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milemarker6I have had several moments in my life that completely changed the course I was on, good or bad. Susan calls them “Mile Markers”, places of decision, big moments in time. Through all of my mile markers (and there are too many to count) I made decisions and I chose blame, fear, hate, resentment. I victimized myself; I became addicted to my story. I chose self-loathing, betrayal, envy, jealousy, malice, discord, depression, isolation, self-pity, shame, guilt, remorse. I got to a point where God no longer existed to me. Along with all of that, I put a lot of effort in pretending that I was someone I wasn’t. I wanted to be a good person, I just didn’t know how. I forgot who I was and I hated the world. I was reminded this week, in learning that the girls at Jacob’s Well were writing forgiveness letters, that it took a LOT for me to forgive others. It took even more for me to forgive myself. Nothing is more painful, yet freeing at the same time, than sitting down to write a letter to myself and praying for forgiveness from the one who caused the most pain. ME. I caused myself pain because I CHOSE to be all the things listed above. Some of my mile markers were not my doing, most were, but they all had the same result. SELF HATE.

circlesTo overcome Mile Markers, I need to see them for what they are. I need to see that I was the one who chose which direction to go in. I looked right, I looked left, and most times I went completely backwards. It’s where Satan wants me. Walking around in circles; confused, scared, helpless, and hopeless. But Christ wants so much more. He forgave me the day I asked for it. Christ NEVER resists a repentant sinner. The main thing I had to do was get REAL HONEST with myself and stop feeding people a bunch of stuff just to get by. When I see myself for what I am, God can work on me. Mandy always said, “In order to be free, I must walk out the Truth.”

milemarker4Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Not whenever He feels like, not only when things are going great, but ALL the time. He is with me even as I stand there pondering the direction I am going to take. He is there, cheering me on and guiding me, even when I go the wrong direction. Even when I think it is hard and I am scared silly…HE IS THERE. He has already been where I am going and He will carry me.

2 Timothy 1:12 – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

milemarker5This Mile Marker stuff had me thinking deeper about the directions I had decided to take and the forgiveness that I thought was nearly impossible for me to offer myself. Even though I was at my lowest, God still loved me. I may not have succeeded by the world’s standards, but His opinion is the only one that really matters. In order to be successful, I have to do what I have never done. And that is to start going in His direction when I reach a mile marker.

2 Corinthians 7:10 – Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Worldly sorrow is just regret. I regretted a lot of things. A LOT. But regret is not God’s will. Godly sorrow is DESIRING to change. Change for the good. Never looking back.

Romans 3:23-24 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

forgiveStop the presses, people! I am a sinner, but I have been given GRACE!! It’s new EVERY SINGLE DAY!! This is HUGE! I am justified, so I am found NOT GUILTY by reason of Jesus!! LOVE IT! Here is the deal, God KNOWS my heart. I can talk a good talk and walk a good walk, but what is BEHIND my words and my actions has to be real and honest because HE KNOWS. He will continue to heal me but I have to be willing to let go of sin and stop playing the fool, because God is no fool….no, indeed.

1 John 3:19-20 – This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence. 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

How do I escape the gnawing accusations of my conscience? By setting my heart on God’s love. He gave me the Spirit of Jesus so that I would know right from wrong. My conscience is Christ in ME. My Mile Markers today don’t look so scary because I see more clearly today because I have finally let go and let God and I have finally forgiven myself. It sure wasn’t easy, but absolutely necessary for me to move forward.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 – Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. AMEN.