I can forgive but this the pain I can't forget Flashbacks pay visits reminders of the night you left I can forgive but this hurt still trickles from deep slips out of me When I least expect it, it seeps I can forgive but the tears, down my cheek they crawl dribbling rain thoughts and memories of it all I can forgive but, I'm not sure I want to talk This heart so crushed I'm still learning how to walk I can forgive but the relationship seems dead Sought for too long Not caring, too much left unsaid I can forgive but I'm ready to move ahead I need freedom It's been too long that this heart's bled I can forgive but, not sure what the future holds I just want peace Sick of digging up all the old I will forgive but these scars I won't forget I'll move forward making sure this I won't regret I will forgive because that's what God said to do I will forgive so I will be forgiven too Copyright © 2021 Aimee Phillippi
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -2 Corinthians 3:17
Held prisoner to memories, the torment of trauma had been weighing me down for far too long. The abandonment by my father and a nasty divorce from long ago had been surfacing a lot lately, after being triggered right before Christmas. Both last night and tonight, I was right smack dab in the middle of the trauma all over again and this boulder of pain felt like it was crushing my soul. After being stuck in this hopeless cycle of bondage, God moved a mountain.
He has recently been speaking to me about letting my father go, but the truth is, I hadn’t known how to completely do this. While I have done a ton of work on my dad and there have been layers of healing and forgiveness throughout the years, I was still experiencing the effects of this old trauma, and was struggling to fully forgive him. Each time I thought I had left the past behind, another trigger would smack me in the face and the wounds would spew, taking a week or more to move on with my life.
Yesterday, after communicating with my dad and having more hurt dug up, I was hanging by a thread. The trauma and pain were fresh again. Beyond weary, I had run out of steam to keep running the race and I didn’t know if my body could carry on. Looking at all that was on my plate for the evening, I thought I’d crumble, but I made a choice. I could have used a number of distractions to try to cover up the pain, but I reached for my Heavenly Father. Opening up His Word, I asked Him to speak to me and He spoke-Sing to the Lord. Not exactly what I expected hear, but it’s what He’s been telling me this past week-worship me in the wilderness. So, I did just that. I drew myself a bath, cranked my Worship Him in the Wilderness playlist found here and belted out songs, praising Him. That simple obedient act turned my night around. I was in a very dark place that could have spiraled down quickly, but He filled me up and lit me up. Shining hope, He brought light to my darkness. He showed me that He had this-that He had me. My Heavenly Father let me know that I could let go and trust Him with this suitcase of pain I had been lugging around for thirty-two years.
Then, tonight, the thoughts of my father returned and my heart throbbed again. The hopelessness was starting to settle in. Heading down that dark path of depression, the old wounds began crippling me. Knowing my warning signs, I had to act quick. I’ll admit, for years, distraction from the pain was my go-to-whether it be with food, my phone, sleep, work or binge watching shows. Thumbing through Hulu, I knew was the wrong choice, there was no relief there, so again, I drew myself a bath, turned on worship music and abided in Him. Tears streaming down my face, I sang and poured out my heart to Jesus. A few minutes later, I got on my knees and asked Him to break these chains as I handed Him my father and the situation. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I heard Him say “get up and walk”. Thinking, I’m in a bathtub, what does this mean? Did a miracle just happen? Yes, it sure did. That soul-crushing pain that had been bearing down heavily on my chest was suddenly lifted and I felt freedom.
This evening, He filled me with joy and broke chains that only He could break. I was depressed and had zero motivation to write before this happened, now here I am at my computer, telling my story. I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness in the last two days. What He’s taught me is that forgiveness is making a choice to release my father, then trusting Him to take care of what I can’t. It’s depending on God to carry the pain, resentment, and offenses, so I don’t have to carry it anymore. Forgiveness is choosing to trust that He will take care of the offender in His way, on His time, however He chooses. Do you trust me enough to set you free? This is what I heard Him asking me. Tonight, I made a choice to release my father to Him and I’m choosing trust.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -John 8:36
**an update after writing this post, He spoke again and confirmed the broken chains. While reading another’s blog, this verse spoke right to my heart:
“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” -Psalm 116:7
The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. -Psalm 116:6
The memories I have as a child feeling safe are a bit foggy, but they are definitely there. I can see them if I sift through the clouds. Those are the ones that shine bright in my mind, when I let them peek through the fog. I don’t allow myself to go there often though, because that time has long passed. Having blocked out a lot after the age of thirteen, part of me doesn’t like looking back-back before that time, when my life felt absolutely perfect. Yet, when I consciously dig, I can see that young, curly-haired, barefoot girl running wild and free in our neatly landscaped yard, without a care in the world. I miss those times. I sure do. Those were the times when I felt safe and secure. Life was easy back then-simple, or so I thought.
It was an illusion though, growing up living the American dream. I found out all too suddenly that safety didn’t lie in your mom, dad, brother, or dog living together in a beautiful house in the country with neighbor kids to play with nearby. Safety didn’t lie in family camping trips, going to Disneyland together, or a new 5-speed bike for my birthday. It didn’t lie in having best friend sleepovers all the time or my dad building us an amazing fort in our backyard. Safety didn’t lie in playing weekly soccer games or going water skiing together on the river. No, see, these are wordly things and those of us who believe in Jesus are not of this world. Those things and people aren’t our safety net.
When I lost my family, I lost my sense of safety and security. It all came tumbling down like a tower built on the sand. Baptized Catholic and forced to attend church service each Sunday when I was younger, the focus back then, was the religious rituals. Despite the religion, my life was still built on worldly things. I didn’t really understand having a relationship with God at that point in my life, and although my parents tried, I don’t think they really did either. So, these worldly things that my life was built on, came crashing down hard. Like everything on earth that perishes, that life was temporary.
The family I once knew and felt secure in, eventually died. My family unit was ripped apart in an instant like a vicious wolf tearing apart its prey. Each day suddenly became confusing and scary and painful-oh so painful-too painful, in fact, for my thirteen year-old self to take. I tried to carry it, but my body gave out. This was the beginning of what my life would eventually become. The start of something new-not easy, but new-a 180 degree turn in my life. Not only did I learn to walk in fear, it was the start of a life searching for answers in all the wrong places-addictions, people, answers to my illnesses, and answers about God.
After years of picking up the pieces, and trying to figure life out, brick by brick God began helping me build my life on Him. This life He is helping me build is one based on faith, not fear. He, I’m learning, is the only One I can put my entire trust in. And the only way to remain truly safe, is to remain a child of God, with childlike faith.
So let us reach for and trust our Heavenly Father with childlike faith, knowing that He will carry us, especially in our most trying times, because He sure will. He is love, and where there is love, there is no place for fear. The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, is walking with us every step of every moment. And He is the only One we can truly count on in this life. Our Heavenly Father will never fail us.
and said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. -Matthew 18:3-4 (AMP)
And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ -Psalm 89:26
My earthly father failed me. He failed me hard and I haven’t been the same since. Walking out that door at the age of thirteen, he turned my world upside down and I have never looked at it like I once had. A life where I felt safe and secure, suddenly became painful and scary. And it wasn’t like he just disappeared completely. He was still “around” after the divorce, but he chose not to parent me. The man I was supposed to be able to depend on, left me high and dry numerous times. He wasn’t trustworthy. The amount of pain, rage, and sadness I felt from him leaving, haunted me for years. One day though, something changed.
I remember hearing God firmly declare “I am your Father”. It was at that point that I realized I needed to stop looking back and instead look up to the One who has always been there. He is our rock and He will never forsake us. Our Heavenly father will strengthen us and help us. He will uphold us with his righteous right hand. He is not human, like our biological fathers are. And He will not harm us, like humans can.
Chasing his own selfish dreams, my dad caused me a lot of damage, including the need to have control in my life. It has taken me years to forgive my earthly father and trust my Heavenly Father. I’m still learning. I’m learning to surrender each part of my life to Him because He is ultimately in control. I’m learning to let go slowly and pry my fingers off of each thing that I hold dearly. And it’s scary to loosen my grasp. I don’t have to grip everything so tightly though. I have to consciously remind myself that I am safe and that surrendering my life to Him doesn’t mean I’m going to lose my life, rather, if I hold onto my life, I will.
I am not the teenager I was the night he left us and my Heavenly Father is not my earthly one. I have to remember that He wants what’s best for me. Actually believing this is one of the things I struggle with the most. But, He is love, even when He allows hardship and trials in our lives. In fact, by allowing trials in our lives, He is being a loving Heavenly Father, whether we see it at the moment or not. He is making us more like Him and this is a most loving act. Using trials to prune and shape us into who He wants us to be, He is helping us to become our best selves. He has our backs. And, He is always with us. He is for us and not against us. It is ok to let go.
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. -Matthew 10:39
God can bring peace to your past, purpose to your present and hope to your future. -John 14:27
During this crazy, isolating pandemic, I needed a way to serve and God put it on my heart to share my story. Tired of posting snippets of my life on social media, where lives are made to look picture perfect, I took a break and God spoke. So, here I am! And I’m going to be real here, y’all. I want to show the messy, the imperfect, and the struggle in the journey. My journey has never been a straight line or even just a little crooked. It’s been a full on three steps forward, two steps back–again and again, twirls and zigzags, abrupt stops and detours, a cliff drop here and there where I’m hanging by a thread, a long crawl back up, and yet another stumble. I’ve battled abandonment issues, food addiction, chronic illness, postpartum depression and more. I often wonder why I was put on this Earth to begin with, because compared to the amount of suffering I’ve endured, I’ve experienced much less joy in my life. Maybe this blog is why. Maybe it’s not. I don’t know, but I have to believe that He has a purpose for my suffering. Maybe that purpose is telling my story to let others know they are not alone or maybe it’s to bring hope to those who are currently enduring hardships and need some light shed in their lives. Right now, I’m needing some light too. I’ll be honest. Today, I don’t have a lot of hope myself, but perhaps, as I write, I’ll find some in this blog as well, because this last week-heck this last year—or three, have been really, really rough.
A couple of weeks ago, the waves of life came crashing down yet again, just when we were beginning to get settled into our cozy little cabin in Alaska. This cabin, we found out, had toxic mold, so we had to move a second time. Not only that though, less than a week moved in and we have run into problem after problem with this newest abode. I noticed I was becoming REALLY angry-like blood boiling angry, and I know there is always something more behind the anger so I started digging around and realized that I’m struggling with acceptance. I have been in a full blown boxing match fighting with reality because I don’t like the temporary living situation we are currently in and since I haven’t been able to accept it, it’s causing me more suffering and more frustration. I don’t know why our lives have been full of trials-so many, many trials. But as I write this, I can see how exhausting and futile it has been to fight against the things I cannot change, so I must accept our current circumstances as they are for the moment. This doesn’t mean I have to like them or approve of them or that these circumstances are what I’m choosing, but they are what they are for right now. The more I resist, the more I will suffer, so I will choose the less painful road this time. I will be thankful for the things I do have and look for the lesson, while continuing to hope in the One who has carried me this far.
Tonight, as I wrestled with anger and acceptance, I remembered a passage from the A.A. Big Book that had helped me in the past. I pray that this will help you too:
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation-some fact of my life-unacceptable to me. I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake…unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.” Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book), 4th Edition P. 417