Sometimes I Make Mistakes

by Evelyn Horan

face in handsThere are things in my life that cause me problems.  Sometimes, I make decisions that are not  right for me. It’s not always easy to say “no” to suggestions and activities others ask me to share with them, and  I make mistakes by giving in to their ideas without using the wisdom God has given me.

At times, I think I’m the only one who starts out with  good intentions, and then something goes wrong in the situation, possibly not according to God’s will.  That’s when I feel disappointed in myself. I wonder what I could have done differently? Why did things turn out badly for me?  Then just before I feel really discouraged, I remember God is my friend.  He cares when I make mistakes, and He’s always ready to help me straighten out the problems I’ve created.

Last Sunday in church I heard a story about a rich man who had two sons.  His youngest son had many problems and destroyed his life badly. The youngest son asked his father to divide up his property and give him his share because he wanted to go out on his own and live life the way he wanted to.  His father knew his son’s plans weren’t the best, but he knew if his son were to learn how to use God’s wisdom for us, he would have to let him have his way.  So the father gave his son his share of the inheritance.

“Good! Now I’m free,” the young son told himself.  He left home and went away.  He began spending money on what he thought was a good time.  He made new friends who helped him spend his money.  They led him into many kinds of unwise behavior.

But as soon as his money was gone–so were his friends.  Then a famine spread over the land and food and jobs were scarce.  The young son finally found work–caring for pigs!

He began to think of home.  He remembered how much his father loved him.  Even his father’s servants had plenty of food, but he was now hungry and starving.  He decided he would go to his father and ask him to forgive his foolish behavior.

For many days the son walked home.  As he approached his home he saw someone running toward him.  Was it his father? Ignoring the dirty, smelly rags his son wore, the boy’s father threw his arms around his son.

The boy told his father he had made many unwise choices. But his father didn’t let him finish.  He took off his robe and wrapped it around his son.   He told his servants to prepare a banquet to celebrate the wonderful day!

Great love came into the runaway son’s heart.  He discovered his father still loved him and had forgiven him for his lack of intelligent use of God’s wisdom for him. This same thing happens, when I realize God loves me in spite of my lack of intelligence and wisdom in my activities.  He runs to meet me, when I decide to return to Him.  He throws his arms around me and gives me His understanding love. God is willing to love me in spite of my mistakes.  It’s so easy to love Him back, when I know He’s always there for me with His love,  encouraging and forgiving me, when I ask Him in my prayers.

From now on, I’m going to be more careful by asking myself, “Is this what God would want me to do?”  Then,  I’ll make wiser and better choices in planning activities in my daily life that would be pleasing to God.

Imperfect Sinner

by Veronica Williams

‘The integrity of the upright will guide them’ (Proverbs 11:3)

smiling girlAre you good at berating and generally beating yourself up? Or do you leave it to others to chastise and point out your failings?  As a young woman I was very confident and I believe fairly infallible.  It isn’t that I was arrogant, just that my parenting instilled a healthy and positive self-esteem, and I didn’t think I was particularly imperfect.  I was aware from going to Sunday school and church that man was born in sin, and that we needed to be aware of our sinful nature.  I learned about the seven deadly sins, which are lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride, and was aware that I needed to avoid these things. Essentially however, I did not feel I needed to criticize my own behavior or that I regularly needed to identify my faults and punish myself accordingly.

As I grew to adulthood and had differing emotional experiences, such as losing my first job or being ignored by some young man who I liked, I learned emotional pain and how to deal with rejection. One of the main reasons someone will blame themselves or believe they are at fault is if they are emotionally scarred.  They may then beat themselves up in a variety of ways.  For instance they may do something extreme like becoming a lesbian or a nun if the object of their affection does not reciprocate their affections. Fortunately I took a more balanced approach and instead of beating myself up believed that it was his bad luck; and simply moved on to another young man who was expressing an interest in dating me.

Not everyone takes things on the chin in the same way, and some may look for reasons to chastise themselves or believe that they have done something for which they should be penalized or punished. Inevitably this is not the case and good thinking is the better way forward rather than finding fault with yourself.  This is a healthy way of looking at things however our life experiences are such that the attitude of siblings and partners, often encourage us to believe the worst of ourselves. For example you’re so lazy couldn’t you have done that for me or pointing out what they think is some other deficiency in your character.

I remember quite vividly the first time that someone indicated that they thought I was pretentious and not a very genuine person.  I was mildly shocked that I was presenting in this way and took a step back to re-check my personality.  It is, I believe always good to listen to fault finders; if only so that you can refute their views.  Fault finders come in all sizes, shapes and ages, and range from ordinary people through to prominent officials.  Sometimes you can be so caught up in your own importance that you fail to recognize your own imperfections.  Having assessed this implied deficiency in my character I am pleased to say that it was the observer’s perception that was at fault.

A final thought is that we are all imperfect and may have several character traits which other people are less than pleased with.  If that is in fact the case some religious insight might prove useful in providing a basis or foundation for understanding our imperfections.  We ultimately have to gain some understanding of our own characters and often use our internal barometer to identify the right and wrong of a situation.  Additionally we are socialized into knowing the expectations of society; and have an understanding that we would be penalized if we did something wrong. I believe it’s better to roll with the punches rather than metaphorically give ourselves a severe thrashing.

A Tale of Bravery

by Veronica Williams

scared-girl‘Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.’ (Psalm56: 3-4)

I was pleased by the young girl’s determination not to be the underdog in the scuffle.  Despite having been kicked and punched several times in the stomach by the older girl she got up and began to defend herself as the onslaught began once again.  Fortunately the bell rang indicating that playtime was over, and the teachers had now finished lunch.

Her antagonist shouted “I’ll get you later after school.”

The little girl shrugged her shoulders and headed for the line where her classmates were lining up.  Maybe if she made a quick dash after school she might be able to avoid the confrontation.  Then she remembered the bible story she had been listening to last week at Sunday School.  It told the story of Jesus who knew that he would be crucified and suffer pain and die.  However, that did not stop him from preaching the gospel and healing the sick.

She recalled what her Sunday school teacher had said that Jesus was a friend and protector of little children, maybe if I say a little prayer he’ll look after me as I walk home from school.   So the little girl closed her eyes and put her hands together and said very quietly:

God in heaven hear my prayer
Keep me in thy loving care
Be my guide in all I do
Bless all those who love me too.
Amen

I tell you this story because there are times in life when we too are like this little child, backed into a corner and don’t know who we can rely on.  It’s at times like this that we need to call on the name of Jesus.

If you have experienced bullying, been intimidated or have a similar story to the girl in the story don’t be scared go and talk with one of the teachers or an adult who you can trust. I bet you didn’t know that bullies are often really cowards who need to make themselves seem clever in the eyes of other people, so they will pick on someone who seems weaker. As I have pointed out it’s always a good idea to let an adult know what is going on and also always fight back, after all what have you got to lose.

Are you Misusing God’s Name? Why Is the Third Commandment Important?

by Evelyn Horan

girl seriousSometimes I find myself so involved in an exciting conversation with others that I make a slip and use the Lord’s name in vain. When I’m chatting with my friends about an exciting event or situation, I’ve been guilty of using God’s name in a disrespectful way.

After I’ve said those words, I know I shouldn’t have done it,  because I remember that the third of the Ten Commandment tells me, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” And, that is just what I have been doing, taking God’s name in vain.

Recently, we’ve been discussing the “Ten Commandments” in the Bible study I attend.  We learned that in Bible times, a person’s name represented something of his character or personality.  God cares deeply about His own name. So we discussed the meaning of “in vain” as it applies to followers of the Lord. We should not say His name in a careless or profane way as I had been doing, because we have a responsibility to uphold God’s reputation to the world. We should always keep in mind that God is holy and we should treat Him that way by showing reverence for His name in our speech.

God is the creator of heaven and earth. We need to approach Him with adoration and love as we live our daily lives.  He is our refuge and our strength. He cares for our needs.  We must  remind ourselves us to think of  creation and the many miracles God has performed for mankind.  Above all else, He gave us His son Jesus, who died for our sins.

At Bible study, our pastor said this, “Believing and knowing all this, it is easy to agree that God trusts us to avoid using His name in a thoughtless way.  Instead, we should continue to  worship and honor Him by only using His name with words of adoration, love, and praise.”

These thoughts have really stuck with me.   I resolved  that from now on, I’m going be more aware of my language when I become too excited in my conversations. I’m going to make a true effort to be more careful in my speech, and I’m going to remember the third commandment.

Going On

by Evelyn Horan

rememberingRecently, my best friend, ever since our grammar school days together, went to be with the Lord. And now, I am having a difficult time without Amy’s smiling face. I believe my loneliness can lead to depression and hopelessness, and I want to avoid these feelings. I wonder how I can overcome a tendency to feel self-pity? How do I pick up pieces and begin again when nothing looks inviting and bright? What can I substitute for the empty place in my heart without my best friend? In my prayers, I ask God to help me cope with my loneliness and grieving.

Caring family and friends gently remind me there are others who are facing loneliness, often as in my situation, through the loss of a friend, who might have moved away, or one who has gone away to college, and is no longer close by, and the list goes on. I do understand, I need to be in close contact with my family, and other friends. I am trying to avoid withdrawing into myself by assuming they are too busy for me by visiting with them and making phone contacts to keep these ties strong and binding.

As I allow my thinking to explore other areas that can help dispel loneliness, I think of more ways I could become involved. There are clubs and organizations in school and in the community and there is an immediate satisfaction in acquiring new friends, and as a benefit, I’m sure some can relate personally to my loss. When my friends tell me about their membership in various clubs and organizations, I notice their cheerful enthusiasm in recalling pleasant experiences in activities to stimulate and inspire their effort and interest.

Loved ones also suggest, I should assess my capabilities, my interests, and perhaps my long forgotten hobbies and desires. I should try to be rid of self-absorption and look around at my present environment. The question I ask myself, is can I put aside my loneliness by reaching out to others?

I believe I must try to do this, even though, I have to push myself to make the effort. I could try to become involved in student activities in school, by participating in various organizations Folks tell me I might also want to think of doing volunteer work after school in some sort of activity in the community. They suggested, I might want to try volunteer work in a hospital to assist in whatever capacity there might be a need.

Further, I could consider my hobbies. Perhaps painting, exploring crafts, and engaging in many kinds of needlework, or trying other creative outlets would be helpful, as I especially enjoy needlework and crafts. Thinking of pursuing hobbies I have put aside, I could explore organizations and groups interested in specific kinds of hobbies. As a member, it is possible to meet new friends and enjoy their companionship.

Finally, and most important of all, I should continue to seek spiritual nurturing as I trust in God, to help me. My church attendance, and fellowship with members, while I participate in church activities, will bring new friendships. Soon the feeling of belonging to my church family will dispel negative feelings that now weigh on me. I will no longer feel so lonely. My prayer life will grow, and my closeness to God can become more intimate and more personal.

In time, thinking “outside myself ” will offer ways to fill my empty hours. As I consider the many possibilities to help me overcome my loneliness, I feel a new zest for living, entering my grieving spirit. Beginning now, I shall try to plan busier and more active days ahead. Coping with my loneliness isn’t easy. But, I am confident that by trying new ideas, I can get a good start in finding an acceptance of my loss. Through prayer, and trusting in an understanding and loving heavenly Father, I can find contentment and happiness, for I know He will help me overcome my heavy feelings of loneliness.

 

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Dressing Up Your Self Esteem

by Veronica Williams

bridesmaidsDon’t you find it interesting that when we put on new clothes how good it makes us feel inside?  It’s as if putting on new things makes us feel clean, shiny and refreshed.  Some might compare this with the feeling we get when we accept the Lord Jesus as our personal savior.

What other things make us feel good inside? A healthy and positive relationship with God as well as the basic things we need in life to nurture our bodies.  Our physical bodies need to be sustained and once this has been achieved we can then consider our spiritual and emotional life.  It might also be argued that in order to have a good and healthy self-esteem we need to feel loved, appreciated and encouraged.  Can we buy the things we need to have a positive self-esteem? I personally don’t think so, thus going shopping for clothes, while it has a ‘feel good factor’ will not enhance our self-esteem for very long.

I like to look and feel good as well as the next person, but have realized that my physical appearance is only a small piece of the picture and I also need to have a spiritually healthy outlook and attitude.  Essentially I am arguing that God needs to be at the center of my life.  I need to be able to praise and communicate with him on a daily basis, and I need to know that he answers and directs my footsteps.

The thought of shopping for my sister’s impending wedding was somewhat daunting.  She had asked her future sister-in-law and our two cousins along with myself to be bridesmaids and we were having a meeting to look at materials and styles for the bridesmaid’s dresses. I believe the fact that we were having a meeting to communicate our individual views and ideas would also offer an opportunity for us to feel included and a sense of being valued in the coming event.  I was loved enough by my sister for her to wish me to be included in her wedding party, I was appreciated and my views would be taken into consideration when we looked at the style and material for the dresses and I was encouraged to understand the importance and significance of marriage in a spiritual context.

In our discussions we considered a variety of factors, not least of which was our body shapes and sizes.  If we think about it, we are all individuals with our own special requirements and physical shape. How we look and how others view our bodies may affect our self-esteem.  If we receive many complements and positive comments about our looks, then we would probably not focus on anything negative in our appearance.  On the other hand, if others are inclined to pointing out our negative qualities this could in time have a detrimental effect on our self-confidence.

I personally believe that we are all attractive and all have certain good qualities. Some people, especially teenagers with changing hormones and body changes, may tend to see the negative in their physical appearance.  I reiterate our hormones may make us moody and even temperamental.  However, if we have the correct moral barometer in place we will be able to accurately assess our individual needs and have an understanding of our internal and external beauty.  There is a chapter in the scriptures (Psalm 45:9) which refers to girls as being daughters of the King.  It says that young woman are essentially princesses with all the connotations that the word implies.

As the bridesmaid meeting progressed we discussed in depth the material which we thought would suit each of our skin color and hair.  We also gained an insight into each others views and preferences.  We agreed on material and color, however we varied in tastes and the length and style of the dresses.  Finally, we decided that all the dresses should be long but we could choose different styles for the bodice. Each of our differing tastes were accommodated!

We all have different tastes and its okay to select or prefer one thing above another.  It reflects that we, in caring about each other’s preferences,  are also showing that we love and care for one another. In having an open discussion we learned more about ourselves and each other and most importantly Christ was at the center of this pre-shopping expedition.

 

 

My Special Mother’s Day Shopping Trip

by Evelyn Horan

shopping“Dad, I’m on my way now,” I called hurriedly, trying not to show how anxious I felt that Saturday morning as I peeked in the kitchen doorway.

“All right, Emma,” Dad said, standing at the counter scraping carrots for a vegetable soup. “Hope you can find something. It’s really not good to wait until the last minute,” he reminded.

“I know, Dad,” I agreed. “I hope I can find something, too!”

I had to shop in a short time. I needed a special Mother’s Day gift for my mom and a nice card. But, I didn’t have much savings. Would I have enough money?

When I arrived at our neighborhood shopping mall a few blocks away, I remembered that department stores are more expensive, so I decided to look in a “penny-saver” store first. I walked up and down the long rows of aisles, but nothing was right for my mom. I couldn’t find anything like a Mother’s Day gift there.

“Now what am I going to do?” I wondered, as I walked outside and leaned against the storefront window. I tried to think.

I remembered a Christian bookstore a few blocks from the shopping mall. “But probably everything is expensive, and I’ll have taken a long walk for nothing.” I felt really nervous. When I calmed down a bit, I could still feel an inner urge, almost like a kind of quiet voice, telling me to shop at the Christian bookstore for my mom. So I took a deep breath and began walking.

When I entered the store, I went up to the smiling saleslady at the counter. Then I noticed a gold cross on a chain in the glass counter case.

“I guess they’re pretty expensive,” I said, hesitantly.

“They’re l4 karat gold,” she said, “but we’re overstocked, and we’ve just marked them down to $l5.99.”

“Really?” I exclaimed, happily. “Could you please wrap that one as a Mother’s Day gift for me?” I pointed to the gold cross.

“Why, of course, young lady, I’ll be glad to,” the saleslady said smiling.

“Thank You, God for helping me find Mom a nice Mother’s Day present,” I whispered.

While waiting for my package, I browsed along the shelves of books in the young people’s section. I found an interesting and informative book about the lives of Old Testament heroes that included Moses, Noah, and Sampson and others. It had many beautiful, colored pictures. I wanted to buy it for myself.

“Later,” I told myself, “I’ll buy the book after I’ve earned some more allowance.”

Then, across the aisle I saw the greeting cards. Wonderful! I didn’t know the Christian bookstore sold greeting cards.

Looking closer, I found a perfect Mother’s Day card for my mom. Inside it told my mom how much I loved her, and it asked God’s blessing on her life for years to come.

“Thank You, God,” I murmured, happily. “Two special favors in a half hour!”

As I left the store with my mom’s Mother’s Day gift wrapped in a big gold colored bow, along with my special greeting card in a bag, I had to hold myself back from skipping and racing joyfully all the way home! I even had some allowance money left over.

While Dad and I enjoyed a bowl of his tasty vegetable soup for lunch, I told him about my shopping experience and about the gentle voice that encouraged me to go to the Christian bookstore to shop.

“Emma, do you have any idea Who might have helped you today?” Dad asked with a little smile.

“That’s easy, Dad,” I said quickly. “It had to be the Holy Spirit. I’m sure of it. Things worked out too perfectly. Isn’t it neat, Dad, how God can be real in your life?!”

“Yes, Emma, He’s always there when we need Him”

“And I want to go back and buy a beautiful picture book for myself, telling all about the lives of many Old Testament heroes. I’m hoping to buy it when I earn more allowance money .”

“Hmm,” Dad said thoughtfully. “ Because you are being careful with your allowance and trying to budget wisely, how would you like it if I bought the book for you as a special gift from Mom and me for being such a thoughtful young woman? And you can continue to save your allowance money for other special things you’d like.”

“Oh that would be wonderful,” I cried happily. ” And now, I even have enough money left over from shopping today to put in the offering basket at Church on Sunday as my way of thanking God for His help today.”

“Wonderful,” Dad said. “You are being one of God’s good stewards. Let’s go back to the store for the book after lunch. We don’t want the book to be sold too quickly. So, I’ll drive you in the car.”

I gave my dad a big hug. “Thanks, Dad,” I said. “I’ll clean up the soup dishes right away. And, Dad, I’ll do the dinner dishes tonight too, I promise.”

“All right, Emma,” Dad said, smiling. “Sounds good to me.”

Finding God Every Day

by Evelyn Horan

girl looking at treeHow do I know God is a part of my daily life?  Every time I begin to think God is too busy in His Heaven to remember my needs and wishes that might seem trivial, I try looking for Him in my routine activities.

I remember one busy morning I had to shop in a short time. I needed an indoor basket plant for my friend, Helen, whose birthday party was in a few days.  I wanted her to have a dish garden plant to put in her room. Knowing that florists expect a “good price” for the sort of dish garden I wanted, I thought of a large discount store outside my neighborhood.

But I don’t enjoy visiting this store because it’s always crowded.  Still, I felt an inner urge to shop for other items there as well.  Just as I expected, when I arrived, the store was filled with shoppers.

Then I prayed, “Dear God, please help me find a lovely floral arrangement for Helen.”

Inside the store, with shopping list in hand, I came upon a temporary table of assorted,  dish garden plants. I couldn’t believe it!  They were exactly the kind I wanted, but much more beautiful than I’d even imagined.

“I must have one of those basket plants,” I told myself.  I knew Helen would enjoy the plants.  Cautiously,  I read the sign and then looked again.  It was true, these large, healthy dish gardens were moderately priced.

“Thank you, God,” I whispered.

Then further down, on the right, there was  a display table of children’s books.  As I browsed through them,  I found a beautiful picture book showing the life of Jesus.  It too was moderately priced. The book would be the perfect gift for my young sister, Emily, who had been wanting a book about Jesus.

“Thank you, God, for sending me here,” I murmured happily, reaching for the picture book.   Through my prayers, God had helped me find the things I needed today.

At home, relaxing after shopping, I thought about my morning.  And I had to remind myself once again–when I take the time to look for Him, it’s easy to find God doing wonderfully, unexpected things in my ordinary life.  I just have to stay alert and recognize them.

When I do, I find the reassurance that these little “special favors” are God’s way of showing me that I am not alone to meet the challenges in my life.  They reveal that God is here with me, helping me, and smoothing out my way in my day to day needs.

Isn’t it wonderful how God makes His presence known to us in ordinary ways all the time!  What a joy to know God is here in our lives, helping us, and blessing us every day with His faithful love.

Counting Our Blessings

By Evelyn Horan                                                                       

countI am often reminded of an old song that tells us to” count our blessings” and” name them one by one.” When we do this, we can remember what God has done for us.   Sometimes, when we ask God for our desires, we don’t always get what we want, but if we pay attention, we notice we’re getting what we need.

There are times when requests are made to our parents, but they are denied—like the young man who wanted a special fishing pole, but he had to be satisfied with his old pole. When he went fishing again, he caught a two-pound trout. He realized that old pole was all he needed.

Some girls can recall how they thought they couldn’t live without a certain outfit they’d seen in a teen magazine. But in real life, in a department store, sometimes the color wasn’t right or the material was scratchy. Other times stylish boots were a fad. Trying them on, they realized they could hardly walk in them.

It’s easy to compare what you have against what friends, neighbors, or people who are admired have—and  then you find yourself coming up short. Everyone else seems so much better off! It’s easy to envy kids who seem better looking or more popular, ones who make better grades or are successful leaders. There is always someone more coordinated on the drill team, or a soprano in the glee club who can hit higher notes. Maybe you always notice someone stronger, more athletic, someone who drives a great car, has more spending money, and a better job.

You can spend all day making a list of people in better circumstances, but that’s not a helpful activity for those who want to be like Christ and follow him.  A good way to shake that self-pity is to inventory the good things God has done for you. One of his blessings, often taken for granted, is good health.  There are people who have a life threatening disease or a serious injury to face. If you have good health, it’s time to be grateful.

Second, the necessities of life provided by parents, foster parents, grandparents or whomever you live with, require gratitude. Not everyone has a warm place to live, adequate clothing to wear, enough food to eat, and plenty of clean water to drink. Having these things when there are millions of people in the world who don’t have these necessities should cause us to pause and remember that God has truly blessed us.

Take time to consider personal possessions and benefits beyond life’s necessities.  For some it’s a private room, a cell phone, a TV, a computer, music lessons, trips to amusement parks, family vacations. You may not have all those extras. But what do you have? What can you thank God for?

After a few minutes of reflection, we find we are blessed in so many ways.  It is foolish and selfish to give in to pity, or become morose over little things we think we need.  We should remember God loves us, and he promised to meet our needs as he sees fit.  He didn’t promise to grant all our wishes, but he did say he’d meet our needs and that we should not worry—for if he cares for the birds and the flowers, he surely cares for us.

When we count our blessings, we find we are truly blessed, and we are thankful to God who knows our needs and  cares for us.

The Power of Forgiveness

By Evelyn Horan

handshakeFor years I lived in a gloomy fog of depression, stress, and stomachaches. I had no appetite.  I carried the spirits of anger and hate around like we were good friends. And sometimes, I thought about ways I could repay the wrong I had suffered.

But,  I’ve found a better way to cope with hurts.  I experienced  God’s  forgiveness in my own life, and now I can forgive others.

One of the first things I gave up was my wish to retaliate when someone wronged me. I  learned that God is in charge. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Romans 12:19). I learned I was supposed to leave the discipline and judgment of others to God.

But I found exercising forgiveness difficult. I could eventually forgive the act, but I was tempted to hold a grudge against the person who wronged me.

A sermon I heard on forgiveness introduced me to Matthew 6:14, 15: “If  ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

“When we forgive others,  in response to God’s forgiveness,” the minister  said, ” the benefits are wonderful.  We become healthier physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Before that time, my stomach was in knots more often than it was relaxed.  My face and jaw muscles would tense with anger, and my blood pressure would rise when I thought  about a wrong I’d experienced.

Could I forgive?  Could I really look at the situation the way God expected me to?  Not without His help. Through prayer I uncovered the ugly hurt I’d harbored in my life.   I explored the ridges and folds of the pain in the light of God’s forgiveness. I realized my unforgiving spirit had been a sin, and I gradually came to repentance. It took a long time, but I reached the place where I could say with conviction, “Yes, Lord, I’ll release my hurt and give it over to You.”

After I prayed to God for forgiveness and confessed my sin, a warm feeling of love filled my spirit. My stomach relaxed and my breathing became deep and free. It seemed as if chains had been removed from my heart.

I never thought it would happen–and certainly it wouldn’t have without God’s power–but I sought out  the one who had caused me pain. I apologized for my unforgiving spirit and years-long grudge. In turn, I received  an apology.  Our friendship was not only restored, but renewed with a deeper level of understanding.

Because I asked God’s forgiveness for my sin of being unforgiving, I can now forgive a wrong done to me.  Finally, I also know without doubt that I am in God’s care. I am His child, and He knows my hurts.   All I must do is put my problems in His healing hands.