Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Receiving the New in Place of the Old...{Finding Sanctuary - Part 24}

Sweet Tweener and I went on a sewing retreat at a lakeside campground last fall...*sigh* evening the light and lake were perfect for photographs.

Rest and peace and quietness are the first words I think of when my mind turns to "Sanctuary".  Shelter is a swift fourth!  So it is natural for me to look across still waters and think of being in the Lord's Presence -

of sensing - 
the magnitude
the stability
the infinite embrace

that is Him...

Walking to the end of this dock, surrounded by the calm evening waters - I turned back to see the "bridge" that had ushered me out to this place, and that held me safe and sheltered in the immense expanse of it all...

This bridge, this dock, leading out into the largeness of God, is what we are doing with building the new habits in "Finding Sanctuary".  Once found, we need to be in it, in the midst of it.  We need - sometimes - to build this bridge out - ourselves, yet in partnership with Him...He desires that our character be formed and strengthened for it holds a promise for the life to come.

This past week, once again, another opportunity to see the quality of the new habit, this resting place at His altar - where sanctuary is experienced, lived, purified in the forge of testing...

I had to process some deep, long-lived anger - the kind that has flesh and righteous indignation all tangled together in a knotted mess...and I had/was able to share what was at the root of it all with the person who was the source of the wounds for many years now, and the resulting damaged trust and near loss of all hope of ever having the sort of relationship that family members should have...and again, I can tell there has been progress - I know that I am through all the pain that this person has caused in the past.  I know this because I actually have new thoughts in the same place where the pain was.  It is like a miracle that I had no part in...except to be responsible to process my emotion till the issue was resolved within was only then that the peace and love of the Holy Spirit could flow into that place of my heart!  And He did!  I am liberated from the bondage of that old anger!  I am eager to converse with this person once again; I desire to be in different from where my heart has been in regards to this person.  Of course, trust has to be earned back, and in reality, what will happen from here on out is that a new relationship will develop with the same person - but not based on the past and fears of being hurt again (tho' the possibility will always be there because we are imperfect humans, after all!).   {psst - just so you know, this is NOT about my husband!!!}

This is the place where many in the Christian realm will say "Oh, you finally forgave him/her." 

No, forgiveness happened a long time act of obedience; an act of my will.

Forgiveness may influence my emotions, and my emotions may influence my desire to forgive; but processing wounds and emotional pain is a separate issue from forgiveness.  Don't allow confused Christians to tell you otherwise!  Jesus forgave all of mankind on that cross, yet He cannot be in relationship with a person unless reconciliation has occurred -  

So, how is your counting going?  What have your ups and downs been like during this long stretch?

You might enjoy reading more about building good habits here:  The Second Key to Good Habits: Motivation.