I laid my burden down

I didn’t know what to do with the mess of attempted reconciliation going horribly awry.

This time, I had cared too much about the relationship to indulge in my usual self-protection. I will run into the roar, I had thought, instead of hiding under my bush and withering away. I might get mauled, but then it will all be well.

I ran, and was torn apart.

For months I struggled to forgive. I felt that I was not being accused of what I had done as much as for who I was. I have done plenty that was wrong, but how does a person who deeply loves Jesus, who is designed by God, repent of who they are?

How does a person forgive? I desperately wanted to. I prayed. But I couldn’t see a measurable difference.

Unable to shake the depression that long dogged me, I found a safe woman to talk to. As soon as I started talking, the pent-up grief welled up, and dripped onto my lap. I am trying my best to follow Jesus, to listen to the Holy Spirit. They don’t believe that I hear from God, and yet, I love them and see them as good people. I’m trying to restore the bond that we once had, but my efforts don’t work. It’s so confusing to me.

Through my gut-wrenching cry, I heard the woman’s gentle voice. “Have you, deep in your heart, forgiven your friends?”

The answer in my heart-of-hearts surprised me. Yes. 

“You don’t have to trust them exactly the same way you did before,” she said, “to have truly forgiven them.”

And there was the splinter that was making my whole body hurt…if I could completely forgive, the relationship would be restored to what it once was.

I finally saw that forgiveness wasn’t going to fix everything, as I thought it should, and that I would have to accept the new reality without descending into self-condemnation. I saw that I was depending on myself to do things right, instead of depending on the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

The relationship I had is lost, I realized, as sadness overwhelmed me. Death of something precious is always hard. And yet, in the grief, I felt a clean wind of hope.

Hope in letting-go and accepting what is now. Hope in believing that someday I might be able to grow a new friendship that is different and stronger than what I clung to before. Hope in allowing the Holy Spirit to do the grunt work. Hope in knowing that regardless how the story turned out, Jesus would be with me, and He is a redeemer.

I felt the light of His love, and it was warmer and kinder than I had remembered.

I laid my burden down, and knew that it was well with my soul.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11: 28-29 (ESV)


What burden is weighing on your heart? What does forgiveness look like to you?

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12 thoughts on “I laid my burden down

  1. Loren Miller

    Great read from your heart to mine and the reality of being alive. Same; same! AW Tozer has these amazing words,” It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” I take courage from the reality and they meaning of that quote.

    Blessings galore, UncleLoren

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lafaye

    I am new to your blog….through Dorcas smucker. Anyway, thank you so much for this post! It spoke deeply to me! I’ve been struggling with a relationship and this was the missing piece of the puzzle….to let go and grieve the loss of what once was. I wanted it restored but since that isn’t happening, maybe it’s time to move on. So glad to know that there are others with the same troubles. God bless your journey to wholeness in Him!

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  3. Marie

    Thank you for this,it’s so refreshing to me!For months, I’ve been struggling with how can I know if I’ve truly forgiven someone (and I’d gladly welcome further comments on this).I think I have and the next day I doubt it but after reading this,I’m starting to think perhaps it is the loss of friendship I’m grieving and the fact that trust cannot be renewed to what it once was.I never thought of it this way before, thank you for sharing so that I,too,can lay my burden down at the feet of Jesus.

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    1. Yes, this was the thought that was so healing to me: what feels like unforgiveness might actually be grief. God knows how we long to forgive, and I believe He fills in the gaps for us. Blessings, friend.

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  4. Lovina Baer

    Thank you! It has been important to me to realize that the work of reconciliation is first, the work of the Holy Spirit, both in my heart, and in others. If it is His will to bring the relationship to what it once was, then it must be in His way and time. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gloria

    This is so well said Rosina! I went through something similar. I finally realized that I had to let go of my expectations and grieve what I had longed for… To be understood…
    I would wake up in the middle of the night crying… It hurt so deeply! But as I journeyed on with my Heavenly Father I saw that He wanted to strip me of all the people I relied on for identity and find my identity in Him. I feel free to enjoy friendships in a new way now and it’s sweet. At the same time I fear getting close to others again… I’m still on the journey…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. RAK

    Maybe you should write a series on forgiveness. 🙂 “What feels like unforgiveness might actually be grief”…(I’m quoting you from a comment). This is so good! I will ponder this one.
    I had an interesting scenario recently with a student. She is super sensitive and felt bad about a very minor detail that took place at school. And she wanted to write me a letter about it and apologize. She thought she’d feel better if she did that. So her dad called me and told me what was up…and that he was concerned about her. I tried to reassure him that I understand (I was that super sensitive child once too and I know what it’s like.) Yes, he thought if I can be reassuring to her, etc. That would be wonderful!! I think maybe I was unprepared for what happened in my own heart. Suddenly I had a vivid memory of something that happened to me when I was about her age….during one of my super sensitive moments and just needed some reassurance. Only my story is different from hers….in that one of my authority figures got pretty frustrated and said some hurtful things (which I cant imagine saying to a young sensitive child!!!) Strange…how something that took place over two decades ago can come back so clearly with words and tones in place. Still not sure how I should move forward…do I need to offer forgiveness again or am I grieving what happened?? Hmm….I think I’ve “owned” my story and yet when I have vivid memories, maybe I need to give myself space to grieve….

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    1. My gut sense is that what you felt in that moment was a trauma response rather than unforgiveness, especially if you have worked through forgiving that person in the past. In those painful moments, I try to bring my feelings to Jesus and ask Him, “Jesus, what do you want to say to me about this?” Some things in my life I’ve had to give to Jesus repeatedly, but over time they lose their power.

      Your ability to respond differently to your student is a beautiful example of the redemptive power of God to use the painful places in our lives to mold us into compassionate, caring people.

      I’m still learning about forgiveness, so I don’t feel like I have a lot of answers to offer. 🙂

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