“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?”
Isaiah 43:18-19 (CSV)
The fall season brings vivid reds, browns, oranges, and yellows. I love the color red. It catches my attention in a room full of people. My mother wore red all the time. At her funeral service we buried her wearing the color red, and I even asked family members to wear something red to honor her. When the time came to clean out her closet, I found red scarves, red blouses, red dresses, red shoes, and so on. My parents could not afford expensive jewelry, but my mom had plenty of red bangles to compliment her outfits. I used to tease her when she wore her sparkly red tennis shoes. They looked like something Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” would have worn for comfort. I would say to her, “Click those red heels together mom and tell me where you want to go.” Many times her reply was shopping and to lunch. As a child, I could spot her in a crowded room wearing red. On one birthday I gave her a red leather Bible to take the place of her black one. Even though she never mentioned the red lettering in her Bible, I am sure she loved to read Jesus’ words in red.
This morning as I sat in my study looking out at the landscape, I felt the peace of God coming over me. Among all the evergreen trees stood one lone red maple tree, its leaves brightly displaying a brilliant red. Memories of my mom immediately flooded me. She has been gone over 13 years. We had good years and painful ones too. Today, those emotions of hurt and heartache are gone and replaced with mostly happy memories. A long time ago, I made the choice to remember the good things we shared rather than the difficult times. Isn’t that what the Lord has called us to do? He says in Isaiah 43:18-19 (NET), “Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall these former events. Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it?” I recognized the new thing God wanted to do in our lives when I made a conscience effort to stop replaying old wounds. I finally closed the chapter of anger, offense, and bitterness towards her. It took effort and perseverance, but the Lord was faithful to honor my requests.
Towards the end of my mother’s life I was her caregiver, and I would not trade anything for that. We sat together watching black-and-white movies on TV as she told me the background of the different actors and actresses. We laughed a lot over silly things and memories she had of me as a precocious child. Each time I visited her, I told her I loved her. My mom knew I loved her because I had let all those bitter, offensive, and angry thoughts go.
Isn’t it time for you to forget the former things and begin to look for what the Lord has done? Holding onto those negative thoughts prevents you from moving forward. I promise you, when you choose to put former offenses, bitterness, and anger behind you, the Lord will bring about a new season in your life. He will awaken you to more freedom, more joy, and the blessings He gives you every day. When I released the negativity, I found that love flowed out of me more easily. I even awakened with a song in my heart and praises on my lips.
So what are you waiting for? Loose those chains that bind your heart and allow yourself to move forward. Just as I enjoyed the red maple tree outside my window, you too can enjoy the pleasures He has created for you. A life overflowing with peace and joy are so much better than the alternative.
Let’s bow in prayer:
Lord, my desire is not to hold onto those former things that have kept my mind bound in bitterness, offense, anger, and anything else that causes negative thoughts. I want freedom so that I can keep my mind open to the things you desire for me. In my weakness I cannot let go, but by Your power those haunting memories of the past will be exchanged for good memories. I desire freedom because of You. I will purpose to keep my mind set on You and Your goodness in my life. I will choose not to remember the former things, but instead thank you for the freedom, peace, and joy you give me. Thank You Lord for setting me free. Amen.