Tag Archives: Forgiveness

30 Days of Gratitude-Day 21- Changed Heart

Heather Murdock

I’m grateful for God’s power to change my heart.

Several months ago I let frustration and resentment build up in a relationship with someone I care about. And I felt justified. As time went on, I became more resentful, and my heart began to harden against this person. I started to fixate on all the things I didn’t like, all the ways they had hurt me, which prevented me from seeing anything good. One night in an angry vent session to my husband, I stopped short and said “I need to pray right now.” As we prayed, the Holy Spirit reminded me how much God loves this person. I felt a strong conviction and I knew what the Lord wanted from me. My voice cracked as I choked out, “Lord, please help me love them too.”

This was the beginning of a change of heart. Over the next few days, every time I thought of this person, I prayed. I prayed and cried as God softened my heart, making room for love and compassion. I could finally see this person as broken, someone needing my forgiveness. In my brokenness, Jesus has always met me with forgiveness, compassion and mercy. Not only does He call me to respond in the same way, He gives me the power to do it.

In the Bible,  to repent means to change one’s mind. The Bible tells us true repentance will result in a change of action. Imagine yourself walking down a hallway. Now abruptly turn and walk the other way. A 180 degree change in direction. That is true repentance. With repentance comes God’s power. When my thoughts are in alignment with His, then my actions are, too.

I knew in this situation God was calling me to take action. He wanted me to speak the truth to this person, to confront them with a desire for restoration. To speak the truth in love.

But I was nervous.

It takes courage to take a stand, but it takes real courage to put a friendship on the line to speak the truth. And it takes humility to speak that truth in love.

God had been preparing my heart. Gone was the bitterness and resentment; what remained was love and concern for a dear friend.

I’m thrilled to share with you that with prayer and obedience, our conversation was absolutely blessed. In fact, before I could even begin to share my heart, they revealed they had been having revelation about some of their behavior that was hurtful and wrong. They welcomed my feedback and agreed with my concerns. They invited me to continue to speak into their life, to help them with these issues. 

I sat there amazed. Amazed at the power of God. Amazed at the living God who is real and active and who cares so deeply for His people.

As believers, we ache for an experience of God. Some believe experiencing God will result in some sort of supernatural ecstasy that overwhelms and shakes our core. We cry out like Moses did for God to show us His glory. But I believe I experienced God and His glory in this intimate moment of truth with my friend. Exodus 34 tells us that God’s glory is the manifestation and revelation of His love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and justice.

When we repent of our bitterness in relationships, and allow God’s love to flow through us, we experience God’s glory. We experience God.

Who are you holding bitterness and resentment against today?

How is that impacting your life?

He wants to set you free. Those who know and live the truth are free. Free indeed.

I encourage you to pray right now. Pray for your heart to soften and for bitterness to be replaced with forgiveness and openness to possibility.

All things are possible with God.

What are you grateful for today?

 

The Lost and Found

She tossed and turned all night.  She couldn’t stop dreaming the same dream.  It was like a movie, except it felt real.  She had an emotional connection to the dream that wouldn’t let her go.  There was a long dark hallway that seemed to go on forever.  The only light came from somewhere at the end.  If she squinted her eyes, she could almost make out a door.  The closer she got, the more her heart pounded.  What was behind that door?  All of her instincts were telling her to turn around, to not go any further.  She tried to fight it by steadying herself against the cold wall, but she felt like she was being pulled.

She finally reached the end and stood staring at the massive door.  There was bright light pouring out from the old fashioned keyhole. She could hardly think from the pounding in her ears.  Her mouth was dry as she tried to step backwards.  She felt her hand move toward the doorknob.  She knew horrible things were behind that door.  Things that had been hidden for years.

Something caught her eye.  Way at the top of the door was a faded old wooden sign.  She could barely make out the letters.  As her eyes adjusted to the light, she read the words…“The Lost and Found.”

She had shut that door long ago.  Behind it were all of her hurts, disappointments, fears, and secrets.  Can you relate to this girl?  I can.  I remember when I had a deadbolt on that door.

Most of my friends would say they’ve always known me to be a very confident, happy person.  I was so good at pretending to be those things that I convinced myself!  But late at night, and when no one was looking, I was just like that girl, staring at the door.

I once was lost, but now am found,” as the song says.  My relationship with Jesus has changed me from the inside. He did for me what I was never able to do for myself.  He walked with me down that hallway and threw open the door. What do you think I found there?  Gleaming light; His light.  No more darkness; everything forgiven.  He gave me the hope and courage to face the past and let it go.

I pray that you will turn to the Lord and ask Him to help you open your door.  I pray that you, too, will walk into His light.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, there’s hope…

“Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

 

 

 

 

 

Rebirth

I, like many of you, have lived a broken life.  A half-life, a life that started in a broken home.  My father was a very controlling alcoholic who physically and emotionally abused my mom and my sister and I.  We were poor and lived in isolation, which allowed for his control to be more complete.  My father didn’t know or believe in Jesus and forbid my sister and me to know Him in any way.

At nineteen years old, my sister Willow was killed by a drunk driver.  The drunk driver and my sister’s best friend were also killed.  I was twenty-three at the time and was estranged from my family by choice.  I was on the run trying to put as much distance as possible between them and me.  I carried a lot of pain, guilt, and shame from my childhood that intensified greatly after Willow’s accident.  I went through therapy for years and gained understanding of my issues, but never healing.

As a result of my childhood, I grew up as a perfectionist.  I believed that I had to be perfect to be loved, and that if anyone knew the real me they would never love me.  That need for perfection grew so toxic that it led to an eating disorder and to depression. I fought hard to overcome it through my own will, and honestly believed that I would fight it until the day I died.  It was like living in a prison!  It was my secret.  I hid behind the mask of perfection for so long!  No one knew the war that was waging inside of me.

Two years ago I became a Christian, and a year ago my children and I were baptized.  Our Lord has completely transformed my life!  A few weeks after I was baptized, a couple came into my life that I had never met before.  After some small talk, I learned that they were friends with and worked for the same man that knowingly gave the car keys to the drunk driver that killed my sister fifteen years ago.  As I sat reeling from this connection, God spoke to my heart and told me to ask for his phone number so that I could call him and forgive him.  I promise you I had never once thought of reaching out to this man! I hated him since he was the only one left to blame.  I couldn’t believe what God was asking me to do!

I called him a week later.  It was a phone call that literally changed my life!  I had no idea what the anger and lack of forgiveness was doing to my life.  Not just the anger from the accident, but also the unforgiving anger from my childhood.  When I made that call, my life changed.  The blessing of peace filled my heart.  The forgiveness broke my mask!

A couple of months after the phone call, as I was reflecting on all that Jesus had been teaching me, I had a startling revelation.  I realized that for almost two years, I had not once been plagued by my eating disorder. It had been completely erased like it never existed!  God had completely delivered me from my prison!  I broke down in tears of gratefulness and joy.  I broke down for the girl that had once felt so hopeless, so alone, so ashamed.  God and His amazing Grace had given me a miracle!

I stand before you not refurbished, but completely remade!  I have been transformed by God!  I stand here not defined by my past, or by what others think of me, but by His love and purpose for my life.  My identity is in Him and that has set me free!  I never really felt joy before Jesus, and now He has given me a joy that defies circumstances.  Just like it says in Philippians 4:7, And God’s peace shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts, and minds in Christ Jesus!

Just a couple of weeks ago I had a miscarriage after being three and a half months pregnant.  Our family has grieved the loss of our baby.  But I have to tell you, I have a peace, an inner peace that transcends this circumstance.  I have a peace that can only be explained by the presence of Jesus.  I KNOW that He has a plan for my life.  I don’t just know it in my mind, I know it in my heart, and I LIVE it!  I trust His wisdom and plan completely.  He taught me that I don’t have to know why.  All I need to do is follow Him.  He may lead me to some unlikely places, but it’s all for good in the end.  He taught me not to look for the Plan, but to look for the Author of the Plan.  He has taught me obedience through my suffering.

It reminds me of an analogy…imagine you have a beautiful ceramic pot.  Imagine you have a glowing light and you put the light into the pot and put a lid on it.  Can you see the light through the pot?  No.  Now imagine that same beautiful ceramic pot, but imagine it with cracks and chips and pieces missing.  You put the light in that pot and put the lid on it.  Can you see the light?  Yes, you can! Through all the cracks and chips and missing pieces, out streams the beautiful light for all to see.  We are those cracked pots, and He is the light shining out for the entire world to see his Glory.

I have grown so much over the past two years!  Jesus has encouraged me to reach out to others for fellowship, support, accountability, training and equipping.  He has surrounded me with amazing believers who have taken me in and mentored me.  I have given my life to the Lord and will spend the rest of my life serving Him and leading others to do the same!