Saturday, June 21, 2008

Total Forgiveness: Part II...Understanding What Total Forgiveness Isn't

More segments from "Total Forgiveness" by R. T. Kendall

Ephesians 4:30-32
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

The ultimate proof of total forgiveness takes place when we sincerely petition the Father to let those who have hurt us off the hook-even if they have hurt not only us, but also those close to us. The matter of getting rid and totally forgiving one another is difficult to deal with.

Totally forgiving someone doesn't necessarily mean we will want to spend our vacation with them, but it does mean that we release the bitterness in our hearts concerning what they have done. How has the Lord forgiven us? Unequivocally and unconditionally. Our sins, which are many, will never be held against us, and nobody will ever even know what all we have done.

Psalm 103:12
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

If we follow the same principles with others as the Lord has with us....then we will not hold other people responsible for what they have done to us. We will hold nothing against them, and we will not tell other people , not even our closest friends, what they did to us.

Understanding What Total Forgiveness Is NOT:

1. Approval of what they did...God never approved of our sins. Just as God forgives people without approving of their sin...we must learn to forgive others. We can forgive those who have hurt us and not approve of the wrongs they committed against us or those that we love because this is the way that the Lord has dealt with us.

2. Excusing what they did...we do not cover for the sins of others nor do we point to circumstances in an attempt to explain their behavior....excusing their inappropriate behavior.

3. Justifying what they did...there is no way that evil can be justified. God never calls something that is evil...right and he does not require us to either.

4. Pardoning what they did...this would mean that we would have to release an offender from the consequences of their actions, such a sentence or penalty.

5. Reconciliation...reconciliation implies a restoration of a relationship or friendship after a quarrel. When a husband and wife totally forgive each other, it would mean a reconciliation but not always. The bitterness and desire to punish the other person may be gone, but the wish to restore things to the way that they were may not be necessarily be so strong. Reconciliation requires the participation of two people.

6. Denying what they did...denying the offense ever took place...for some reason...some people live in denial and they might refuse to admit or come to terms with the reality of a bad situation. It is sometimes too painful to face the facts and denial is the easiest way out. Even when the pain is pushed down into the cellar of our subconscious mind, it will still come out one way or another...often causing high blood pressure, nervousness, irritability or even a heart attack.

7. Blindness to what happened...some feel that if they offer forgiveness, they are turning a blind eye to, or ignoring, the offense and they believe that this would, in effect, be excusing a sin against God. Willful blindness is slightly different from repression. Blindness is a conscious choice to pretend that a sin did not take place; repression is usually unconscious and involuntary. However, both are wrong and can be psychologically damaging. Someone who is trying to forgive an offense, but is actually pretending that the event never happened, will eventually explode and become the offender themselves...all because they are not being true to the pain the original offense had caused.

Paul said that love "keeps no record of wrongs" I Cor. 13:5. He didn't mean that we have to be blind to those wrongs. True forgiveness of a wrong does not pretend that no wrong is there.

8. Forgetting...When someone says we must "forgive and forget"...I understand what they are saying but literally forgetting may not be realistic. It is usually impossible to forget meaningful events in our lives, whether positive or negative. Love doesn't erase our memories. It is actually a demonstration of greater grace when we are fully aware of what happened and we still choose to forgive. God doesn't literally forget our sins...He chooses to overlook them. He knows full well what we have done...every sordid detail, but He chooses not to remember so as to not hold our sins against us. This is the same thing that He wants us to do...although we might not be able to forget...we can choose not to remember. But even if we cannot totally "forget", we must not dwell on it.

9. Refusing to take the wrong seriously...We can't truly forgive until we see clearly the offense we are forgiving and understand its seriousness. Don't try to avoid the problem, thinking it would make forgiveness easier. There is no sin too great for God to forgive. God doesn't say to us..."Come now, my dear, that's not too bad. I can easily wash this sin away." No. He sent His Son to die for sin, and Christ's sacrificial death proves just how serious a problem sin is. God doesn't pass our sins off as inconsequential, yet He forgives. Totally.

10. Pretending we are not hurt...It is ridiculous to think that we should have to keep a stiff upper lip when we have been injured by a spouse's infidelity...or betrayed...or molested...or unjustly criticized. God let David know how grieved He was over the king's sin of adultery and murder. God didn't pretend not to be hurt.

For me...I learned so much about myself and what true forgiveness is all about. Please hang in there with me as I move along through this book and continue to share my story and God's healing power through forgiveness.

Next Entry: Total Forgiveness: Part III...What Total Forgiveness IS

Total Forgiveness

The lawsuit had been building for over a year before our first schedule court date and tensions were running high at our house. One Sunday afternoon, we were fighting terribly and I decided I was going to church without Roger. We were both very angry and stressed with all that had been going on. He is the positive one and I am the negative one...but even all this was wearing him down at times too.

On my way to church, I prayed that Pastor would be preaching on something that would really speak to my heart because I was so stressed, anxious and angry. We hadn't been there the previous two Sunday nights and I didn't realize that he was preaching on "Total Forgiveness". When I got to church, I was in a terrible mood and I really didn't want to be there either but I stayed anyway. I tried to listen to what he was saying but I was still very angry and heard only bits and pieces of his sermon.

When I saw on our sermon notes what he was preaching on...I wanted so bad to just get up and leave...I was not in any mood to be sitting in church, acting like everything was fine and I certainly didn't feel like singing! But, I didn't want to draw attention to myself either by getting up with my purse and Bible and walking out. So...I stayed. This decision was a turning point in my life.

What I did hear Pastor Rusty say was that anger sometimes stems from unforgiveness. It was also in his sermon notes. If I didn't hear another word Pastor Rusty said...I hear that. I couldn't get it out of him mind.

I thought about it all night Sunday night and all day Monday at work...I started praying and asking God....who do I harbor unforgiveness against? What has happened that could cause me to have unforgiveness in my heart, not be aware of it but yet I am allowing it to control me through my anger.

I called him on Monday afternoon and I asked him..."based on what you said last night...are you saying that my anger might be because I have unforgiveness?" He told me that is was a good place to start looking.

I met with Pastor Rusty the following day to begin a long process of discovering, digging, searching and dealing with all the emotions that one must go through to find the source or sources of their anger. I have learned that forgiveness is not an event but a process that you have to go through before complete healing can take place.

He gave me a copy of the book that he had read and preached a series of sermons on...he had me begin to read "Total Forgiveness" by R. T. Kendall. The hard part for me is....I don't like to read, never have and if I did...don't have the time to sit down and read. But because I wanted desperately to be healed both mentally and emotionally...I began reading this book. The book is written in such a way that I found it hard to put down. I didn't agree with some aspects that I read in the early chapters...some of them made me angry and defensive but I kept reading.

I was scheduled to meet with Pastor Rusty every week for counseling and self discovery. He held me accountable for my feelings, thoughts, emotions, my past experiences and my present. He had me journal my thoughts, feelings, situations at home that made me angry and my reactions and thoughts to the book I was reading. There would be so much to process because everything...thoughts, feelings and actions...both past and present was like a piece of a puzzle and they all had to come together to complete the big picture of my anger. I would journal every day...many pages at a time, email them to Pastor Rusty the day before our meeting in order for him to have time to read them, dissect them, get his questions ready for the next day. This worked beautifully for us because most of the time...I would have forgotten something that I might have remembered, felt and my the time we meet...the anger or emotions were not as intense as they were in the moment. He needed to see everything in the true light, the raw, ugly truth to help in this healing process.

In chapter 1...under section 8...It is the absence of bitterness: that I received the confirmation that we were on the right track in discovering the source of my anger. I will include segments that I highlighted in the book several years I was reading.

It says: Bitterness is an inward condition. It is an excessive desire for vengeance that comes from deep resentment. It heads the list of the things that grieve the Spirit of God. Bitterness will manifest itself in many ways - losing your temper, high blood pressure, irritability, sleeplessness, obsession with getting even, depression, isolation, a constant negative perspective and generally feeling unwell.

We must, therefore, begin to get rid of a bitter and unforgiving spirit; otherwise, the attempt to forgive will fail. It is true that doing the right things, even when you don't feel like it, can eventually lead to having the right feelings. I can testify to that being a very, very true is exactly what happened to me. I went through the motions and it finally changed my heart to it being what I truly felt. More about that later.

The absence of bitterness allows the Holy Spirit to be Himself in us. When the Spirit is grieved, I am left to myself, and I will struggle with emotions ranging from anger to fear. Relinquishing bitterness is an open invitation for the Holy Spirit to give you His peace, His joy and the knowledge of His will.

Because this was a long process, along with Pastor Rusty's help and this book...I want to take my time sharing the events of this wonderful process that brought about a much needed healing in my mental state, my emotions and in my spirit...that I didn't know how much I really needed it until we dug so deep into every corner of my being. My intent is to post more than one per week...if all goes as I plan but...hey...I never know from one day to the next what is going on around here in our lives. Stay tuned...I won't be sorry. Please sign up for updates by right you don't miss an entry. Have a blessed week.

Next Entry: Total Forgiveness: Part II

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I'm sorry that I haven't posted another entry lately but we are on vacation...1st at my mother-in-laws for a couple of days and then in the Smoky Mountains. It has been a much needed break for my family, however, my husband has still been on the cell phone with his job multiple times a days since leaving home last Thursday. I will be so happy if and when he ever has a job that he can really take a vacation from work! Sound bitter? Well, yes...I am...same song and same dance for the past 17 years and 5 different companies. It is very frustrating for me as a mother, wife and trip planner for him to have to work while he is "on vacation" especially when he has to take his vacation days from work but yet work takes his time away from his family. "It's his job????" Whatever!

Ok...enough complaining...but my laptop does not work in our room and I'm not going to be guilty of spending our vacation time down in the lobby/computer cafe' posting my blog or checking my email. I did manage to sneak this one in while my son walked the dog and my husband got a shower. Gotta get back upstairs before I am missed!!!!

I promised to have another entry posted by this weekend...stay tuned! HAVE A WONDERFUL REST OF THE WEEK AND A SUPER WEEKEND! I will have a slideshow of our trip on my blog soon too:)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Personal Thank You and Update on Brandon

I have had so many people asking me about Brandon, I wanted to post an update on him.

I am so happy to say...Praise The Lord...that he is back living in Jonesboro now and only an hour from his loving momma!!!

As for the injuries sustained in the wreck on March 14th...he has mended at an amazing rate and I give God all the glory. I can't thank you all enough for the many, many prayers that carried my son to the very throne room of God. God is faithful and He is true.

The only problem that he is having is his ankle is still bothering him. He wasn't supposed to bare any weight on it for 2-3 months but my stubborn son...has been putting some weight on it. It is still painful and swells. His abdominal incision has completely healed...that amazes me the most how something so large has healed on its own, completely back together.

As many of you know, Brandon had emergency surgery this past Tuesday on a completely unrelated issue and is at home recovering. His surgery was a complete success and we were very pleased with the hospital in Jonesboro that took care of him. It was as different as night and day from Grady Memorial in Atlanta and NEA Baptist in Jonesboro...give me smaller hospital any day over a big city one.

Thank you all again for your many, many faithful prayers. Keep them coming for Brandon to hear the "Voice of Truth" and heed the calling that God is making to him.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Personal Attacks Against Your Family

Before I get into the healing that came from a total of 3 years counseling with Pastor Rusty...things had to get worse before they could get better. The attacks of the enemy didn't stop because he saw that I was trying to get the help that I needed but he wanted to kick me while I was down.

I had my days when I cried out to God..."are you there? do you care that we are going through yet another attack? why is this happening? what are we doing wrong? why are you not stopping this mess?" I have been so sick of battle after battle...I just want to catch a break...I wanted to just coast for just a little bit. Is that too much to ask??? I wasn't angry with God because this was all happening but bewildered because He was intervening and stopping it. I was a Child of the King...I was royalty...couldn't I get just a little special treatment?

There was a situation with a neighbor that we became good friends with, we had dinner at their house, they at ours, kids played together daily, I went to the doctor with her, held her hand and talked about going on a vacation together. We had sold them a house 3 years prior to this. Then out of the clear blue...she quit speaking to us...we asked what was reply. Her husband wasn't allowed to talk to us either. We thought it was because we had our house up for sale and were moving again. We had sold them our first home together, built a house that ended up being too big for us...too much time maintaining it and the yard...we never had time to do anything as a family anymore...we were either cleaning the house, working in the yard or working to pay for got to where it wasn't any fun anymore...all our blood, sweat and tear...we had subcontracted and build it wasn't worth it anymore. We sold it and bought the house that was next door to our first home because it was going through foreclosure and a great deal. However, after about 1 1/2 was way too small. So...we put it up for sale and were moving back to the subdivision that we originally built a house that was in between the size of the two houses. They had their's up for sale and it didn't sell plus there were some family issues going on and they really wanted to move. It just wasn't happening. We thought they were angry with us because our house was selling again and we were moving. We always had great luck selling our houses...the 1st one...sold and it wasn't on the market yet, the big house sold within two weeks on the market and this house sold within 2 months on the market.

We heard rumors as to what the problem was but nothing concrete. We moved January 3rd, 2003 and didn't have any further contact with our former neighbors/friends. On July 4th, 2003 at straight noon...we had a knock on our door just as we were headed out to a friends get together to celebrate the 4th of July. We were served with a lawsuit! Happy 4th of July!!!!

Needless to say, I was sick to my stomach and the battle was just beginning. They (former neighbor/friends) were suing us for the house that we sold them in May 1999...4 years before. They were grasping for straws...looking for a quick fix to their's not selling and revenge for what....we still don't know. Their statement was that when they got through with us and two realtors...they would have the biggest house in C********* County.

Anyway, now add fear and anxiety to the anger and depression. I was a big mess now. My mind was running in all kinds of directions...what if this, what if that. They were suing the realtor who represented us and the realtor that represented them plus us. Lies, lies and more lies.

They sad thing about our wonderful country....anyone can sue anyone for anything and YOU have to pay to defend yourselves. Unlike, Canada...if you file a frivolous lawsuit and have to pay the other parties attorney's fees and court cost....NOT IN THE GOOD OLE USA! If we had a law like that...there wouldn't be all the lawsuits that plague our country nor would we have to watch all the attorney commercials on television.

This lawsuit lasted from start to finish....4 different court dates, lots of documentation, many, many hours of research (me and one of the other realtors...did most of our attorney's work for them) and 3 years...the price tag for something like this...$12,000.+. I worked at my job for 3 years to pay for our attorney. If you don't think that will add to your anger....think again. For what???? Nothing! I will talk more about the events of this 3 years in a later entry.

I was boiling on the inside one minute, full of rage then I would be in knots with fear and anxiety. I couldn't help but think what would happen if they would be manage financially, how could we look people in the face in our small town and where is the justice in our system because we knew that we hadn't done anything wrong but innocent people are found guilty everyday.

Next Entry: The Total Forgiveness

Sunday, June 1, 2008

How Can You Be So Angry and Depressed In A Good Marriage?

As time went seemed like we had gotten "used to living in chaos" all the time...fighting very often with a teenager, being a referee between my husband and my son, raising an toddler to the typical everyday stress in life. Well, "gotten used to it" would be a was just part of our everyday life...whether we like it or not. I thought, I was handling it as best as I could but undoubtedly...I wasn't.

I became a very angry person who would explode with the smallest of irritations. I began to scream and yell on a regular basis. The anger and rage was burning within me with such intensity that at times...I was out of control. I begged God from time to time to make it all stop. I didn't care how He stopped it...just stop it. There were times when I would be in a situation that was pushing me over the edge...I would get in my car and leave to escape the situation that I thought was making me so angry. I would beg God to let me have a wreck and die to end the pain. I would also be lying by omission if I didn't say that taking my own life was a thought on two major occasions in my life. Was that thought from God? Absolutely, Not!!! John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. The enemy knew that I had too much to live for, had too much to offer in ministry to others and he wanted to put a stop to me...he wanted to destroy me, my family and my marriage. Thank you , saw it fit not to answer my I have a lot to live for and you didn't allow the enemy to have free rein in my life to do as he wanted to . Those were very, very dark times in my life...full of anger, pain, depression and wanting to escape the misery that I felt. Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

I sought help from a therapist, a psychologist and a psychiatrist...the problem with this was they wanted to treat my anger either through anger management or one wanted to dig deep down to find out where the anger was coming from. I wanted desperately to know what the source(s) of my anger was. Even, if I could control my anger...the source was still there. Even, if I took medications to help with the symptoms...the source was still there...waiting for another opportunity to rear it's ugly head in my life. I didn't want to mask the true issues but if I was already in pain because of it, then, I wanted to go through the painful process of finding out where it was coming from, get the help that I would need to deal with it and put it behind me.
Ephesians 4:26 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry--but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry.

When the anger came, depression wasn't far behind and it would last from a few days to several weeks at a time. I took medication from time to time but I kept thinking that I could handle my anger and depression on my I would quit taking it. I would coast along for awhile until I was at my breaking point again.

I am a Christian and I believed that God could heal why did I need to take medication to control this. I battled with feeling like a failure, someone who lacked the faith to be delivered from this or feeling like I had sin in my life from either present or unconfessed sin from my past. I kept believing the lie of the enemy when he would tell me this was the reason that God wasn't delivering me. I never viewed depression as a medical condition and for that reason, I also struggled with taking medication for something that I had been told for many years...."just get over it", "suck it up and deal with it" and "you are no different than any other woman who has children, house to keep and job". I battled with the anger and depression for many, many years.

My family suffered the most because at home...I was just me. They saw the good, the bad and the absolute UGLY! But, they loved me regardless of the ups and downs. The hardest thing of battling with anger and depression is that you try to hide it from the entire outside world. You hide it from your friends, your co-workers, your family and your church family. It got to be so hard to put on a front every time you went out in public...especially to church. You had to smile, talk to people, laugh, socialize and act like your and your family were the happiest that you could possibly be. After years of this was wearing me down and it began to seep out for a few others to see. I was determined that I would not let that happen. This became a source of fear and anxiety for me...when would I become overwhelmed again by this "darkness" that weighs you down. Fear, anxiety, anger and depression are feed off of each other...but this is not of God.
II Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (Amp.)

When this started happening...I began to stay at home all the time. I quit going to church functions, quit intermingling with others, stayed to myself at work which started the silent suffering that I would do in my own little world. I couldn't afford for people to see what I was battling...they would judge me, they would be able to understand my pain, they would not want anything to do with me and they would think that I deserved this...for some reason. The more that I hid, the more depression settled deep inside and the more the anger burned.

After years and years of suffering...I finally found the one people who could help get me out of this part of my life, see that I was loved by God, I was beautiful in His eyes, I deserved to be happy and accept that if I needed was was not from a lack of faith in my loving God. I knew in my heart that God wasn't trying to punish me, torture me and my family and this defeat way that I felt was straight out of the pit of Hell....not from my loving Heavenly Father. God used our wonderful pastor who is full of love, compassion, understanding, full of wisdom and has a big heart for hurting people...he also has a calling on his life to counseling these hurting people. Pastor Rusty met with me, listened to me, prayed with me and for me daily, checked on me, fed me the Word, was patient with me, understood my pain, depression and anger. He never one time told me that I was a bad person, that I deserved what I was getting or that he was disappointed in me. But, instead...he would tell me that I needed to see myself as God saw me, that I was a good person with a big heart, that I had a lot to give to my family, my children and my church, I was valuable, I was a true friend of his and his wife, and as time went much he and his wife had seen me grow spiritually, become more open again, how proud they were of me and how much they loved me. Pastor Rusty takes every Wednesday 9-10 months a year and counsels with anyone who needs counseling...whether they go to our church or not...he doesn't charge for this. He worked with me for 3 years. By this time, we had worked through every situation that had been in my past and was in my present...then when he knew it was time...he pushed me out of the nest. I have been flying sole (with God though) for 2 years now. God knew exactly what I would need in a counselor, in the perfect time of my life and he became one of our dearest friends...who loved me, even after he saw and hear...the good, the bad and all my ugliness. I owe my Heavenly Father so much for never leaving me nor forsaking me but I owe Pastor Rusty more that words can ever say. You're the greatest, Pastor Rusty!


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