God has taught me a lot about praising, healing and hope the past week and a half. You see, we have choices to make. When we have been wounded, hurt and broken we have choices to make. Scripture warns us about unforgiveness and gives us a tangible picture of what it can do in our hearts. We can choose to torture ourselves by sitting in unforgiveness!
Matthew 18:23-35 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all. Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
And I truly think healing has been coming for us (Not to say it doesn't still hurt...) because we have chosen the way of love and forgiveness. Hear me now....I am not perfect and this has not been easy for me, but I have still chosen it. I have to! I have had moments where anger, fear or doubt have overcome me. But, in each of those moments, God has been faithful to gently nudge my heart. "Let it go Erin. Forgive Erin. Don't allow bitterness to take root...." You see, God has forgiven me my debt. He has forgiven my sin, my wrong doing, and my bad judgments. I've hurt people. But, God still chose the way of love and forgiveness over me. He sets the example and it isn't just for the good of the offender, but even more so it is for the good and HEALING of the wounded. I tell my kids all of the time. "I don't ask you to obey me just to get my way! I ask you to obey me so you don't get hurt and so you don't hurt someone else. The same is true with the Lord. He asks us to be obedient in our daily choices not just for himself, but for the good of the whole!
This song has been one of my favorites since this summer. However the past week and a half, it has been my anthem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByM53v4JauY
I have found that praising a faithful God in a situation that seems beyond redemption saves me. That believing in His goodness saves me. You see, John 16:33 says that we are going to have trouble in this world. He never promises us an easy walk. Never. What he does say is "take heart....Be confident, Be courageous....." We can be confident and courageous because we know who He is. We know He is God, He wins in the end. Even though life feels impossible right now, he doesn't ask us to hold back. He doesn't ask us to protect ourselves and refrain from love. He asks us to be courageous and put our love out there!
Something else that I have found through choosing to take heart and choosing to forgive is another level of love. I'm telling you guys it's unreal. I've always loved Malachi's parents. From the moment I met them. But the deep love for this young couple has grown. I am so on their team. I feel like Andy and I have become their biggest fans. I have even learned to be happy for them and their new little family in the middle of my grief of losing a little guy that I thought was going to be my son. I feel a little bit like a protective big sister. Mama and I have been in some communication. I've been able to send Malachi all of his clothes. I've been able to have some light hearted conversation with his mama. I've been able to cheer her on in motherhood. I've been able to, because God has done the same for me! I feel like God has allowed me to see that even though I didn't get what I want, and what I thought was best, I am only human. I can't see the big picture. I can't chose how God uses me. I can't control everything. (Even though I'd like to!) Nope. All I can control is what I chose to do. I find strength in choosing love and compassion. I am finding step after step of healing through not protecting myself and giving love no holds barred. I am finding hope for a BIG redemption story in letting go of control. I am finding joy in letting go.....
Even when it hurts like hell, I'll praise you. Even when it makes no sense to sing, louder than I'll sing your praise.