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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)

TITLE: The Forgiveness Box
By Joyce Sykes


“You are no good! No one can help you! You are nothing but a ----- and a whore just like your mother,” raged my step-mother.

‘Yea, yea, yea,’ I thought to myself. I had heard it all before. Nothing new here, just the same old put down. I had listened to it for the last couple of years. My rage boiled even high than the venom she was spewing at me. She could say whatever about me, but leave Momma out of it. She was dead and gone, so why bring her into it. Besides if Mom was still alive, I would not be here in this place of torment.

“God, why? Why did You have to take my mom? They told me You loved me? Yea, right! If You were the loving God everyone told me about, I wouldn’t be here listening to this.” I ranted toward this unseen but punishing God.

For years, I asked these type of questions. At every critical point in my life, all my questions and anger flared up. When I became pregnant out-of-wed-lock, at the foster home with total strangers and now when my marriage seemed to be on the rocks.

I could not blame any one else. I was a miserable person to live with. My anger was filled with the poison of years of despair and hopelessness. I hated myself and it seemed as if I hated everyone around me. I loved my husband and children but my heart kept telling me it would be like everyone else that I ever cared about. At some point they would leave me, like all the rest.

I kept trying to go back to church, but the sermon I heard months earlier was about forgiveness. How could God expect me to forgive? It seemed so unfair. My wounds had been part of me for so long. I wanted to let go but I just didn’t know how. The last nine months had been the longest in history to me. The conviction of the Lord was heavier than my self-hatred.

Finally one night, I cried out with every fiber within my weary heart. If only the Lord would help me, if He would show me how to let go of all my bitterness and anger.

Picking up my Bible, I cried out. ‘If You are real, please speak to me. I am so tired of living like this, please help me!’ As I turned the pages, my eyes suddenly fell upon a verse that made my heart leap.

“Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.” †

Tears flowed like a river down my cheeks. A message I hear just days earlier came to mind. The pastor had shared to take our problems and sins, mentally place them in a box and leave them at His throne. Maybe this was my answer.

I closed my eyes, and placed each person and event that came to mind in the seemingly bottomless box. Finally, I was able to visualize myself closing it up and laying at the feet of the Lord. The weight of my heavy heart seemed to lift off. What seemed to have been crushing me just minutes before was gone. As a quiet peace came over me, my amazement grew. Maybe it was true, maybe I could leave my past behind.

In the days and weeks to come, the struggle within me was not as severe. It was not always easy, but I was learning to let go and allow the Lord to minister to my heart. I was still not always easy to live with, but it was getting better. My husband even shared with me that he could tell the difference. I was not as demanding and difficult as before.

Some parts of my past took years to overcome, but bit by bit the Lord has worked in my life and showed me that I was His child. What a joy to know that my Father indeed wanted me, even when I was at my absolute worst. That knowledge has given me the strength to overcome many obstacles and setbacks time and time again. I have learned this one thing. “It’s not by might, not by power but by My Spirit says the Lord.”‡

† Psalms 45:10&11 (NJKV)
‡ Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 03/02/06
Your title intrigued me. Your story sounded like a testimony from the "Unshackled" radio program. I am always moved to hear how so many sad lives can be made new by the touch of the Master's hand. Bless your heart! I'm glad you're part of God's eternal family and that you can tell others your story!
Jessica Schmit03/02/06
Her actions are what we all need to do. Bitterness and unforgiveness kills and i'm so happy to read such a powerful piece exposing the true depths of pain that those actions can cause and also the hope that can come when forgiveness occurs. Awesome messege and writing!