A weekend on forgiveness

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Over the weekend we went to Salinas for the Woman's Retreat. While I went to the retreat, Thomas did more manly things. It's been great going to Salinas any time we have a spare couple days. I had missed that. Being in Texas didn't lend itself to random coastal trips. My sisters, mama and I all went to the retreat and it was so great being with just the girls. We rarely do that without the men around and I loved it. I loved eating and laughing with them, sharing silly secrets and more intimate ones, getting Starbs and staying up later than we should. And while it was good to spend quality time with them, it was even better reflecting and praying. Spending a little more time thinking about the things I thought I'd let go, the things that pain me, our sinful nature, and our loving Savior. I came home distracted from my usual thoughts and couldn't stop thinking about forgiveness. I thought about parents, both mine and his, friends, Husband, myself. Have I let myself truly forgive the people I thought I had or just let myself go numb? Something I really had to ponder this weekend. Have I let myself move on because I've forgiven them, or because I'm trying to avoid pain? All too often I push away pain in my past. I hate revisiting it. It can feel like such an open wound all over again. But this weekend I was reminded that I must look into the past in order to be beautiful. I wasn't born beautiful. I must look back in order for God to change me into something glorious.
I thought about Thomas, his parents and how hurt he his. I pray he can get to a place where he can truly forgive them. A heart that is fixed on forgiveness rather than pain, one that is living in a state of grace.
I thought about myself and the excuses I make. I don't want to blame my past for my present. My past does not define my future, nor does it excuse it. I am only responsible to myself and to God. No one else. And vise versa. No one is accountable to me. I am not their judge. A quote that won't escape me is, "Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future." What hope!

"Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean. The dream explains why we need to be forgiven, and why we must forgive. In the presence of God, nothing between God and us--we are forgiven. But we cannot feel God's presence if anything is allowed to stand between ourselves and others." 
Dag Hammarskjold

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