Turn the Page

Are you tempted to live in the past? Do you need permission to let go of a heartache, transgression, or even just a silly mistake? You not only have permission but are commanded to look forward!

“Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

“…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

I have a tendency to ruminate over my past mistakes. Lying in bed at night, I often replay situations and conversations, worrying I might have missed an opportunity or inadvertently offended someone. Even more distressing to me are the memories of my blatant failure and sin. God never asked me to beat myself up mentally, but only to confess, repent, and move on. 

If you are like me and the word repentance makes you squirm or even cringe, then maybe some clarification would be helpful. After all, God says that His commandments are not burdensome (I John 5:2-3). Repentance simply means to turn around. It does not mean to confess the same sin over and over in grief and despair. We simply tell God we were wrong and go the other way. His forgiveness is always available and was fully secured when Jesus became the final sacrifice for sins.

“After the suffering of His soul He will see and be satisfied; by His knowledge My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.”

Isaiah 53:11 (NIV)

My sister likes to say, “turn the page!” Sometimes a simple picture like this helps me grasp a truth. In a moment when I am tempted to torment myself for not measuring up, I visualize turning a page in a book and it truly helps me let go.  Hanging on to unforgiveness toward yourself or others eats away at the abundant life promised to us through Jesus Christ. 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (NASB)

Forgetting the past comes more easily for some personalities than others, but we can all move forward with God’s help. It takes faith to let yourself and others off the hook and God’s Word is filled with promises of forgiveness and healing available through Jesus Christ.

My sister (the one who reminds me to “turn the page!)” happens to be a talented poet. Please enjoy her poem that illuminates the needless anguish of self-condemnation in light of the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


By Jennifer Galey

The stained glass walls are colored
with the turbulence of suffering.
Inside the temple questions rise
above the serenity of the steeple.
Murals of dappled saints stare
with their round anguished eyes
through the sculpture of my soul.

Kneeling low on trembling knees,
I light a candle to illuminate
the nameless carcass of sin.
With a gasp of shameful recognition,
I confess the face is my own
before shrinking into the stretched
shadows of bereavement.

I lean in to decorate Your living altar
with a dozen flowering prayers of penance.
The exhale of my unbelief has tainted
the fragrance of Your sacrament.
Beneath the blood warm silence,
I oscillate inside the casket
embodied by my own hesitance.

Dripping wax falls from candelabras
like condemnation on my clammy hands.
Gleaming thoughts of accusation flicker
before flaming into vain imaginations.
I ask you if I am alone—
My stony voice echoes inside
the coldness of my hollow heart.

I search for a pulse of dying faith
in the darkness of this empty space
where I presumed You would reside.
With red-rimmed eyes, I limply walk
down the center aisle where I collide
with two bright angels You have sent
to guard the resurrection of Your reply.

Happy New Year!

*Photo credit: Clay Clark

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Hope for the COVID Fatigued

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi’s quote has always resonated with me, but especially now as we near the end of 2020. I have never been so ready for the New Year, illustrated by the fact that our Christmas decorations are already back in the attic. COVID fatigue is a real thing. Not one person has escaped the exhausting effects of this pandemic. The initial perks of a quieter, less hurried lifestyle have long since been overshadowed by isolation and uncertainty.

We have each experienced dozens of small changes that add up and weigh us down. Social distancing means less hugs and conversations with strangers. As we wear our masks we miss exchanging smiles. My daughter and I have joked that people must think we are staring them down while we are smiling at them under our masks! Much heavier is the burden for those who have lost jobs and loved ones to the virus. Before I add to our COVID fatigue, I will get to some good news!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

We are generally comforted when we connect with someone who has gone through a similar difficulty but this year has robbed us of that kind of human reassurance. Although none of us has successfully reached the other side of this pandemic, we can all have peace with God through Jesus Christ, and receive comfort and courage from His Word and Holy Spirit. One such comforting passage tells us that everyone gets weary and tired, but God does not.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

God is not fatigued by 2020. We can trust that He will supply strength and refreshment to us even in our wilderness. He proved this time and time again in His Word. 

“When the poor and needy search for water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”  Isaiah 41:17-18 (ESV)

God has given us Himself through the person of Jesus Christ and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we put our trust in Him as our Savior. In His interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus tells her, “…’Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NASB)

The Person of the Holy Spirit dwells inside of believers and produces inner strength and joy that is available regardless of what is going on around us. Peace rules inside, making no logical sense to those around us or even to ourselves.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

I would be lying to you if I told you that I have experienced only peace in my heart in 2020. When my weakness as a human being gets in the way and I take my eyes off Jesus, I panic just like Peter did (Matthew 14:25-31). However, I have an enduring hope, just like Mary did, and no one can take that away from me (Luke 10:42). We can all have this hope by faith.

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

As we wait for the restoration of community and the warmth of smiles and hugs, we can still soar like eagles on the inside, knowing that the God, the One who does not fatigue, loves us and is for us.

Happy New Year!

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