Eyes of a Stranger: Signs, Post #12

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April 7, 2014 by Renee Griffin

I don’t like to make mistakes.

As I read back through my previous posts, I find error after error and it bugs me.  So, I have “hired” an “editor”.  The hubs has been named blog editor after unknowingly applying for the job.

He had finished reading a post a week or so ago and asked me an unusual question.  I was waiting on his post assessment and some words of encouragement, but he had only this to offer.

“Does your blog have spell check?”

Ahem… Spell check?

Why no, I haven’t discovered spell check yet.  Ugghhh…he knows how I despise spelling errors. 

He asked the question so kindly and quietly, I knew he was treading lightly.  This whole writing thing, telling my adoption reunion story,  is still a tender place.  He knew to be careful, and I knew I had errors which is why I hired him on the spot.  I gave him complete permission to tell me where he saw mistakes so that I could go in and fix them. He agreed.  (I have since figured out where to find and how to use spell check, but  I can’t guarantee that you won’t stumble across several errors when you read.)  And while that completely bothers me, I am going to keep on writing anyway.  I see it as my ongoing lesson in humility.  As a performance driven individual, I have to keep that area in check.
I am learning too that while I try to edit out all mistakes in my writing and all the times I mess up in life, God is ultimately the Great Editor.  He’s the One Who watches over me and fixes what I ruin when I allow Him to do it His Way. Even my messes bring Him Glory.  
The mess with my birthmother was a perfect opportunity for Him to do some major editing.

Losing contact with her was a death of sorts in my life.  I had worked so hard to find her.  I had climbed every mountain and fought every battle and planned and dreamed and waited.  In my mind, I had done everything right and still I’d lost her again.  God had shown me early on that I had set her up as an idol, and that was a hard pill to swallow.  I thought that was the only lesson He had to teach me, but again I was wrong.  There is always more to learn.

There had been many months of silence between us.  My birthday came during one of those months, and it was a hard day for me.  My emotions had been on a roller coaster ride, and I really wanted to get off.  The hubs and I were sitting out on the porch one evening discussing the events that had transpired between my birthmother and me.  He had been so good to support me during these months.  That night, he summed up the place I was in with one of his signature phrases.  He told me the time had come when I needed to make a decision.  I needed to “make nice or make it go away.”  After feeling so out of control, his words opened my eyes to the fact that I had some control here.  I could decide. I could choose to “make nice”, sweep it all under the rug and try to start over.  The other option was to close the book on her and “make it go away”.  He has a knack with simple, profound phrases.  God blessed me with a smart man.

I didn’t make any decisions that night sitting on the porch, but the idea that I could make one made a big impression.  I was thinking about all of this as I traveled over to my parent’s house.  The kids were going to spend the weekend.  After dropping off  the kids, I  headed back home. Quiet time in the car gave me the opportunity to talk to The Lord about this decision in front of me.   I knew I could not “make nice”.  I just didn’t have it in me.  I am not a fake person, and a terrible liar when my heart is involved.  Those that know me well know you can see how I feel all over my face.  I would just rather tell  the truth and let the chips fall. “Making nice” was not a viable option.

The other choice, “making her go away” and totally shutting her out of my heart and moving on was not humanly possible either.  You’d have a better chance of  taking  my heart out and trying to keep me alive without it beating than remove her from me.  She’s too much a part of me.

What choice did I have?

I told The Lord  the best I could do was to offer her up to Him and let go if  that is what He wanted.  I promised Him that if He ever put her back in my life, I was going to need Him to send me a sign that it was His plan.  I had made such a mess before that I didn’t trust myself to go any further in a relationship with her if given the chance.

Give me a sign, Lord, please?

As I finished this prayer, my car was going over an overpass, and I saw a “sign” in the sky…a double rainbow.  The two rainbows were  touching  like the Golden Arches of a well know hamburger joint.  
I laughed out loud and said, “Okay, Lord I see this amazing rainbow…but really, I asked for a SIGN.” 
As I arrived at the end of the overpass and slowed  at the red light, I glanced over my right shoulder.  There on the light pole was a rectangular, white sign with this word in black, all capital letters: REPENT.

Repent?  That’s the “sign” You want me to see?

Me? Repent?  Of what???

Really, Lord?

Why do I need to repent?

Needless to say, the laughter I had engaged in moments earlier, came to a screeching halt.  I had asked for a sign, and He had supplied one, but the sign’s message stung.  What on earth did I have to repent for exactly?
The meaning of repent wasn’t clear to me until I shared my sign story with one of my cousins.  He and I had always been very close.  We’d been exchanging emails since I’d found my birthfamily. I had emailed him about my sign experience and was deeply troubled about it all.  I just wasn’t seeing the message too clearly.   He is wise beyond his years and clued me in on the Hebrew meaning of the word.  Repent means to change one’s mindset or way of thinking.  It also means to turn and go in a new direction.  With love and truth, he told me that I had been going the wrong way and thinking the wrong thoughts.

He was right.

Swallowed up by my hurt feelings and shattered dreams, I had mistakenly placed all the blame for our troubles on her.  It wasn’t all hers to bear.  I was to blame, too.  Isn’t that how it is in any troubled relationship?  There’s always two sides to every pancake.  I had hurt her, too.  I hadn’t meant to, but I did.  When your eyes are blinded by tears, you often see only your side.  I had been so focused on my pain that I didn’t see my responsibility in that hurt.

 The REPENT sign was spot on.  In blindness to my fault in the relationship focusing only on my pain, I had failed to be obedient to God.  He was calling me repent of my sins and to be forgiven.  He was also calling me to forgive.  I had been trapped between my sin and my unforgiveness.  It took me several days to let this knowledge sink in.  I prayed and prayed and then I made a decision.

In my car once again, this time at the corner of a well known area in my town, I asked The Lord for forgiveness and I repented of my sin.  Also, I  forgave my birthmother as an offering to The Lord.  Through tears of freedom, I lifted her up and said, “Whatever You decide.  I will accept Your Will, Lord.  If you remove her from my life, so be it.  I will trust You no matter what.  If by some miracle, You ever send her back into my life, I will love her like You have called me to.  I repent and turn and will go wherever You lead Lord.”

As I turned the corner with my car, I turned a corner in my heart.

That was on a Sunday afternoon.

The load that was lifted off of me was incredible.  I had been carrying the burden of unforgiveness like a ball and chain.  I had rationalized the ball and chain with my pain and it blinded me to my own sin.  It had only been a few months, but it was so much a part of me that I didn’t even feel the weight anymore.  When I turned the corner, the lightness in my heart was palpable.  I couldn’t get over how different I felt.  Jesus had freed me.

Monday came and went like any other ordinary day, but Tuesday held a surprise.  I was in the kitchen when the hubs came inside with the mail.  He held out a white envelope and said, “She wrote you a letter.”
She did what?

She had written me a letter.

I couldn’t believe it.  Why was she writing me?  I opened the top of the envelope ever so carefully and began to read words she’d written from her heart.  I read and cried and read and cried… Her letter was beautiful. She was reaching out and apologizing and I was stunned. One line in the letter sent chills up my spine.  She wrote, ” You are everywhere I go!  There are signs of you all around me.”  Signs!!! Oh, Lord… His Grace and His Mercy washed over me like a flood.  He was giving us both signs.
As I continued reading, this startling reality hit me. While I had been letting go and giving her to God, she had been penning these words.  When I was lifting her up before The Lord and giving Him control, she was folding those words into an envelope and adding a stamp. While I was giving and getting forgiveness before a Holy God, her words were literally on their way to me.

The enormity of it all took me to my knees.  The Sovereign God of the Universe had orchestrated all of this in His time.  

I was blown away…  
A couple of days later I sent her an email that ended with this sentence.  “Let’s start today with a clean slate.”

Forgiveness is freedom with a clean slate.Cleaning slates is some of God’s best work.  When we surrender control of our lives and allow Him to edit them the way He sees fit, He does things we could have never imagined.  We don’t have to choose between the limited options we see in front of us.

We can simply choose God. 
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
We can choose to seek Him and follow His ways instead of our own.  I am thankful that I didn’t try to “make nice”.  What a train wreck that would’ve been!  If I had chosen to “make it go away”, I feel certain that her letter never would have arrived, or I would have thrown it away.  I am grateful and humbled that God in His infinite Love and long-lasting patience, He didn’t give up on me.  He took the mess I had made, taught me lessons through my mistakes, and edited my story to bring Him Glory.  
One month later, the moment I had been waiting for my entire life finally happened.  I met my birthmother face to face, and the storm we were in faded away. God cleared the clouds between us and sent in a rainbow.  The rainbow is a sign of the promise God gave to never flood the earth again.  God’s miracle of restoring my birthmother back into my life again was His sign to me that He can do anything.  Even when I mess it all up.

What have you messed up that you think can never be restored?   Nothing, I repeat, nothing is too messed up for God.  He can do miracles with your mess.  Let Him be your editor.  Stop trying to fix stuff on your own.  Repent if you need to.  Forgive everyone that has hurt you.  Let it all go and see what He can do. And if you need a sign???  I can tell you where to look.  Just go grab your Bible and open it up.  It’s full of signs and they all point one way…to Jesus.

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