by Donna L. Watkins
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Thirsty Squirrel
God offers us rest, but like any gift, we have to take it. Being someone who had endless energy and loads of goals, I was always in motion. Always a doer, not taking much time for simply being.
Those seasons of life seem so long ago. Our only son, Benjamin, turned 30 yesterday. It was a bit disturbing to him since most of his friends are in their 20's, but it's been disturbing to me also as I ponder all those years of parenting. Every parent looks back with longing to change some things, but if you let those thoughts linger it can bring on a heavy burden of guilt.
Why do we think we could've been the perfect parent when there has never been such a person in the world? Our parents mistakes, our mistakes, are used by God to mold and shape us for our purpose in life. We can turn it all around for good when we see it through His loving eyes.
We don't need to look back unless we are rejoicing in what God has done in our life. God uses every day of our lives for good if we trust Him and dedicate it all to Him, rather than mull over it in misery. Do you think you're doing your children any better by being miserable about your past? What example does that give them?
Are we doomed to have a miserable future because we made wrong choices in the past? No, we'll have a miserable future as long as we make the choice each day to not let go of the yesterdays. God calls us to come to Him and lay our burdens down at the Cross. Christ died so we could leave the past behind.
Look at all Paul had to leave behind. As Saul of Tarsus he persecuted and killed Christians. Yet, God called him to be a great man of God and to write most of the New Testament. But Saul had to make the choice to allow God to turn his life around. If he held on to the guilt of the past, he could not make anything of his future.
If you're waiting for your children's forgiveness to change your future ... or hoping that you can change the past by feeling bad long enough about it, so that your future will finally make sense ... you're living a life ruled by the devil. The Bible tells us that we can't serve two gods. We only have one Holy and True God. The everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the Earth, who does not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom (Is. 40).
Will you allow God to take your burdens? He's been beside you all the time, but we have to make the choice to turn things over. To let go of what's been comfortable no matter how miserable. We think God causes these messes to happen in our lives and so many times it's simply the choices we make. If we were to listen to His voice calling, we would turn and walk a different way, but we condemn ourselves and open ourselves up for the devil to rule by the choices we make.
"I see the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore, my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; moreover, my flesh will live in hope" (Acts 2:25-26).
John Maxwell says, "You can spend your life any way you want, but you can spend it only once."
Carl Bard says, "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."
What will your ending be? Misery? Is that how you want to be remembered? 'She suffered miserably her whole life for her mistakes in younger years' ... or 'she had a rough beginning, but she turned it around and finished well.' Doesn't the latter inspire you? If you need inspiration go to the library and get some books that will inspire you. There have been many people who overcame. We were built, designed and drawn to overcome, but we also have free will to make our own choices.
Your first step will be to stop blaming everybody and everything else for your problems. Some fall into that pattern because they can't handle the entire load of guilt if they didn't spread it around. The Blood has freed us from guilt. Christ made the payment. We do not have to make payment.
When I want to go back to something in the past that didn't go well, I see Christ hanging on the cross asking me, "Isn't this enough for you?" I make Christ's death for my sins worthless if I choose to die daily over my sins and mistakes.
Lay down that heavy burden of misery, guilt, perfectionism or whatever it is. God wants us to rest. I didn't slow down until my flesh gave out, but I am so thankful that God stayed beside me even as I was beating myself into the ground. When I was willing to reach out for a helping hand, He was there, is there, and will always be there.
God, help my brothers and sisters to reach out before so much of their lives are taken and used by the devil's schemes. Speak to them, show them where they can make changes, give them courage and discipline and tenacity to walk on your restful woodland path to wholeness. Thank you for sending Christ to take our sins and guilt away and to be in us and with us. Help us to recognize that He is within, not out there somewhere, but that we are actually one with Christ and you. For those who do not know Christ, I pray they would seek you now and choose to turn their life over to you. Amen
Hearing God's Voice
The book that is having a monumental impact on my life and way of living is one called, How To Hear God's Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. The clear and detailed content with loads of Scriptural backup, along with the interactive process of applying what you are learning, is yielding a lot of spiritual fruit in my life and the life of my husband, the counselor, who is now promoting the book to everyone he knows. Your view of the present, past and future will never be the same when you begin to commune with God as He always intended us to do since He walked with man in the Garden of Eden. For those who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Father, this book will take you there if you read and apply it. The author promises that and I do too!
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