The following is a blurb from a today’s Lenten devotion I’ve subscribed to through Outreach for Hope. The devotions were written by Rev. Sandy Jacobs.
After the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1944, the Nazis rounded up all of the Polish resistance leaders and one by one broke their will by threatening to expose all of their past wrongdoings. One man they could not break.
– “We know that you cheated on your university exams”
– “Yes, that is true – and more than once.”
– “We will tell everyone that you were unfaithful to your wife.”
-“Yes. Sadly it happened two times.”
– “We know that you did not report a colleague who had committed fraud.”
– “Yes, because I, too, was guilty of committing fraud.”
With many accusations, the Nazis threatened. But to no avail. After the war, when asked about this, the man simply said: “Since I had already confessed all of this and more to God, there was nothing that the Nazis could hold over my head. God’s grace and forgiveness are far more powerful than torture, or even death.”
I said “ahhh yes! that’s it!” when I read the last line of this devotion. Of all the awful things I have done in my life, there is nothing that anyone of this world can do to hold it over my head once I have confessed it in prayer. Once He forgives me, it doesn’t matter what others of this world think of what I have done.
These choices have become my story. They have come to define me – define where I have come from. They are a measurement of my growth. When I look at where I was 6 years go … in my senior year of college, pregnant, living with five other room mates, working two jobs (1 full-time and 1 part-time). I graduated in May – on my first mother’s day 🙂 But this hard time of my life has grown into the most beautiful part of my life — Jaden.
Doug and I have been going through boxes in the basement, getting ready for spring rummage sales. I found my old journals. I picked up one I remembered from the cover. I remember starting this journal when I was a sophomore in college – I was so depressed and lost. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. My high school sweetheart told me to write. Go to a quite place and write a list of all the things you want to change. You have to start somewhere.
So I did. I went to the Reflection Lounge on St. Norbert Campus in little DePere, WI and I wrote. I must have written 20 pages of all the things I wanted to change about myself – all the things I wanted to learn in life. Then I wrote what I was going to do to make it happen.
One of the things I wrote was that I wanted to know what it was like to stand on my own – to not depend on another human for my happiness. I wanted to know what it was like to be independent. I can honestly say that I learned that. I lived on my own, paid my own bills – barely had enough to get by at times. I spent nights alone in a two bedroom apartment and had to find a way not to be lonely – find a way to be ok in the silence.
I felt accomplished reading my list. I felt growth from reading all the things I wanted to accomplish and had – in eight short years. I felt inspired to work on the items I still had not conquered. I felt motivated to improve myself. To make another list. What are the things about me today that I want to improve, change or get rid of. What parts of myself do I love? What qualities about myself am I proud of? What things do I need to confess in prayer?
There is anger that I’m not proud of … that I need to pray for help with. I need the strength to forgive. I need the wisdom to know when to forgive and when to walk away. Forgiveness is a gift I have been given time and time again. The part I struggle with is how often do you forgive until you become someone’s door mat? There are some relationships in life that you owe more forgiveness than others – parents, spouses, children, life long friends.
I need to forgive myself for some choices I have made. The decisions I still question. The ones that I haven’t currently come to terms with. I pray for the wisdom in these choices and for the wisdom of how to accept them and turn them into blessings.
I’m going to end this post with the same prayer that closed today’s devotional: You know our deepest and darkest secrets and fears. Turn us inside out so that we may find relief in your forgiveness and grace. Amen