Today is what I call Discovery Day, June 2, 2018. It’s the day I learned my baby’s name. Our Reunion Day is on the 5th-the day of our first communication.
I was going to “celebrate “ by visiting her but instead I went last week. I didn’t want to wait another week. It’s just a day on the calendar and we can celebrate it anytime!
I can look back and see the healing that has taken place and I’m so thankful to the Lord for His provisions. There are still some memories that cause me to feel loss and grief, but God is using it to soften my heart.
I am learning that grief is a useful thing. It helps me recognize those things in life that are truly valuable. It helps me understand and have empathy for those who are hurting. It even gives me compassion for those who live in my memories that caused hurt and feelings of shame and rejection. I have found that when I am in the dark places of grief that it’s God who lights my way through His word, brings healing to my heart and gives me comfort through His Spirit.
“For You are my lamp, O Lord; And the Lord illumines my darkness.”2 Samuel 22:29
When I see the loss for what it is, 40 years of missing my daughter’s life, it can become overwhelming, especially now that I know her. Before reunion it was easier to keep that knowledge of loss hidden deep inside where even I could not see it. Now this grief has finally been allowed to make itself known, maybe not so visible that everyone can see it all the time, but I have come to know it well.
I would have thought there would have not been purpose in this kind of grief. My daughter is not only known now but also part of my life. I should be happy and thankful for this, and I am. This grief walks along side the joy of knowing her. The more I know the more I miss. The more I love the more I hurt. But it is useful and God is using it for good. His glory is shown in this reunion. I can see His desire for restoration. Not just in my life and hers but also my past with the present and the future. He is restoring this past that was secret and buried and not dealt with. He is showing me His grace and mercy again. I can see that He wants me to look at my past-the brokenness, the hurts, the shame, the unfairnesses, the loss, and my sin-and bring it to Him. He shines a light in those places that have been so dark and I see it all more clearly, differently than I saw it in the hiding places in my memories.
God is showing me that forgiveness takes more work than just choosing to forgive. I can choose to eat healthy, but I have many steps before this happens. There is a work to be done, a process to follow. I’ll have to plan, grocery shop and actually make the healthy dinner before I can eat it. I can’t resist the unhealthy option when I have not done the work it takes to eat healthy. It seems anything of worth involves work. Many times I thought I had forgiven those in my past, including my younger self, then a memory comes and I can see some bitterness forming, hear some resentment in the tone of my voice. I thought I already forgave! I did, and I didn’t. I made the choice and I said the words in my head, even in confession to the Father. The choice was made and then it was all put in a box and buried-to forgive and forget.
The problem with just trying to forget about what I forgave is once it was remembered again the forgiveness didn’t look as sure. I never did the work, so the unhealthy options were becoming hard to refuse…replaying, spiraling in my emotions, letting resentment find a place in my heart.
Forgiveness is more than a choice. Forgiveness is a work.
Through grief, God is bringing comfort. I find Him trustworthy to care for me. He does not tell me I should not grieve. He says He cares for the broken-hearted. He does not tell me I should feel guilt. He says He paid the price for my freedom and gives me victory. He doesn’t tell me I should be ashamed. He says I am His child and my identity is in Christ my Savior and Lord. My sin is as far as the east is from the west. He can forget because He does not need to remember. The blood of the perfect and holy Lamb-His one and only Son- is what He sees. The work of forgiveness was done by Jesus on the cross. And when He had finished the work He rose again to life and ascended to Heaven where He sits on His throne. He is sitting because the work of forgiveness and salvation has been completed. My sin is not buried but made white as snow.
Because He has forgiven me, I must also forgive by doing the work-but I cannot do this work myself. It is the Holy Spirit working in me and through me. He is softening and changing my heart. He is opening my eyes to His truth. I can choose to ignore what He is showing me and deny it’s existence by continuing to hide the past. I could ignore the consequences my sin has caused others to suffer through. I can choose to do the work, lining up feelings with Scripture, listening, learning, admitting my wrong doings and weaknesses.
Hopefully, I will keep allowing Him to show me where I need to forgive, where I need to ask for forgiveness, and show compassion to those who are hurting. I can let grief be the tool God uses to teach me of His lovingkindness.
kjp May 2021