Forgiveness – Set Us Free like waterfalls flowing from the Father’s Heart
I grew up a kid of divorce. When I was nine my parents met with my brother and me separately and told us they were not going to be living together any more. They were speaking a foreign language; some kind of gibberish. I remember lots of words but none of them made any sense. My parents did split up. So my brother and I moved across the U. S. to California back to Oceanside and grandma’s house.
Years later I was on a spiritual retreat at a Dominican Monastery. Alone in my cell I decided to “dedicate” all the relationships of my life to the Lord. One at a time, I went through the list. Soon I came to my mom. At that point in time I was living in Southern California. I was a half-hour from my mom’s home in Orange. Yet I had not seen her in years.
I was 29 and carrying 19 years of emptiness like it was part of my body. Oblivious yet completely aware, I avoided the pain associated with seeing my mom by not seeing her. Later I learned that the “cut off” was part of my family story. It never left me, the pain. It kept taking me over with the passing days. Creeping inside and building I pushed it down deeper believing it could be buried and lost forever. This was my own personal lie and coping mechanism. I was not really dealing with it. Pushing it down was getting ride of it. The reality was as I pushed it down it spread into other parts of me.
So, the Holy Spirit literally jumped me in the Dominican Cell. About 60 days before my wife and I would most likely leave town, he required my participation. When I started to dedicate my relationship with my mom he spoke clearly. It was not a literal voice in the air but a clear sense inside me. He said, “There is no going forward without addressing this.”
The next few hours were an intense blur of tears, soul confessions, and honest encounter with Jesus’ healing power. I wrote her a letter. It started with some serious asking. Asking for forgiveness. I wrote her a letter from each of the significant perspective places of my young life. From the kid who did not understand anything about “breaking up” and “not living together anymore”, I wrote from within the confusion. From the twelve year old who loved meeting her for a day of dawn patrol surfing along California’s coast line, I wrote about the happiness of being with her. From the older high school student who missed her and started entertaining anger as uncertainty, I wrote of a mixed up empty place only she could fill. I recognized the growing anger about how life was turning out. How more and more it gave way to frustration, escape, drugs, drinking and sexual encounters. Vain attempts to silence the pain or fill the void. I wrote from the college student who felt the absence of her friendship as a soul ache. That’s when the deep pain inched its way up into my heart. There were no answers for the voice that called out to me. The inner voice demanded an answer. It appeared I had to provide it. I never understood what to say. Then from the young man of 23 who loved seeing her at my wedding. Brief but happy, old thoughts and buried memories awoke again. Nothing came out that connected us from the thousand words that brewed for years. That brief moment lead into deeper isolation and the desire to simply “cut off” the whole thing. All the hopes were boiling up into a labyrinth of no escape.
Then the Spirit grabbed me and isolated me in a cell at a Dominican Monastery for a confrontation. Captured in the day of reckoning with God. Twenty nine years, alone in the quiet place, God took hold of me and lead me to a way out. I wrote. I confessed. I recognized the seasons and all the pain. The Spirit walked me through it all. Step by step he showed me what I had held deep inside. He led me to repent. He led me to the Father’s heart. He led me to peal back the pain, to take it apart, to see it all. He walked with me through it all both then and now. I wrote the letter with many tears. It spanned years of different perspectives and reactions.
I finished sometime in the afternoon.
The Lord said, “Now send it to her”.
The monastery was in the high desert east of L.A. I took my beach guitar and headed out to celebrate. Somewhere in the evening hues of the L.A. desert, I danced and sang and wrote new songs. The freedom of forgiveness flooded me with celebration! I could taste the forgiveness and love flowing into those pain-ridden dungeons wave after wave after wave. Worship erupted from my body, soul, mind and spirit. The Spirit marked me deeply with a new worship and connection.
My mom received the letter a few days later. I was speaking out of town. She called my wife and together they cried away years of emptiness.
The Spirit wrote on me that day. He showed me the power of forgiveness. Like an earthquake in the soul, when it shakes everything cracks open and spills out. Love spills in.
Forgiveness is like a waterfall on the soul, mind, heart and spirit. Rooted in the perfect work of Jesus.
Ideas? Comments? Thoughts?
Please share what the Spirit has done in you.
Thank you for reading
Jeff Reynolds. Sr. Leader
Capstone Christian Fellowship