Give Your Troubles to God

This is one of those “bare my soul” articles. I don’t do this very often. But the other day I got a spiritual nudge to write about a private part of my life. I’m hoping it will help others, including you if you can relate to some of what I have experienced.

First, whenever I write about friends, associates, or family members, I do my best to respect their privacy. Even when someone has treated me poorly or been downright wrong, I “cover” for them. So I don’t use names or descriptions. I just use the term “loved one.” I’ll share more about this personal policy in a few minutes.

For now, I am going to write about a loved one in my life who hurt me deeply. It wasn’t a one-time occurrence. The harm, insults, and abuse transpired over many years. Not all interfaces with this person were bad. In fact, most of them were okay and some very good. Maybe you can relate to up-and-down relationships. You endure the rollercoaster ride because there are enough pleasant times. The painful experiences are brushed aside and you go on. That was how this relationship was for me.

After many years on the rollercoaster, the ride finally went out of commission. The “operator,” or in this case my loved one, decided to search out a different ride. The ongoing relationship ended and I entered a different season of my life.

 

But here’s the thing . . . the painful memories remained. I still heard the put-downs and the verbal abuse in the recesses of my mind. And the messages would often come at the oddest times. Like whenever I stoked the fire in my cottage’s little wood stove, the unkind words from this person rang in my ears. I felt the pain again. Over and over. It was like the simple movement of stoking the fire triggered the tape player in my head.

Even though the relationship was over, I remained in the shadow of its influence on my life. The pain morphed into bitterness and resentment. And while the loved one was gone and probably doing fine and enjoying another “ride” in the amusement park of life, I was still slogging around in the muck that I had not been able to escape.

By that time I had been a Christian long enough to know that I was commanded to forgive. I tried. I really did. Over and over again in prayer and in conversations with God I would try to forgive and let go. But then I still stoked the fire – and the painful put-downs would echo in my mind. Or I would be doing something totally unrelated and a memory would fly into my consciousness and sadness and hurt would ensue.

Finally, after several years, I got to the point that I didn’t want to carry the weight of the memories, or the burden of the bitterness and the resentment, any longer. I wanted to be free from the pain. I wanted a breakthrough. And I knew that total forgiveness was the avenue to the desired end.

But I was challenged? I knew I needed and wanted to forgive. But obviously I didn’t know how! After all, in my numerous previous attempts, I still had not been successful. I remained stuck in the muck. I still had not been able to move on. And I still had the bondages on my soul.

Maybe you can relate. You want to “shake it off” and move on. But it’s just not that easy. And that’s where I was.

My change point: it was the beginning of the year in 2007. I remember saying to myself, “This is your year of forgiveness.” And I then started a quest. I read books on forgiveness. I read magazine articles and blog posts. I listened to video teachings and podcasts. They all helped. Bit by bit I gathered fragments of information and discovered steps that would take my further in my mission. But I still didn’t know the steps. I knew I needed and wanted to forgive. I knew more than ever about forgiveness. But I still didn’t know how to go about it so I could reach total forgiveness.

I remember reading a really helpful article written by the daughter of a woman who had been tragically betrayed. The author of the article described the circumstances of the situation and that her mother had finally been able to forgive the offender and move on. But like the books, and the videos, and the podcasts, and the articles I had already read, the “how-to steps” were missing. I wanted to know how she did it! What did she do to get to that place of forgiveness, release and peace?

The question burned in my heart so profoundly that I decided to write to the author of the article. I found her email address and sent her a message asking if she could share with me the steps her mother used. I explained that I had a situation in my life that I desperately wanted to resolve through forgiveness.

Within 24 hours I received a response. She explained that she would like to tell me, but she didn’t really know the answer. She went on to explain that her mother had passed away, so she couldn’t ask her. She agreed that knowing the steps would be a valuable asset and that she would do more research and let me know her findings. I responded with a note of profuse appreciation, but I never heard from the woman again.

Finally, I took all the bits and pieces I had gathered from the research I had completed and started a process. For me it was like beginning a journey and taking one step at a time toward the destination I wanted to reach. The goal was in sight, but still off in the distance.

What I discovered along the way was that forgiveness can be a process. Sometimes, like a dog shedding its winter coat, we need to slough off layers of memories and emotions over time rather than being skinned all at once!

I also learned what forgiveness is . . . and what it is NOT! Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you approve of the actions. In fact, forgiveness doesn’t even mean you must like the person or restore a relationship with him or her. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean you will totally forget the offences, although sometimes that can happen.

Here is the truth I learned about forgiveness: Not everything is acceptable . . . but everything is forgivable.

I also found that forgiveness includes scriptural disciplines, including not talking about the offender in a derogatory way or doing anything that would bring him or her harm. That’s why I rarely write about times when I’ve been abused and also why I use the term “loved one” when I teach.

I studied the life of Joseph, who had been terribly abused by his brothers and by people he had befriended. His tenets of forgiveness serve as an excellent model for us to use when we want to totally forgive a loved one.

floating leaf 350x200One of the most powerful activities I used was a symbolic time of letting the offenses drift out of my life. The action became one of my “how-to steps” for forgiveness. Here’s what I did: I gathered about a dozen fallen leaves from my yard. On each of the leaves I wrote one offense or memory that I wanted to forgive. I then took the leaves outside and stood on the bank of a little creek on my property. One by one, I read the notation on the leaves. I said aloud (I lived in a rural location with a lot of open space), “I forgive __________________ of this offense. I am dropping it into the water and sending this pain out of my life.” Then I watched the leaf flow down the creek in the current and disappear from my sight. I followed the process over and over again until all the leaves were gone.

Taking this symbolic action helped me in the physical act of forgiveness rather than just the thought of it. It started a shift in my thinking. I also used other exercises.

Later, I entered into the most profound experience of total forgiveness during a powerful meeting time with Jesus. I can still picture our time together in my mind’s eye now, even though it was so many years ago. I set up two chairs in my front yard, one for me and one for Him. And then we started the process of forgiving and me casting my cares on Him. Truly, this was the biggest turning point and within a short time, I can honestly say I was finally able to totally forgive!

I am here today and can proclaim that I have truly experienced complete forgiveness. I’m free of the bitterness and the resentment. Only on the very rarest of occasions do I hear the old tapes in my head – and when I do, I now can shake off any sting. I remind myself, “Susan, on November 6, 2007 you totally forgave __________________.” That was my meeting with Jesus that transformed me forever. I know the date because I logged it in the margins of my Bible right above Matthew 6:12, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

So if you still have bitterness, resentment, or painful memories that you’ve not been able to shake, know there is hope for you. You can forgive. You can be free. You can get on the other side and one day experience the complete freedom that total forgiveness allows.

If you’re ready to enter into the process of total forgiveness, then you can learn more by clicking on the link below.

25 Comments

  • Angel says:

    Thank you so much dear for sharing your story with us, I have a problem with my colleague, she hate me a lot without any cause just because of being jelous of me, she doesn’t even appreciate everything good that I do. And I keep on forgiving her and moved on with my life, even if I move on she will be after me or against anything that I’m doing. I’m tired of being treated like this even if I forgive her she keeps on offending me by speaking evil against me sometimes she does all this in front of me and she took advantage because I a Christian would never do anything to her about it. Pls help me Suzanne.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Hi Angel,

      Keep in mind that her actions and thoughts are showing you much more about who she is rather than anything about who you are. Somewhere and somehow her heart has been hurt. And she expressing that pain on others.

      I encourage you to be kind to her. Pray for her. Speak only good things about her. And while it’s very tempting to try and protect yourself or turn this into a competition . . . stay out of any defensiveness and remain in love.

      You are in my prayers.

    • Carol says:

      You need to Gave it to God and let Him handle it.The scripture. Psalm 55:22. Say cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be move. That the enemy’s coming against you.If you have the power of God in you , that’s the Holy Spirit. Start declaring the atmosphere where you work and cast down those spirits that come against you. It’s not that person , but it is those ungodly things that she carrying around with her Start praying and ask the Holy Spirit What should I do and go from there.

  • Shumi says:

    Thank God for you Susan. We’re truelly blessed to have you and the wise teachings you always share with us. May I ask, what do I do when a loved one who has hurt me in the past returns back in my life after 10 years apart while all the other years without seeing the loved one I had forgiven them? During the 10 years I prayed to forgive and let go of everything, I even wrote it down on a paper while praying I burned it as a sign of releasing the loved one and letting everything go. The thing now the loved one returned back last year, after I’ve forgiven the person and released everything to rest. The loved one came back(now a Pastor) asking for a relationship again to be his wife , but now the person has disappeared again without any contact. What do I do in such a situation? May God continue to bless you with the wisdom you always share with us. I’m really learning and growing everyday.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      So sorry! I know deep pain and betrayal can take a while to work through forgiveness.

      Here is what Jesus says about such matters as you have described: “Then Peter came to Jesus and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22

      I encourage you to go through the forgiveness experience again. Also, it’s totally okay that you keep yourself guarded from this man. He has shown you that he is not trustworthy. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean a relationship is restored.

      I hope this helps.

  • Pamela Fady says:

    Dear Susan. Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to your sorrow and disappointment. Your right in giving all to Jesus. I gave him all my burdens regarding my loved one. Jesus put them on His shoulder to carry. I was spent after saying everything to Him. I rested after that in Him. That moment with Jesus healed me from all the wrongs I endured. Forgiveness for my loved one was automatic. My heart was made new in Him. My loved one has passed away recently. The Lord has given me a supernatural peace I couldn’t obtain on my own. I have 4 children to continue to raise with love and forgiveness. I’m doing my best to be protective and positive of good memories shared by us all. We can only do that with the grace of our Savior as we journey through this life together. He is always with us. He never leaves us alone. Praise His holy name forever and ever.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Thank you, Pamela. God is so good. And when we practice complete forgiveness with Him the experience truly is supernatural. His Super on our natural!

      Be blessed!

  • Tomi says:

    Do I have to let the person know I’ve forgiven them? Especially when they never acknowledged any wrongdoing or hurt on their part. I’ve forgiven this person and moved on but like you said, some days memories come back and so does the hurt.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      No. Forgiveness is first a matter between you and Jesus. You release to the Lord the hurt, the situation, the pain, the heartache.

      Sometimes forgiveness is for someone we will never see or talk to again. Sometimes the person may be in the grave. And sometimes it’s not even healthy or wise to be around the person. So forgiveness can be “one sided” and that’s okay.

      I hope this helps.

  • Eulla says:

    Thank you so much Sue for your words of encouragement. About 6 weeks ago God gave me a burden to pray for my husband’s generation. Here in Africa we still maintain extended family ties and since the death of my parents-in-law who so much wanted the strong family unit to remain in place the surviving uncles and cousins have been drifting apart and there is a lot of strife. Our lives as a greater family have lost meaning, the degeneration of relationships has been so pronounced. So me and a sister in law got to pray for the family and during the praying the issue of forgiveness kept popping up. Your story has revealed the area of forgiveness I had not tackled. When I married into the family I was a victim of ill treatment by the rest of my husband’s family. I therefore am harboring, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. Thanks once again. God is good all the time.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Christ has made your heart tender, Eulla. Praise God for the love He has for you and all your family. And for His care and grace

      Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Margrett Boreland says:

    Hi Susan : I have read your insight on forgiveness and at the same time walking in the path with our lord and savior ,he is the giver of life and he helped us to heal in every way we just have to trust him and I know he never leave us . He wanted us take our trouble to the foot of the cross and leave it there and continued to pray for the things done wrong in our live I will always trust him for he said we’ll not leave me nor will he forsake me so this tells me that you should trust him at all time in the and the bad. I thank you for words of comfort and God put me in your life for reason this just did not happen by chance the day I was writing some and I send off the letter and you respond to my cry and I hope we find more good encouraging words of wisdom. May god truly bless you and your ministries. Bye Marg

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for your words of inspiration and encouragement. It came at the right time when needed.

    May God bless you always

  • KATHYANN HOLDER says:

    I too had been in a painful relationship and to learn to forgive the person. Unforgiveness is an open door for the enemy to build upon your hurts and cause you to hate that person or persons who have wrong and wounded you. So it’s like a sore that wouldn’t heal but that gets bigger and bigger. It makes you sick cause each day it oozes out of your heart the thoughts of what you would like to do to the person or loved ones but you are killing yourself slowly. It’s like you love the person than you ended up hating them to love them all over again. When in actuality you have to start with yourself first. This is what I did, cause at some point along the way you were in love so deeply with that person so you were smitten by their affections. I remember that I was in prayer and fasting in 2012 n I heard the Lord Jesus Christ said to me to forgive my loved ones (my daughter’s father and family mind and his).My daughter’s dancing teacher told me to this process going n when I did forgive myself first. And so I did and she said to do this cause you choose to forgive them for all the hurt they have caused you and that you have caused them because you have an anger so deep inside you that you would kill. How deep is that right, unforgiveness breed anger, violence and murder. Just remember your killing yourself slowly in the process. So she encouraged me to write it all down and say I choose to forgive myself cause (the reason )why I wanted this relationship but it didn’t work (write the name of the person down) and I now choose to forgive this person and I release that person from all judgements I have against them and I let them go and I live in the freedom of forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ. By the time I was half way through the process I was bawling and pleading with the Holy Spirit to stop. Cause your also asking Him to reveal THINGS you didn’t remember. So the Holy Spirit said to me your a nurse and you should know that without pain that there is no healing so I said yes so true and I mustarded enough courage to ask Him to continue. I ended up calling and asking that person to forgive me too. Today I’m living in total freedom ,yes you get freedom and you feel like its a breath of fresh air that you are breathing and all the heaviest and hatred leaves you. You might have some memories somethings but it pain heals with time and you learn to love AGAIN. I remembered screaming at God this is not hurting them it’s hurting ME. I broke down in TEARS BUT NOW TODAY I’M SMILING. BECAUSE I CHOOSE TO FORGIVE. LOVE YOU ALL AMEN.

  • yasmin says:

    HI Susan, it is always so uplifting to read your words of encouragement, that is also my calling unto HIS kingdom, i was so blessed to read about forgiveness, and would just like to add, that even when people are gone from the earth(dead, pass away) we also need to forgive them, this happen to me when i needed to forgive my parents, and what a great feeling it had been going forward, that not everyone is perfect, not even your parents, thank you and GOD bless you

  • Audrey says:

    Such words of wisdom Susan! Thank you for that! This echoes my experience. Mine took me 10 years to get over, after 15 years of survival mode in a toxic relationship, and now all is good thanks to God.
    Many people think that once you decide to forgive, all is forgiven in a bolt of lightning from heaven but in many cases, the struggle can drag on for years.
    People will also dismiss the idea and add salt to the wound saying “all families are dysfunctional, get over it”
    I learnt like everything else, if we are persistent and genuinely desire to forgive, God will give you all the grace and understanding and resources to overcome this, and you will come out stronger on the other side.

  • Melissa Wiley says:

    Thanks! The positive words of encouragement. I will complete my 21 days on tomorrow.
    Ms. Melissa Wiley
    God bless you more!!

  • janice Young says:

    Thanks Susan for your inspiring words always full of inspiration in difficult moments like these, I needed it you are so on time thank you so much .
    Janice Young

  • Lillianne says:

    When a loved one has hurt you so deeply, sometimes forgiveness is so out of reach, despite knowing it is the right thing to do. Nonetheless this is a good way to give it a try, I will try it word for word.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      I’ve been in that place, Lillianne. Forgiveness can be challenging. And it’s so often misunderstood.

      I hold to the fact that not all is acceptable, but all is forgivable. Forgiving isn’t agreeing or accepting the actions of the person. Instead, it’s a change of heart where we don’t want revenge, harm or evil to happen to them. We let go and let God take care of the matter for us. We unplug.

      I don’t mean for this to sound easy. It can be a process and take time. It’s all about Christ.

  • Pattis says:

    Thank you very much Susan. I have been helped a lot.

  • rose says:

    Thank you for ministering to us,for me you are a gift from God because everytime when I forget how to pray and forgive you always remind me,you are truly a blessing from God

  • Valerie says:

    So starting this tomorrow. The power of fasting blows me away. I’m so happy to have found this fast. I’m accustomed to ‘the normal fast’ which is very difficult to accomplish with 3 littles and life as a food industry professional. The defeat is dilibating at times and the guilt all consuming. The great accuser is waiting for me to fail. Ahhh, enter Susan. Thank you for ministering to the masses and serving us; for being a vessel of God’s hope and desire to speak to us, heal us and grow more intimate with us by paving the way and teaching us how to rest in Him and hear him in a much more grace based approach. I can’t wait to run into Gods rest these next 21 days.

    xx

    • Carwy says:

      yes this is has helped thank you for your words of encouragement is confirmation for me I’m going too fast now the gods but we are married

    • Joanne says:

      So true, you should always seek God in times of trouble, and even when there isn’t trouble you need to seek God

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