How Every Mile Matters and to Forgive Yourself
Miles. A distance we travel. Sitting across from her, with her long dark hair hiding her ears, she shared the distance she had traveled. It began with a restless heart. The hands which sought something else, anything else, the wrong-else, gripped the coffee mug. I sat in the booth across the table and looked at this girl. Bread laid untouched in a plastic clear bowl. I din’t even sip my lemonade. Her voice told me about mistakes that were made. The months and years leading up to this moment.
Regret. I could see it her eyes. In her posture, slightly slumped and shoulders drooping low. A broken heart. A searching soul. Mistakes. Sin. Guilt and shame flooded her eyes when the tears pooled in the corners. She whispered and talked softly, lifting the weight off her shoulders. I could see the invisible burden being placed on the table in front of me.
What would I do with her burden? I could only see my own burden as a reflection.
As she spoke about her pain, the time she was lost, I knew the feeling. It was once a heavy load I had carried. I could feel the weight again. Sitting across from her, with my purse on the seat beside me. The glass in front of me perspired from the cool drink. Just a few years ago, I started down a path kicking and screaming. Forced to walk a road, plan a different future, and it was then I felt so many of the same things. Shame. Sin. A broken heart. Feeling like God was surely gone.
In this mess. In the miles, He wasn’t here. I knew it in my soul. I saw the question in her eyes: Is God still here for me? Can I forgive myself? What if?
Today she (and I) desire a different place. No longer walking in sin. Asking forgiveness for mistakes. Knowing Christ’s blood covers it all, but still shame lingers. And we regret the miles we traveled. Both this girl and I. We wish we had taken a different exit. Gone down a road with different scenery.
Every mile mattered. The steps we take, bring us to this place right now. Would I trade the pain for beauty only? Or does the darkness reveal the sunrise? When she asked me, what if… I told her something God was really speaking to my heart:
How big is God?
How big is my God if I’m afraid of the “what if’s.” Is He big enough to handle the worse case scenario? Of course we know He is, but if we are paralyzed by fear, guilt. and shame – do we really believe it?
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9
When God commanded Joshua to be strong, He didn’t promise an easy battle. To right the wrongs, to mend the wounds and build trust and love sometimes we must fight. Fighting doesn’t mean God isn’t in it. God still called Joshua to fight. The only difference was that Joshua went with one extra Person. God’s presence was a promise and a seal to inspire courage.
For courage isn’t feeling fear. It is moving forward even in our fear. Fear not. For God still fights with you.
Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God he shall fight for you. Deuteronomy 3:22
Fear not the miles traveled. They matter.
Fear not the mistakes. Nothing is wasted.
Fear not the lies. You are forgiven.
Fear not the shame. Guilt doesn’t have to linger.
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