Reflecting back on the events that make up my life, there are memories I gladly push deep down into a mental compartment I know won’t be visited any time soon. If the memory is too painful, I push it in the way back of that compartment where I imagine the cobwebs hang like thick curtains in the windows of my mind. However, the happy times, including the birth of my children, my favorite pets, my first dance as an 8th grader, high school graduation, college graduation, competing in the Miss Pennsylvania pageant, packing up my life in Pennsylvania and trading in Philly pretzels for Fuzzy’s tacos. Those events send me into slow motion as my mind’s VCR replays the moments, a smile crawls across my face and my heart is warmed…
When I began the journey to heal those deep set wounds, from those compartmentalized memories, I promised myself that those memories would be freed from cobwebbed shadows of my mind. Instead, I’d face those skeletons and take a long, hard look at them. I promised myself that in the remembering, I’d get to the root of the pain, rip it up and deal with it once and for all. It hurt, and I cried. I kicked. I screamed. I punched pillows. I got quiet. Finally, I asked God to help me process the pain from remembering those difficult times. To use that pain to fuel my healing so I could be what He needed me to be to help those women who, like me, compartmentalize the painful moments of their life.
When I asked God to use me, I had no idea some of the things He would have me remember. Things I had either never thought about or hadn’t thought about in years. When faced with the source of my insecurity, He took me back to when I was 9 years old and my father was removed from our home. I loved my father. He was (still is) my hero. I thought he’d be back. When he didn’t return, my 9 year old heart sank. The days turned into weeks and months. Oh how I missed him. That was where the ugly root of insecurity sunk down into my being and got comfortable. God showed me why I was in the abusive relationship I was in with my ex-husband and the hand insecurity played in it. He showed me that my ex-husband, 10 years older than me, represented that father figure I was missing. God also allowed me to remember the sadness, pain, feelings of abandonment and coming undone. Through remembering, He was helping me face the monster under my bed; insecurity.
In Deuteronomy 8:2, He says,
And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
When you ask for healing, you ask to be reminded of those painful moments so when you come up out of the valley, you’ll always remember where you’ve come from (Revelations 2:5 ESV).
Life is hard sometimes, ok, a lot of the times and if you forget where you’ve been and how far you’ve come, God can’t really use you because you may think you’ve arrived (in my Morgan Freeman voice). When you give your life to God, repent and fully surrender everything to Him, He requires a humble heart that will always remember how His grace and mercy have kept you through the storms we so often want to forget. HOWEVER, when God delivers us from the messes we make, He wants us to remember …
I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right. ~ Isaiah 43:25-26
As much as we try to forget, and in our forgetfulness we are held in bondage to the monsters under our bed, God wants us to remember His promises to always be with us no matter what (Joshua 1:9). With a humble heart, courageously remember the twists and turns of life and allow God’s healing salve of forgiveness to heal those broken places within (Jeremiah 8:22; 46:11; Ezekiel 16:9). If you remember nothing else written here, remember this: “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations (Psalm 100:5).” God wants us to remember that He sacrificed His son, Jesus Christ, so that we would be free from the sin that so easily ensnares us (John 3:16; Hebrews 12:1).
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him ~ Psalm 34:8