I have to thank so many of my friends for your love and support and for helping me to not only get through this trial, but to find myself this morning, thanking Him for bringing it and rejoicing in His wisdom and grace. You know who you are and I thank you all so much.
Here is what I have learned over the past few days. It's funny because I thought I knew this already. But, God has a way of bringing circumstances into our lives that take this knowledge we have in our heads and moves it into our hearts where it can bear fruit and change our lives. So, here is what this circumstance has spoken to my heart....
God's grace is enough. His forgiveness is enough. I have repented of my past. I have done my best to make up for it and will continue to do the best I can by my sons...but the past is done...it's over. And more than that....it's been forgiven by the only one who truly matters. God's forgiveness is perfect. It takes that sin and casts it into the sea of forgetfulness...and causes it to be just as though it had never happened. It removes it from me as far as the east is from the west and it washes away every stain of guilt and shame. That is the truth that should impact my heart and my mind and the way I live and think and feel.
To allow feelings of shame and regret and guilt to define how I feel is to believe the lies of satan. It is to trample underfoot the wonderful gift of salvation, by which God caused the old to be washed away and created me anew. It is to forget that I am a new creation in Him created in righteousness.
All of this has conjured up a mental image for me where I can see Christ on the cross, hands spread wide, blood dripping from His hands, head, and side, and asking me, "Is this not enough for you?" I know that is a graphic description and I can't even put into words what it says to my heart, but it impresses on me that to believe the lies of satan is to somehow cheapen this sacrifice He made so that I could be forgiven.
So, I find myself, once again, humbled by His love for me and determined to embrace His truth, and to be set free by that truth, and to walk in newness of life and in the joy of my salvation...and to trust Him to bring my sons to the place where they too can walk free from the past.
I will close with two last things. All of this pondering over "25 things" has stirred a desire in my heart to make a list of 25 things for my own Mother. Our relationship has been rocky in the past. We are at a good place now but it's taken us a long time to get here and the road has been painful. I think the time is perfect for me to honor her with a list of 25 things I cherish about her. I am looking forward to creating the list and I will share it here when it's done.
The other thing is this passage of scripture that keeps running through my head:
If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.