what we know works. Will we be able to do this perfectly? Nope! But to borrow a phrase from Lysa Terkeurst, we can make “imperfect progress” by striving each day to do better.