That's the name of the book recommended to me by Pastor Gillian of First Presbyterian Church in Racine (she is an awesome preacher and pastor). The book is a compilation of thoughts and writings on prayer by the well-known Henri Nouwen, although I had never heard of him. He is real - that's a high praise compliment, because he's truthful about his spirituality, doubts, struggles, and triumphs, but full of wisdom too.
The reason I mention all of this because he writes a chapter on forgiveness that really hits home. The chapter speaks on forgiveness of myself, but also of others, and how powerful it can be. He talks about forgiving by praying and getting in touch with God - the same God for me and you, but also for the other person I need to forgive. He mentions that it may be the hardest thing in the world to do, to really pray for someone else, even if they hurt me or see things in a different way. God loves that person too, even if it's hard to understand with the pain or trouble they may have caused. Praying for the good of that person is hard, yet isn't that love? He is honest about that, and how hard it can be, but how freeing it can be too. I need to do it, and let God work out life's details as I let go. This is a very intimate thing to share, but some boundaries are worth breaking, to share real love.
While I prayed about that, I also realized not only do I need to forgive, but also have an attitude of thankfulness for people who may have hurt me, because in the long run, through it all, comes healing and growth. The outcome of love is not always known, but we need to love anyway. It's a process, and we could all use prayers.
Deep stuff, I know! But real joy is coming out of all of this, I can tell you that. It's joy that doesn't come from getting what I want, but the peace of God, with much gratitude.
You may think that because of the some of the songs include that I have become a Jesus freak. In all honesty, I wouldn't say that. I believe in God and that He is pulling me out of the hell and deep sadness I was in. I still struggle with the exact meaning of and faith in Jesus, but still listen to His message and life. I have doubts, but I also have faith. There have been many talks and prayers with pastors, friends and family as my faith continues to grow. I guess you could say I'm open to Jesus. Is that faith?
Below are two songs by Helen Baylor, sandwiched around her testimony, which brings tears to my eyes everytime hear it. Give them a listen.
Blessings and joy to everyone. XO