It is so nice to be home and having devotions with my devotional tools. It is nice to know there are tools available on my phone accessible wherever I am, but to be home in the room where God and I meet each morning is very comforting.

As I got home yesterday afternoon I finished the part of tonight’s lesson. It is entitled, Forgiveness. It is the last lesson in the book too. We were to only do a couple pages into this lesson as there are some left from last week to finish tonight as well as stepping into this one. I was overwhelmed when I began to read the beginning of this particular lesson. It said something totally unexpected. The quote read, “Often when we share our stories of abuse with others, the first thing we’re told is that we must forgive our abusers. However, although forgiveness is essential, it must come at the end of our healing rather than at the beginning.” As I read this I stopped and reread it several times. In all of my years of counseling and working with recovery I’ve never heard this message in this manner. BUT, the message makes so much sense. Over and over and over throughout the months of working through the lessons I’ve fought to remain “loving” towards my dad, my mom and my brother as I’ve relived life through the lessons. Having all of the crud of childhood brought out into the open along with my life’s struggles to keep it hidden or to live as though it hadn’t done anything harmful to me, has been quite painful. Then yesterday I read that it is after all of this I can now forgive. What’s amazing is that I want to. I don’t want any of this past back inside festering as it has all of my life! I don’t want to have any of the past remaining either as the cancer it has been in me.

As I got my own Bible out this morning I reread James 1 from it. In verse 25 it identifies the “law of liberty”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read right over this message. Today, however, it makes sense. The law is to be self-controlled as the last “fruit of the Spirit” says for us to be. I’ve always worked hard to be self-controlled and now I know as I wrote a few days ago, the self is surrendered to The Holy Spirit so His nudges are what control me and not my impulses as often fed by the character defects from my past. In forgiving the abuse of my past once I’ve faced it squarely and not re-hidden it, I have the liberty James is talking about. How I love what this class is teaching me!

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