My mother had told me the story throughout my life. I had heard it again and again.

She went through a hard time when she was a young mother and had a nervous breakdown. According to my Aunt she had been so ravaged by the cruelty of others that she had spent a year in bed.

I don’t know what it was about this time that made a difference. This time though, I understood how that horrible time had imploded my mother’s dream of having a happy family.

This time there was an addition to the story, something I had never heard before. She said that my birth had been the one thing that had kept the family intact.

She had told me many times that she would not have survived if I hadn’t been such a loving child. I was full of joy and overflowing with love for my mother when I was a little girl.

As I grew up I became judgmental of her because she had struggled with forgiveness. I have been near a nervous breakdown a couple of times in my life but I have chosen to be merciful to the people who have been cruel.

Yet, this time when she told me how hard it had been for her, I understood that I might not forgive what had been done to her if it had been done to me.

My mother is elderly and she is tormented with the hate she holds in her heart for those who were so cruel. Yet her love for God and her faith in Him is what has sustained her. She fears that she may not be allowed into heaven because she is bound by unforgiveness.

I have pleaded with God to set her free, crying out to Him with tears streaming down my cheeks. I have reminded Him that she continued to worship and serve him and take her children to church; the same church where those who had been so cruel went to every Sunday.

I have shared on this blog how my mother has hurt me with things she has said in the past. Somehow the words no longer hurt because when I chose to understand her, the door to forgiveness of her busted wide open.

As I was reflecting on  this I realized that this need for understanding is paramount to the reason why God sent His Son to earth. Jesus walked on this earth. He felt our pain. Throughout His life He consistently gave healing and love to others. He fed five thousand but did not concern himself with the need for a home.

In His darkest hour he was betrayed by those who said they would never, ever betray Him. His blood was shed to cover our sins and He pleads with God to have mercy on us because he understands just how difficult it is to be human.

Praise God on high for the most precious gift of His son, Jesus Christ, who is the foundation for my bridge of understanding before God.

*If anyone feels as if God is leading you to intercede for my mother I would be so grateful.  The roots of bitterness have strangled her heart for far too long.


I met her at a Starbucks. It wasn’t the one I usually go to for my morning cup of pep. She came up to me after I got my coffee and spoke blessings on me.

She didn’t say that she was homeless but she said she was in a situation and that she lived in the woods. She didn’t ask for money or food but prayed over me.

So I started thinking…

Then I decided that I had enough Brisket that I bought on sale,I could share with her. So I started bringing her a packed lunch. I had also shared with my son, some friends and my boyfriend so that Brisket went a long ways.

The other day I had dropped off another gallon plastic sack with a brisket sandwich, some chips and some fruit. She, of course, blessed me.

Then I went and did a couple of appointments and went to Jason’s deli for lunch.

I passed by a man who was talking to a girl and I was smiling because I was thinking of this wonderful woman that I had been feeding. The man stopped me and said “You have a very kind face and a very kind smile.”

He said he heard from God and then he said I was very sweet.

I just thought it was kind of special how God spoke gratitiude through a complete stranger for a kind act I had done for another stranger.

Then today I read Proverbs 3:27-28 and it was the frosting on the cake. “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”



It was there. In the corner of my bedroom. It had been there for 3-4 years. It did not belong. It was ugly, messy and unorganized.

It was my basket of heartache.

The basket contained an overflowing mess of binders. Several years ago I went through a heart wrenching ordeal in the family court system. I have five to six large binders full of all of the court filings. Just to glance through them brings tears to my eyes because the experience was so painful.

I do not think justice was served, but I do realize that humanity, not God, is in control of the current justice system.

I know that I have worked on the process of forgiveness. I am not sure at what point one can truly say they have forgiven another completely.

I know that my greatest spiritual gift is grace, so it should be much easier for me, than most, to forgive. Yet, when I glanced through some of the binders, I felt the injustice metamorphasize into bitterness.

I don’t want that. I have seen people whom I dearly love become consumed by bitterness. Bitterness is a ravenous wolf, which can transform a kind and gentle heart into one which is full of rage and vengeance.

So on Independence Day this year I decided to sort through the basket of heartache and move it to an area which I could not see. I sorted through all of the loose papers and organized them into different categories of my life.  (Some other items from my life had inadvertently landed in the basket.)

Then I pushed that basket of heartache down deep into the darkness of my hall closet. It felt good to get this out of my eyesight. The mess of it was a daily irritation to me.

Yet it was more than that. I now had an empty corner of my bedroom to transform into something worthwhile. I pondered the challenge for a moment and decided to make it an oasis for my cats. Soon my daughter’s cat, Clooney, was curled up in the cat bed I had placed there.

This process has in some small way helped me to understand the sacrifice of Jesus and the deep love of God.

When my daughter was first born I almost turned completely away from God. I loved her so dearly, I would have easily done anything for her.  I could not understand how God could sacrifice His one and only Son for the sins I have committed.

I have done some good things in my life, but I have done my share of sinning also. For God to have given His one and only Son for the good I have done is a bit easier to understand. But for the bad?

When God looks down on me He doesn’t see the sin which I have committed. My sin is like His basket of heartache. So often we think sin just affects us, but the consequences can be far reaching in the pain visited upon others.  When He gave Jesus to be my atonement, He swept my basket of heartache into the ocean, with the waves tossing it as far as the east is from the west.

Then He reached out His hand and beckoned me to become not just another heartache but His cherished daughter …

John 3:16 NIV

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.