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I Am One Rain Dancer

I’ve had several people ask me why I named my website/blog OneRainDancer.com. I looked back over blog posts from my previous blog and found the post I was looking for…where the name One Rain Dancer comes from. I wanted to share it with you. I hope it brings you hope and encouragement, and I hope it brings God a lot of glory today!

In the last two years, God has continued to work miracles in my heart. I have shared many of those miracles in recent posts. Today I will share what I think is the biggest miracle of all.

Many years ago, I went through the steps of forgiving someone for a deep hurt they had committed against me. My process was very basic (a simple prayer and a general statement of forgiveness) and I did not share it with anyone except my husband. I thought it was good enough. Apparently, that was not the case...

God has worked through people I love and trust to gently, but firmly, show me that I had not completely forgiven the person who hurt me. It was such a deep hurt that I was too scared to dig enough to uncover the whole wound. The result was a root of bitterness that set up residence in my heart, affecting every area of my life in ways I never imagined.

I have been shocked to discover how powerfully not forgiving someone has affected me over the years. Now that I have completely forgiven, the change in me has been swift and profound. I am sad that it took so long for this discovery. A wise friend helped me process my deeply buried and "stuffed down" emotions and bitterness. It was one of the most painful things I have ever been through. But it was totally necessary. My wise friend said, "God always reveals so He can heal, never to condemn." (Romans 8:1) I love that about God.

I had no idea that the festering root of bitterness and un-forgiveness in my heart over time could completely change my personality, and completely change me.

Here are some of the things that surprised me the most that not forgiving can cause in a person (I experienced all of these): being superficial in my closest relationships, withdrawing physically and emotionally from those I love, a negative attitude, paralyzing anxiety and fear, a critical spirit, unexplained depression, irritability, exhaustion, loss of joy, feeling deeply unsettled all of the time and not knowing why...

I have to pause here and praise Jesus for setting me free! Not forgiving someone is a prison.

Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is an act of obedience.
Refusing to completely forgive is direct rebellion against God. Realizing that truth was very painful for me.

Let that truth hit you. God will not forgive us if we will not forgive others. It sounds harsh. But I believe God is so blunt here and "steps on our toes" because it is so important, and for our good. We cannot live free and we cannot live abundantly if we will not forgive. I have experienced this firsthand. Satan would love for us to be trapped in our prisons of un-forgiveness because then we remain completely ineffective for the Kingdom of God. And isn’t that always Satan's motive? He wants us so tied up in chains that we are ineffective in our calling.

Forgiving someone does not mean ignoring the pain the hurt caused you. I used to believe that. A crucial part of true forgiveness involves allowing ourselves to feel the depth of the pain we were caused. Feel the grief. Acknowledge what it has cost you. Let the tears come freely. Mourn. Let the dam open up in your heart. Take it to Jesus. He already knows how much you hurt, and He longs to comfort you.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. - Psalm 147:3

Can we take all that has happened to us and take it to the cross? Can we let God handle it? Do we trust His complete sovereignty?

We aren't letting the offender off the hook (God's got them). We are letting ourselves off the hook.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. - Galatians 5:1

Think about Jesus and what He did for us. We have no way to heaven except by believing in Jesus and His shed blood on the cross (Ephesians 1:7). Jesus paid our debt in full. It is from that place that He calls us to forgive others who have hurt us. It is by His power and strength we are able to forgive things that feel unforgivable. We would all fail miserably if we tried to forgive without the Holy Spirit's power. We just can't do it on our own human strength. We need His Divine strength.

I was struggling with why I hadn't been able to completely forgive the person who hurt me years ago. I thought I had, but obviously I hadn't. I was trying to live free from a prison cell. There was no abundant life. Joyless.

Why, Lord? Why didn't it work?

I believe God's answer was this: I had forgiven the acts, but not the person who had committed them. Secondly, I hadn't finished the process of forgiveness. I pulled back when it became too painful for my heart to handle. This was a breakthrough moment for me when I realized it.

So how do you forgive someone when forgiveness feels impossible?

My mentor went through some helpful steps to forgiveness with me that I wanted to share with you. Some of these are taken from a book called, "God's Call To Obedience,” (1) and I added some of my own thoughts based on my personal experience, because I have lived it and I know it works.

When, who, how do we forgive?:

We forgive as Christ forgives us, we forgive completely, and we forgive repeatedly for the same sins (Mark 11:25, Ephesians 4:30-32, Colossians 3:12-14). Sound impossible? It is without Jesus.


Steps To Help Us Forgive:

  • Ask God to change my "I don't want to " to "want to." Only God can cause a shift that big when our heart is screaming, "I will not forgive and I don't want to."
  • Ask God (He is safe!) to bring specific offenses to mind. Write them down. Use details and write down your reactions and emotions brought on by those details. Make a separate list for each person who has offended you. Ask people you trust to cover you in prayer as you make the list. Ask God to be with you as you are making your list and protect you from the enemy. Warning: This will be really, really hard. Hang on! Don't stop! This is where we want to quit because it's too painful. But it will be so worth it at the end. It is for your freedom! And it is for the Kingdom!
  • Sometimes, it is not possible (or even helpful) to talk to the person who offended you. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. It depends on various circumstances. That is OK. Don't stop because of this or sink into despair! You don't have to talk to the offender to forgive them. Talk to God-He holds the power!
  • Find a trusted friend, spouse, family member, prayer warrior. Share the list with them in a private, quiet, prayed-over environment. Process the list with them. Cry together. Let God and your friend comfort you.
  • Pray out loud with your friend. Say, "God, help me forgive (name here) for (specific offense). I forgive them for (specific offense). It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that I can forgive them."(Remember, it is God's power that performs the miracle of forgiveness, not the way you feel in the moment). Go through each offense this way. Finish the list. Don't skip any, no matter how hard it gets. This will be a process. Don't stop till you are through the entire list (even if it takes weeks or months). God will be with you the entire way. He is so patient with us.
  • Tear up the list and throw it away when you are done. ... keep no record of wrongs. - 1 Corinthians 13:5

God always honors a sincere heart. Always.

Looking back, I am different now. Changed by the One who still works miracles in His children. I am more authentic than I used to be. I am more vulnerable and more willing to open my heart to the people I love most. My walls have come down. My anxiety and fear has decreased significantly. I am less critical, less negative. I feel peace, security. I am learning to rest. I have found joy. People notice the change in me. My husband and children notice the change in me. I notice the change in me.

Simply amazing. He is amazing.

Someone I love very much, and who is aware of my journey through this process of forgiveness, emailed me a few weeks ago. I believe this person has a beautiful gift in the way he hears from God and I trust him completely. His email said:

"I'm so grateful and excited for you. I asked the Spirit what He wanted to say to you and I heard..."

"The chains of un-forgiveness are gone and you are free to dance."

I sat and cried. I immediately thought of the frame hanging in our kitchen that has meant so much to me over the years. It says, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...it's about learning to dance in the rain" - Vivian Greene. I believe God's message to me was very personal that day, and exactly what I needed to hear, because He loves me so much:

"Tammy, you are free to dance."

And so, as I was asking God what to call my new website many months ago, this experience came to my mind. God has healed my heart and though the rain comes, and it will continue to come, I choose to be One Rain Dancer. Because of Him, I have joy and freedom, even when difficult circumstances come.

I don't know for sure what it all means yet, but I am confident that God will lead me to what the next step is...and I am so excited to find out how else God and I will "dance."

I am so grateful to God right now that I struggle to put it into words.

The power of forgiveness is beyond description. It is worth every tear, every ache my heart has experienced, and every painful step it took to get here.

Forgiveness gives us the gift of peace of mind and heart. Even if we feel afraid to forgive, to let go, choose today to trust the One who loves you more than you will ever comprehend this side of heaven. I have said it before: Step into the fear! Don’t run from it. Jesus is completely trustworthy (Psalm 56:3).

Lord, we are so thankful for Your gift. We are so grateful for Your Spirit in us and for the power of forgiveness. Thank you for making me free to dance, probably for the first time ever. In a world that is often scary and unforgiving, I am so thankful that You mean safety and freedom and life when we choose to obey You and forgive. You have set me free and I am so grateful. Please show me, show us, what the next step is in Your plan. Show us how you want us to dance. Amen.



Source:
(1) - "God's Call To Obedience: The Gospel And Our Relationships With Others-Part 1 (page B4-B5)

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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