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Call Me Mara (Ruth 1:20)

4:22 am.

I rolled over and pried my eyes open to look at the clock hopeful that it was closer to morning and I could just get up. But when I saw those numbers on the clock, I figured I should stay in bed and try to fall back to sleep. I had a couple more hours before I had to be awake and I had a big day ahead of me. I needed the rest.

But, sleep didn’t come. I was hot and uncomfortable and even though I turned on the fan, fluffed up my pillow, and threw off the covers, I still laid there wide eyed.

There’s something about being awake in the dark that makes your mind start going 100 mph. It seems as though a million thoughts can flood your mind in just a few minutes. Unfortunately for me, that’s exactly what happened. However, I wasn’t thinking about how much I would accomplish today, how much I love my children or how blessed I am. No. Instead, my mind took me down the dark path of past and present hurts and frustrations. Bitterness set it hard and fast. Work, family, friends, church. Why did it seem like everything that ever hurt my feelings or frustrated me was replaying like a movie in my mind?

After 40 minutes, I got up and tried a different bed. That didn’t work. Once I heard the coffee pot, I got up. Grabbed my favorite mug and googled “Verses about bitterness”. You see, I know what to do when I get caught in the trap of self-absorption. -- Go to the Word and see what God has to say about hanging on to past hurts, unforgiveness, and bitterness.

Here is what I found…

Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;”

I asked myself these questions:

· Could my bitterness cause trouble for me or for the people that have hurt me?

· If God can give me grace every. single. day. then why am I keeping grace from those who have hurt me

· Have I become defiled?

Then went back a bit in Hebrews and read a bit more….

Verse 3: Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Verses 12-14: Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

“Consider him….” Wow. Ok. The things I had been focusing on, the hurts others had caused me were NOTHING compared to the hurt and rejection that Jesus must have felt when he endured horrific abuse to the point of death on a cross. The ones that he loved most – that he had healed and comforted – decided that he wasn’t worth it and condemned him to death. And yet…he did it because he loved me so much! His grace is ALL I NEED to be forgiven and have the opportunity for eternal life! When I sit and think about my offenders and what they did, it doesn’t even compare.

“…lift your drooping hands…not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” I need to transfer my attention from myself to my God. Lift my hands and let go of what I’ve been holding on to. (Some of the things I’m still harboring are from 24+ years ago!) Think about it, if you walk with a limp on purpose for 24 years, you’re bound to go lame! I don’t want that for myself! I want healing! Cue Elsa from Frozen “Let it go, let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore…”

“Strive for peace with everyone…” I’ve lived in peace with my offenders for years. They probably don’t even know the hurt they have caused because I’ve been good at covering it up. But I haven’t had peace within. I don’t want ANYTHING to hold me back from seeing the Lord!

Goodness…so many good things in just a few short verses. I LOVE the Bible so much. So much encouragement and truth. So many things that help me to turn my focus from myself to the ONE who can bring total healing.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Forgive. I feel like I have, but I just can’t seem to forget. Thankfully, there are a LOT of verses I can study about that and will continue to see what God has to say about it. I also just ordered the book, “Forgiving What You Can’t Forget” by Lysa Terkeurst. It always helps to get a view point from another godly woman who has gone through major hurts and is allowing God to transform her mind too.

I’m a work in progress. So far from perfect. Daily allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me and work in me. I want to be more like Jesus and I’ll keep trying. I can’t wait to leave this world behind one day. To live FULLY ALIVE with Him and not have to deal with the shallowness of my earthly mind any longer. Until that day… I will press on!

Lord, please help me to remember how much you love me. You love me enough to endure the worst form of punishment – to the point of death – just. for. me! Thank you! Please help me to let go of my past hurts and the bitterness that has taken root. I don’t want it to bind me anymore. I’m tired of dragging it around with me. Please unbind the ties it has on me. Help me to extend my arms to you and let it go! Bring healing to my heart and my mind and allow me to extend the grace to others that you have given to me. I will NOT be called Mara. I will not be bitter!


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