At the end of my devotional time this morning, I was spending some time thinking about whether I would write today. And, if I did, what I would say. For some reason every passage that I had read spoke about forgiveness. Thinking maybe there was something there, I started to try to sketch something out in my head. I prayed, and while praying I tried to think of a grudge that I was holding, or someone that I needed to forgive for something.
Nothing came immediately to mind.
Then, I started to hear some of the Hillsong United song "From the Inside Out" in my head.
"And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out, Lord my soul cries out"
I looked up the lyrics on the internet to make sure that I had them right in my head and read through the whole song. I got goosebumps (like I just did again while typing this). Ok, God, I know you are trying to talk to me. What are you trying to say?
Forgiveness and "from the inside out, Lord my soul cries out" . . . .
I know that one of the biggest things that I need to figure out is how to forgive myself. There are lots of things that I have done wrong and that I regret that I need to forgive myself for. But, there is a big one that comes to the surface every now and again.
Most people who know me well know that when my wife was pregnant with our first child we suffered a miscarriage and lost the baby. I'm not going to go into all of it here and now, but it was a very, very difficult time and ultimately it was the event more than anything else that got us started coming to church.
Although I know on a lot of levels that it does not really make sense, I still blame myself for that miscarriage. I don't think I was really ready to be a Dad. It was not until that baby died that I understood how important it was to me, how much I loved that child and that my heart and my soul were ready. Ever since then, from time to time, this guilt comes to the surface. If I had been better. If I had been a Christian. If I was better prepared. If I had thanked God for the miracle of that life. If I loved that child enough. If any or all of those things and a lot more, then maybe it wouldn't have happened.
While I don't know for sure, I think God was trying to tell me this morning that I need to find a way to forgive me. That I need to let my soul cry out from the inside out. I've struggled with this for more than 10 years now. I'm sure that I am not going to succeed this morning, or even this week, but I hear You, God, telling me that I need to find a way.
The last passage that I read this morning before I started all of this was Matthew 6:9-15, and it seems like a good way to end:
This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I spent some time thinking about whether I really wanted to write this here - whether it was really something that I wanted to share like this. Ultimately I decided that I should, both for myself and for someone else. I just feel like there is probably someone else that may read this that is struggling, like I am, with the inability to forgive themselves for something. If that is you, I hope that hearing about my struggles with the issue somehow encourages you.
God Bless Everyone, and have a great weekend.