New Year’s Resolution: Forgive

The proverbial olive branch

What will the New Year bring?

Hoarding Emotions

I love to watch the television program “Hoarding, Buried Alive.” There is always an emotional attachment to all the madness in hoarding. Our emotions, without God to guide us, will hoard matters of past pain for years.  We store these bad experiences, sometimes without realizing it, so our fragile, damaged emotions surface when triggered.

Hoarding emotional trauma will only hold you back from receiving blessings. How many of us will ring in this new year with extra baggage? Or will you continue to rehash how you were hurt and remain unable to forgive?

My Story

For years I have struggled to accept someone in my family. I will call this person Leanne. Leanne and I have never been friendly toward each other because we both experienced  childhood traumas, hers much more traumatic than mine. I always felt forced to have her in our lives. At family gatherings, my stress level would accelerate to high alert whenever she was around. To put it plainly, we did not like each other.

Exposing The Iceberg

We all know that the tip of the iceberg is what we can see, but what is hidden below gives the iceberg its strength. I can honestly say that in all my years of hoarding emotional unforgiveness toward Leanne, the hidden iceberg became my crutch. On the outside I remained civil, even cordial; but underneath  all that unforgiveness the iceberg gained strength. I did not like the person that I had become, so I went to confession many times.

1 John 1:9   Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

Once I realized that the Enemy was the one holding me down in the cold waters of the iceberg, my unforgiveness was finally exposed. I cannot speak for Leanne, but I know that she was freed as well. You see when we harbor animosity toward another person, we hold them hostage.

Walking The Talk

Let’s get one thing straight:  I love the Lord and want nothing more than to be used of Him. This unforgiveness was a hindrance because the Enemy constantly harassed me that I was a weak, hypocritical Christian. Finally it all came to a peaceful resolution this Christmas, and I can say it was a miracle.


Leanne’s beautiful mother

The Photo

I had a photo of Leanne’s mother and wanted to give it to her. I had a complicated conversation with my husband because he believed that it would bring back bad memories.  After much prayer Mike finally agreed.

I framed the photo, placed it in a recycled box for wrapping, and also gave Leanne a beautiful blanket her mother had crocheted.

We had agreed that we were not going to have a gift exchange, so Leanne was surprised when I handed her the gifts. When she unwrapped the recycled box, she saw that it was an image of a Christmas plate and did not bother to get it out. I said, “Leanne, you need to open the gift. There is something special inside the box.”  “Oh, I thought it was a plate,” she answered.

In my heart  I wanted to capture the look on her face when she pulled out the picture of her mother. I knew that this was the best peace offering I could give. She was so grateful! Leanne had no idea about the history of the blanket either, so when I told her that her mother crocheted it, she held it tightly to her heart.

Listening To The Holy Spirit

By no means do I consider myself a  hero for doing this. After I prayed about this for several days, the Holy Spirit put this in my heart.  And when Mike agreed, I understood it was  confirmation to go ahead with the plan.

The Holy Family

Sunday, December 31st we celebrated the Feast of The Holy Family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph – there is no better example of a holy family than these. God chose Joseph to be Jesus’ foster-father. What a beautiful example to those who have foster children and stepchildren or to those who have half-brothers and half-sisters. We are all part of one big family of God.

Know Who You Are

Mike was cleaning out the garage the other day and found a basket with a variety of stuff inside. Some of it was trash, but I  found a notebook with a letter I had written to my father long after he died. My father was a wounded man, so he brought that unhealed part of his life into our family. This is my letter written in 2014.

The Letter

Dear Dad,

I want to thank you for giving me life. Though we did not have a close relationship, I understood why. In conversations with my mother, she shared a story about your upbringing.  She mentioned that your grandmother raised you, and that she was uncharitable and cruel to you. This emotion left you with a mistrust for women – all women.

The day you left our family you took our mother’s heart with you. Though we went without, it was God’s plan that you moved on. No more fighting. Finally peace in our home!

Without the Lord to guide and direct us we are sojourners in this strange land. You loved us, but were never taught to display love. You were a good father to my brothers, teaching them your trade as a lathing contractor. The girls in the family were distant from you because of the painful scars left from your past. You never understood women. I hold no anger or grudges toward you but only love. You were the father that God chose for us, and you gave us what  you were given. For that I am grateful.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, so many of us are holding on to unnecessary pain caused by others. Lord, may we operate in the spirit of forgiveness. Remove this heavy load we have been carrying  for so long. Lord, forgive me for not understanding Leanne’s heart. Please continue to heal us from all of our past hurts. Bring us peace this New Year and allow us a glimpse of all the blessings You have in store for us. Amen.

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