Darla Sands, who writes the most delightful stories, nominated me to participate in the Five Photos, Five Stores Challenge. I’ve been mapping out the life changing lessons I learned that must be included in the middle chapters of “Loved As If.” This challenge is an excellent way to sketch out five of them.
I’ve learned that forgiveness is marking the debt paid. Those who have hurt me (and there have been some inexpressibly deep wounds) stole some extremely precious things from me. Eventually, I had to accept they could never return what they had stolen and I must either go on demanding payment or write it off and trust that God would either restore what was lost or make it possible for me to live with the holes in my life. When I realized I was demanding payment from people who annoyed me but never really hurt me, I knew I must do something about the rage in my heart. The only sane thing to do was mark the debts paid. And when I couldn’t, I asked God to work forgiveness within me. He does.
Turns out I can live with certain holes in my life. Also turns out there are fewer holes than I feared. God holds much that I thought was lost forever, like family, like my innocence. Nothing is returned in the same way but all is restored. The greatest gift of forgiveness is learning how great God is, so much greater than murderers and rapists and child abusers. Through forgiveness, the monsters from my past are ephemeral shadows blown away by a gentle puff of air.
Here are the challenge rules:
1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Write a post that relates to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a short paragraph, or some other type of composition.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation.
And here are my two nominees:
Carrie McCoy, whose blog, Living With Unspeakable Joy, is filled with encouragement, faith, and hope.