Sometimes life is just hard. We all experience loss, hardship, and brokenness, but this past year has been especially difficult for my family.
For me, the words of a captured and despairing King David soften the blows of the pain. “You keep track of all my sorrows,” David says. “You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8 NLT).
Lately, my family has been caught in a never-ending winter season. Sometimes it seems that the mountain towering ahead of us is frozen in time, and the pain will never melt away. Maybe you can relate.
My dear grandmother has now buried all three of her boys. Witnessing her shattered heart breaks mine. And recently, another loved one said her final goodbyes to her children.
Grief keeps coming, hard and fast. It’s unexpected and untimely. I keep reminding myself that God is for me and nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:31–38), but the difficult days are many.
Moreover, my destructive, drug-addicted past is rearing its ugly head…again. Shame and regret loom over me, adding more grief to my already broken heart. This grief hits me differently, though. Sometimes it causes me to doubt God’s love, grace, and ability to forgive.
How could a perfect God forgive a sinner like me, a person whose chosen actions have caused her loved ones so much pain? Why would He forgive me? There are still people in my life who haven’t been able to forgive me. It’s been six years since God gave me sobriety, and I’m still cut out of their lives.
This rejection constantly reminds me of the awful things I’ve done, and if I’m not careful, I will focus on my past sin instead of God’s grace. I feel unworthy.
Feeling unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness has been my most difficult struggle as a Christ follower. I do believe Jesus died on the cross and that His blood washed away my sins. I know He paid a huge sacrifice for my sin (Matthew 26:28).
The sad thing is that I can’t seem to get the beliefs in my head to travel down and settle into my heart.
Surely, this is the work of the enemy. Shame, guilt, and regret are all tools Satan uses to get us to focus on our past and doubt our worth. I pray, God, help me receive Your forgiveness once and for all. Help me put my past under Your blood and my broken relationships in Your capable hands.
I grieve those lost relationships. Lord knows, I’ve tried to make amends. But my efforts have gotten me nowhere. The cloud of grief just keeps getting thicker and darker as more rejection, failure, and disappointment set in.
Even now, tears drop onto my keyboard. But as I see them, I am reminded that these tears are not mine alone. Jesus’s heart breaks with mine. He weeps with me through the loss and pain, even though I caused much of it.
Still, God beckons me to reject the grief that the enemy intends for my harm (Genesis 50:20) and to remember that His grace is bigger than any sin. For a moment, I find peace.
But what about those who won’t forgive me? How can I get them to extend forgiveness to me?
I can’t. Only the One who reached down and lifted me out of the pit six years ago can soften their hearts (Psalm 40:2). I must trust His timing and love. The Bible tells me that my Lord Jesus is with the Father right now interceding for me (Romans 8:34). And if you’re His child, He’s there interceding for you too.
What do you need to release into God’s care? Trust Him. Give Him your worries and draw close so He can bind up your wounds (Psalm 147:3). “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV).
AMBER LEASON works in special needs education and enjoys sharing the love of Jesus with her students. She serves also with Thrive, a women’s ministry that facilitates a space for women to connect with God and encourage each other in their faith.