I have been praying for the LORD to give me much fruit in this season of my life. I do not want to waste time and I long to be fruitful. This moment of ugh did not match my prayer life. But, as I prayed and pondered my momentary madness, I realized I had stuffed A LOT! A LOT! And I needed to let some things go. Have you ever done that? I realized that in the attempt to act godly and not be offensive myself, I had allowed some occasions to be pushed down instead of grieving the pain that was caused me. I would tell myself, “Oh, I must forgive!” “Let it go!” “Move on and forget it!” But, the reality is my heart had been wounded and no attempt to reconcile had been made on my part or if it had it was handled in a cavalier, dismissal, or unkind way. It actually took someone being kind in the middle of a confusing moment for me to realize how much my heart had been wounded.
How do I as a loving woman of God release it? How do I find healing when one of those that caused the pain died last year and one refuses to even dialogue and honestly if this person did the patterns have revealed that it best that we not engage. I know that I cannot change anyone. But, I have learned that the good LORD can change me. I soon realized that part of my prayer for bearing much fruit just happens to be that He wants to prune some pain in my heart.
So, what is a girl to do? I knew I needed a day with GOD alone. I wanted to take the time to just list it all out and then just burn it.
I love how GOD pours truth into us or even at us when we are in need of it. Our staff at ASM are working through the book, “Celebrations of Discipline” by Richard Foster as a team building activity for our staff meetings. I chose months ago to do submission and confession because I knew they were the ones I would like to grow in. LOL! Well, I discovered as I studied submission that if I am truly submitting then I am helping myself and those around me to be surrendered to the will of God. Well, guess what! In confession, Foster challenges the reader to take the time to write it all out on paper and take it to someone and confess it. I love it when God affirms something through another that you have planned to do. Foster reminds the reader that the gift of confession releases a dear friend because we become a reminder of God’s forgiveness.
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23).
My girlfriend, Sabrina, used to call this being Jesus with skin on. There truly is something amazing that happens when we confess something and get it off our chest. Suddenly, we are not alone in our darkness. And when you add in someone that is holy and a good listener that wraps you in the cords of compassion and reminds you of the Father’s forgiveness, well, it is quite beautiful!
I told Greg, “I am going to list out all the things that are stuffed inside me as anger and then burn it.”
I am blessed because Greg listens even when he was the very one I dumped on! He did two things for me that were so good. Neither of us can handle us being in a fight for long. We will make up because we are a mess otherwise. After we both sat and stewed for quite a bit I said, “I am so sorry I just let you have it.” I will be honest I was sitting there thinking, “I don’t want to apologize! I still want to be mad because I am mad!” But, I also know that will not bring healing and movement so out of obedience to what I know is right and good I said it.
Then Greg said, “I forgive you!” There it was so simple. He forgave me. I felt it, too, the minute he said it. I confess I sat there for a moment and thought I don’t want to say, “I forgive you!” But, I made myself do it! “I forgive you!” He nodded and we still sat in silence. Sometimes, you just gotta sit in your mess and wait for the emotions to catch up with your obedience. And it did.
I hate being ugly! I hate unkindness! I hate evil! And I will say this a thousand times over, I hate them most in me! So, I set a date on the calendar and I set the day aside to be holy. It was to be my day to sit and process it all with God. I had to release it more to Him than to a human. I needed a holy work done in me and I most definitely was not the person to make that happen. I just needed to fall flat on my face before GOD and just unleash. I had A LOT OF ANGER in me! You need to know it was not at one person, one event, or one thing. It was A LOT of people, places, and circumstances. I put on quiet jazz got out my spiral notebook. I did not want this in my beautiful journal. This was ugly and it was going to be BURNED!
Did you know that in Hebrew the first person that the word repent was used to first describe as an action was GOD? Go look it up (Genesis 6:6).
I once learned that the repent in this verse means leave the house, burn it up, and to never return. That is a little terrifying when you consider it was God who first repented! God regretted creating humans when He saw their wickedness. If that does not do something to your heart, then we need to have a serious conversation! I looked up on Youtube the Hebrew word for “repent” and a video came up titled “Five words you should pray in Hebrew.” So, I paused to watch the video. Here are the five words the video provided:
Hallelujah means “Praise the LORD!” It honors His beauty, power, faithfulness.
Teshuvah means “repent and return to God.” It surrenders to His forgiveness.
Tsedek means upright behavior and wise actions. It reveals His righteousness.
Chesed means “loving kindness or mercy.” It reveals His beauty, grace, kindness, and generosity.
Shalom means “peace.” It is meant to be a prayer and blessing. In our heart, life, and world.
I immediately knew this was of God and that I must use these five words as the prayer pattern for my prayer time. So, I began to praise God for His beauty, power, and faithfulness. I kept this portion short. I wanted to honor Him, but for today I knew my longer portion was going to be in the Teshuvah. I began to write. I can write pretty tiny, and I kept writing and kept writing. I knew many of the things I was putting down I had already walked the path of repentance and forgiveness, but in case there was any lingering anger I wanted to give it over to God. I wrote until I could not write any more. Immediately, I felt my heart feel the tension unleash. I then began to write over and over all of it the five words.
Then it was on my heart to write “You are forgiven. You are free!” This was a reminder that it is just as true for each person as it is for me.
Then I wrote Jesus over and over. Honestly, there is nothing spiritual about what I was doing in writing the repetitive words. It was more for me to rewrite on my heart the truths that each one embodies, and it felt good to me. It isn’t something that should be considered a model, but more as a confession of what God walked me through on this precious journey of confessing anger.
When I was all done, I sat and looked at my scribbled mess, and I wanted to create! I wanted to be able to paint a masterpiece for each of those five words. They are mine now. They are deeply embedded in my heart, mind, soul, and spirit as part of my prayer journey with the LORD. I feel as if they are His grand gift to me because I sought Him. He allowed me to find Him in words that brought me healing, power, and yes authority to release and unleash my pain and move more towards joy. I love that He immediately gave me visions for creativity. How like God to provide a creative vision after a time of holy confession.
When Greg came home for lunch on the morning that I wrote my confessions of anger, I showed him my scribbled mess. He looked at me and said, “Why do you still have it? Go burn it! Do you feel better?”
I have a good friend in my Greg. I am blessed. I told him I wanted him to see it and honestly, as I look at it, it is beautiful to me! If I did not confess it then I could not find release from it. It represented the gift of God’s beauty, power, forgiveness, grace, mercy, generosity, faithfulness, and peace to me.
Have you ever been so burdened? It sure hurts. I am so sorry if you have your own pain, anger, or even sorrow that you bear. I wrote about my journey hoping that you might go to God in prayer and confess it and release it to Him. I pray you find joy and the gift of creative vision so that you may go and bear much fruit. I know I am much better for having done it and I know you will be, too! Shalom y’all! Tara 3/23/21😉
PS. I chose not to burn it. I have it tucked away in one of my Bibles. It became a visual reminder to me of the gift God gave me in this moment of exposure.