Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bitterness During the Season of Thanksgiving

I realize this sounds ungrateful less than a week before Thanksgiving but why write if it isn't honest? 

Beyond Ordinary is one couple's story of redemption after years of deception, damage, and mistrust.  I happened upon the book and decided it seemed interesting enough to purchase.  I'm not really sure why I was drawn to this book because I am blessed with a great husband and wonderful marriage.  We're not perfect by any means but we truly enjoy spending our lives together.  A marriage improvement book wasn't exactly what I was searching for.

As the chapters progressed I realized that my truths from this book didn't involve my marriage.  My message affected other relationships in my life.  There are parts of my life where pain has burrowed so deeply that I have put on the armor of bitterness to shield myself from future attacks.

"Forgiveness is a word with a simple definition, yet the concept it represents is so hard to live out... I think that for most of us we associate forgiveness with a wound that has been inflicted on us."

Cuts, scrapes, those little bumps in life all heal quickly and disappear with little trace.  It's the deepest cuts that leave scars.  After time those scars can color our very souls.  You become hardened.  Or at least I did.  Rude comments or judgments from an acquaintance didn't cause the pain.  Honestly, I'm more likely to be annoyed or bad about those.  The damage was caused by those who attacked the core of my soul.  It wasn't a battle, it was a war.  Long, sustaining, staged on multiple fronts.  My beliefs, my integrity, my value as a wife or mother, my very being. 

For years I tried to prove myself worthy but the attacks continued.  Then I tried to confront the issues head on, still no results.  As the arrows continued to fly I finally donned the only armor that truly allowed me to feel safe.  Being on high alert at all times and trying to foresee potential attacks was the only way to feel prepared.  I didn't identify it as bitterness until recently.  It seems so justified.  I was hurt by people who were supposed to be close to me.  They were supposed to be our support.  The wounds are still there and some days they are raw. 

"my anger seemed to subside, but the reality is that my anger had become bitterness, a silent killer."

Bitterness is the slow murderer of my soul.  When confronted by that part of life I change into someone else.  My joy has been stripped by fear and pain.  Even now, I am anxious about the next few months--too many potential events.  What can my excuse be this time?  Can I conveniently be unavailable?  Avoidance seems like the best option.  Will I be able to conceal my hatred?

"Bitterness is like picking up a stone to throw and holding on to it so you'll have ammunition the next time you're wounded."

I know that I can't continue on this path.  The bitterness will slowly seep into the other parts of our lives.  I have to lay this down because it has become a sin in my life.  I am responsible for my response.  I may never receive an acknowledgment or apologies but I have to release that condition of forgiveness.  Trust and the relationships may never be restored but I can't be a hindrance to the process.  If I am harboring bitterness there will never be a chance for restoration.

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