Freedom in visiting your past Part 1
I swore I would never go back again. To the place where my heart would sink and my past would haunt me like a bad conversation. To the house that felt heavy and burdensome. To the house I could never call home and the home that would never have my pictures on the wall or my history in its ceilings. I turned 40 this year. 40 feels like a big milestone. Half your life already behind you and another half waiting in front of you. 40 years' worth of regrets and unmet expectations met with a future promise that, if used well, would be different, would be full of freedom. When I turned 40, I was tired. Tired of feeling orphaned. Tired of fearing abandonment. Tired of holding unforgiveness in one hand and preaching freedom in the other. The double life of what I had been holding and what I wanted to believe to be true was exhausting. I needed to choose. Did I want to remain in process for what I wished had been different, or did I want to remain in progress, moving forward into the promises already laid before me. When I walked back into that house after 5 years of saying “no way”, I knew something had changed. The walls were still a dingy shade of tan, the floors a checkerboard of black and white. The decorations had been the same since I last remembered, and the hurting hearts that resided within hadn't been healed. What had changed, was me. I realized that I no longer had to carry the same luggage from past trips into my present adventure. I could leave the old behind and walk with grace, forgiveness, freedom and peace on my back...I didn’t need to overpack for this trip, or overthink either. Something shifts in the atmosphere when you can walk into a place that once held pain and scars in your heart and stand in firm authority that those things would no longer be welcome. Your heart has no room for that. When you declare a healing and a release of pain and unforgiveness, it not only unbinds your heart and hurt, but also unbinds the hearts of the perpetrators. It unbinds the heart of the generations that come after you. That, my friend, is power. Because when I walk in the authority of peace and forgiveness, the freedom that it gives me, also is given to those around me. My lens of offense is dropped, the tension releases and the atmosphere begin to change. I can now see with a clearer vision, the promises of a future of freedom. Remember, the people within that home hadn't changed, but the atmosphere that I welcomed around them, had given them, and me, a freedom to walk away from the offense and into a state of anticipation for a positive and merciful future. When I left the house, I was handed a long, deep hug. Not many words were spoken, but a few that said “I'm sorry” and the old, ragged and unused shell began to fall off. Tears ran down my face and I knew. I had left the old behind and had been obedient in walking into what God was making new. Sometimes, God wants us to revisit the place that once held so much pain, in order to experience the same place where the pain is no longer welcome. He wants us to “try again” and walk in freedom to a future that doesn’t require anything from the past except for the ability to look back and see the path of growth behind us, reminding us how far we have truly come. That even when the road was rocky, and long, we were strong and brave enough to overcome. Do you have a place from the past you need to revisit and make amends with? I encourage you today, if God is nudging you to say yes, take that step of faith and trust that even if circumstances haven't changed, you have. And He is ready for you to walk in that gift of freedom. There is true joy in that journey and He is waiting for you to experience it.