Hurt, resentment and bitterness, these are the feelings that I’m struggling with lately.
During my childhood, I tried to have a closer and more meaningful relationship with my grandmother. I wanted to feel loved by her and to spend time with her. She always had time for her friends and her church activities. But when it came to me it seemed that the more effort I put in, the less I got out of it. I remember talking to her during my teenage years about this. I cried and asked her to spend more time with me, but she made it clear that I wasn’t her top priority. It was at this point in my life that I gave up. I realized that I would never have the relationship with her that I desired. I had to learn to accept the fact that she wasn’t capable of having a close relationship with me and move forward.
I want to be clear, I love my grandmother. She has some very admirable qualities. She was always a “prayer warrior” and faithful to her ministry visiting the elderly in nursing homes.
Now, she’s the one in the nursing home and her health is failing. Her memory has suffered greatly and she can’t remember the same things that I do. She’s only able to think of herself and her immediate situation. This past week, all of those past memories and feelings have resurfaced. I thought they were long gone, but there they are, hurt, resentment and bitterness. Hurt that I tried so hard to be close to her, resentment that she rejected me and bitterness that I will never have that relationship I desired.
But I don’t want to be filled with these negative emotions. I want to have love and compassion for my grandma. I want to be an encourager and friend to all of the people God has put in my life.
It’s in these moments that I realize how much I need “a heart of grace”, but that’s not something that comes naturally to me. I have to continually work on it and ask God to give me that heart of grace. I need Him to remind me that He loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me and that I need to show that same love to everyone around me.
So I ask, “How can I obtain a heart of grace?” The answer is simple, yet seems so hard right now.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Grace is the forgiveness of wrongs committed and comes from faith in Jesus. None of us deserves God’s grace, but He willingly gives us this free gift because He loves us and because we believe in His Son. If we are looking for grace, we will only find it in Jesus.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Grace, mercy, peace and love, these are the things that we find when we pray. Because we serve, Jesus, our High Priest, we can boldly go to Him in prayer. We can lay our burdens at His feet knowing that He will provide all of these things to us in our time of need. He is always willing to hear our prayers, and He is the One who will never reject us.
My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9
When I put into practice seeking God and praying for my needs, then I am learning to have a heart of grace. Every day brings a new opportunity for me to show God’s grace. I don’t have to let hurt, resentment and bitterness control me. When I’m upset I can turn to God and choose to practice His grace because His grace is sufficient for me. With time, maybe it will become second nature to me.
Even though, I may not be able to erase the past or rid myself of those hurtful memories, I can ask for God’s forgiveness for my negativity. And I can extend forgiveness to the people in my life. I can choose to have a heart of grace.
Are you struggling with a past hurt? If so, I pray that you will seek God’s grace, take that hurt to Him, lay it at His feet and accept His love and acceptance for you.
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Connie Rowland is the creator of Master's Hand Collection, A series of Christian digital artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Join "In the Studio" for your Free Printable Artwork.
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