Power! It feels wonderful because I was helpless for so long. I relish it and clutch it tightly to me.
After a nasty, unwanted divorce in which I had no real say, I felt my life was in shambles. I had a child to raise alone, and it seemed unfair because I had prayed so long and hard. At age thirty-two, the future yawned like a hopelessly empty chasm.
For many years, I couldn't even deal with those devastated feelings. "I'm not bitter," I replied when asked about my situation. "I forgave a long time ago."
Recently, my son wanted to know more about his father and his family. It hurt so much, but I didn't want him to feel guilty about something that was very normal. I told him about his dad and his dad's family.
However, strong emotions bubbled to the surface for me when he contacted his dad's family. A short time later, he told me how well his dad's family was doing. Most of my life since the divorce had been a struggle to cope.
The divorce was twenty-eight years ago and I was shocked that things felt as though they had happened yesterday. As my son told me about different members of his father's family, I felt a huge sense of grief. My place had been taken by a new wife. As he talked, I felt that I was losing these people all over again.
I felt I was losing my son to his dad and his new family and that hurt terribly. It wasn't fair and I fumed silently. I prayed. I ranted. I cried.
Through my son, though, I came back into contact with some of the people I'd lost so many years ago.
I know where the skeletons are from my past. For the first time since the divorce, I feel as though I have some power. Potentially, I could destroy families and cause rifts by what I know. The temptation is strong. I'm prompted to pray.
As I pray, I see that I have to make some tough choices. It is so clear --now I have the upper hand. Although tempted to lash out, I feel God's sweet presence and know I can't do it.
What others did to me is between God and their consciences. I am only responsible for my own actions. He knows it all. I gladly give it over to God and feel a tremendous sense of relief, as though I took off a heavy pack. It may be a daily task, but I want to do right. I don't want to use the knowledge I have to hurt others. I don't really want revenge because I know it will separate me from God's will for my life and nothing is worth that.
When an old hurt surfaces, I go to God and ask Him to help me deal with it His way. The emotion is real and deserves to be acknowledged. Sometimes grief doesn't come for years. However, it will not cripple my life any longer.
The best way to live is to let it go. It isn't a matter of saying the words or pretending the events really weren't as bad. I must take an honest look at the devastation, confess my own sin, acknowledge my own feelings, and then allow God to take it all and make something lovely out of the mess, as only He can do. I'm richer for it.