I really dislike clutter. Seeing piles of paper & mail stacked high makes me cringe- the need to organize then flourishes within my soul.
A few months back, Kevin and I bought a heavy duty shredder and with good reason. My husband is a hoarder of what he likes to call “important documents.” I like to joke that he’s from the Stone Age and therefore forgets we can always find an electronic copy if we need it.
So with Laynie at her Mimi’s and nothing on DVR, we took full advantage of our Friday night minus one kid… we attacked our work desk and put our heavy duty shredder to the test. (Oh what fun it is to be an adult!)
Have you ever gone through old documents with your spouse? It’s pretty funny… well at least it was for me. Kevin has bank statements and bills that reach as far back as WWII. We actually had a great time and laughed hysterically; but the best part of last night was not the shredding of bank statements and bills. The best part was when we came across a file titled “Laynie.”
Looking through all that was in the “Laynie” file required a trip down memory lane. The file contained letters & statements from our attorneys, custody agreements/final orders from the attorney general and any other piece of paper from what I like to call our “Jerry Springer” phase of life. (Click here to watch our testimony about it).
As we examined each document, I actually relived some of our past. I saw for the first time the original letter that Kevin wrote me a few weeks before Laynie was born regarding what he wanted to do about visitation and custody arrangements. I remember receiving a copy of that letter in the mail and thinking to myself, “I will hate this man for the rest of my life!”
It’s funny how looking back into our past we quickly focus on the hurts rather than the joys. My mind immediately revisited the pain instead of the peace that came from it. Don’t misunderstand, going through those files, I was not stuck in the pain longer than a few seconds… but it was still my first thought. Thankfully because of the forgiveness that Kevin and I chose to extend to one another, my mind quickly trumped the painful memory for the thought of “look at what all God has done despite our painful past!!”
Kevin and I laughed as we went through the Laynie file. We laughed at how much money we wasted on attorneys and child support, but most of all we laughed at ourselves. We determined that because we acted in fear we paid a lot more (both monetarily and emotionally) than we would have if we had acted in faith and trusted our Lord.
So what did we do with the Laynie file???….the file that contained our shameful, painful and pricey past?
WE PUT IT ALL IN THE SHREDDER!!
It was a great feeling and rightfully so! Kevin and I have forgiven each other for the mistakes made in the past. And because we chose to forgive (Mark 11:25), that means never bringing it up again. I can’t think of a better symbolism of forgiveness than putting our past where it belongs…in a shredder!! After all, isn’t that what God does for us when we ask for forgiveness? (Hebrews 8:12, Psalm 103:12)
Is there something you’re holding onto that needs to be shredded? A file of past hurts or a stack of wrongs done? Can I lovingly make a suggestion?
Holding onto such material is cluttering your life. For some, the piles of pain are stacked so high you can’t see the hope and peace that’s on the other side. I don’t know what you’ve been through and would not dare disrespect you by downplaying the pain you’ve experienced… But I do know this- Forgiveness is not excusing what someone else has done. Forgiveness is not enabling another person to continue to hurt you. Forgiveness is embracing what God can do in spite of what others have done.
Letting go of the past can be hard. If we do, it feels like we’re giving up control…or excusing the behavior of others…or saying we’re okay with the way we’ve been treated. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Letting go and shredding our past means we’re giving it over to the Lord. We’re letting Him be the judge and jury (Romans 12:19). We’re letting Him do what only He can…
Bring us hope & peace.
I heard this poem a couple of years after my sister was paralyzed. I don’t know the author. It’s one of those poems I memorized because it’s so simple and had such a significant impact on my life at the time… and it still does! If you’ve never heard it, I hope you enjoy it!
As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God, because He is my friend.
But instead of leaving Him in peace and quiet to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help, with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried, “How can You be so slow!?”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do? You never did let go.”