Monday, January 23, 2017

How Not to Get Caught Up in the Past

with guest Rachelle Dekker. 

Memories are a tricky thing. You will be going about your day normally when a smell, or song, or image, or thought will drop from out of nowhere and draw you back to a place you’ve been before. A recollection of a moment lived, either filled with joy or filled with dread. And if the memory is strong enough, it can be hard not to get stuck there. 

People say, “Our pasts are part of what defines us.” The choices we’ve made, the reactions we’ve had, and the roads we’ve traveled. And I would say those people are right, that where we come from is important to where we are currently. But what if your past is haunting you? Can you actually be free of those memories? 

The last couple of years I have been on a journey to really understanding forgiveness. 



Deeper still, how forgiveness relates to identity. How it relates to me. Because one thing has become very clear to me: we are all really good at holding on to the past. 

I am the oldest of four, which means I have three younger siblings with the uncanny ability to remember all the terrible things I did to them when we were young. And trust me, I was a terror. I was the oldest! It was my way or the highway! You know, typical firstborn syndrome. And even though we four are all adults now, and they have grown with me and seen me change and relax, there are still moments when one of them will react to me as if I’m the same bossy 12-year-old sister who threatened to lock them in a closet if they didn’t do what I demanded. 

It’s funny and playful now. They are just teasing me—getting back at me, so to speak—for all the torture, and I know that. But that doesn’t stop the tiny voice inside my head from reciting the familiar lies of shame. You should have done better. Gosh, you really failed at that. You should be ashamed and embarrassed. They’ll never really forgive you for that. You probably know the lies I’m talking about. I’m willing to bet you have a stash of your own.  

Now, let me just say, this isn’t my siblings’ faults. Actually, it has nothing to do with them at all. The problem isn’t with how others view me; the problem is with how I view myself. The issues are within my own mind, within my own perspective of who I am. Because—and I’ll say it again—we are really good at holding on to the past. 

Of course, you probably have relationships with people where a bridge has been burned and regardless of how you’ve tried, they refuse to let the past die. And unfortunately, I have yet to discover a way to make other people forgive you. So let’s set that piece aside and instead focus on what I believe is much stronger: forgiving yourself. 

Forgiving yourself is actually pretty simple. It’s just letting go. Letting go of the past, of the fear, the shame, the lies of doubt. Letting go of the idea that you can be less than, or inadequate. Letting go and returning to the truth of who you are.

I don’t know each of you personally, but I know what follows is true of you all. You are enough, you are capable, you are strong and fearless, you are beautiful and smart and kind, and you are worth more than you believe. I know that’s true of each of you because it is true of me, and we are the same. 

It is surprisingly hard to remember that truth when our minds are clouded with the memories of the past. Because just like I’m sure you are more awesome than you think, I’m also sure that you have the hardest time letting yourself off the hook. And that shapes the way we view ourselves. And the way we view ourselves shapes the way we view the world, but that is probably an idea for another article at a different time.

Today let’s just keep it simple. How do we let go of the past? Of the lies and the memories that haunt us? We practice forgiving ourselves. We practice giving ourselves grace. We practice remembering our worth and value. We practice remembering our truth. If you want to be free, then set yourself free! Let go of the lies of inadequacy and embrace where you are now. In this moment. 

I’m a big believer in “everything happens for a reason.” So all those moments from before got you here, but you don’t have to live in the past. And those moments that got you here don’t have to define where you are going. We’re in a new year, people! The past is behind us, so leave it behind. 

Imagine if you could embrace each new moment without the baggage of the ones in the past. If you gave yourself grace and forgiveness to step into the new memories free of the lies that held you before. Wouldn’t that be something? 

I believe you can. I believe I can. I’m working on it, at least. Spending a couple moments at the beginning of each day remembering who I am and letting go of the past. The transformation doesn’t happen overnight, and I still get stuck often, but I can feel a change coming! 


What about you? Maybe you’ve been traveling a similar road and have found a way to give yourself grace. I’d love to hear about it. Or maybe you just need somewhere to say, “Yep, that’s me, needing to learn to let it go.” I believe this is a safe place for that too. Speak out! I’ll stand with you wherever you are, because we are all the same.

We’re just learning to let it go and forgive ourselves. Learning to let the past be the past, learning to give ourselves grace, learning to love ourselves. And doing that—well, that might change the world.  

Rachelle Dekker

The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Her latest book and the final installment in the Seer series, The Returning, released on January 17, 2017 from Tyndale House Publishers.



Please join Seekerville, as we welcome Rachelle back to celebrate the release of the final book in the Seer series. Leave a comment for an opportunity to win a print copy. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.




The Returning

Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace”—one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.


But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned—a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil.

105 comments :

  1. Welcome back to Seekerville, Rachelle. You are THE RETURNING. Pun intended.

    This post so embraces our mission statement for 2017. Don't look how far you have to go. Look at how far you've come.

    It's so easy to let the past dog our days. Thanks for this encouragement!

    And congratulations on the release of the finale book in your series.

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  2. Hi Rachelle:

    When you measure life by how long you have lived, the past has one meaning; but when the poles reverse and you being measuring life by how many years you have left, then the past can become a welcome refuge, a land of fading victories and the home of loved ones still smiling as an after-image through the mists of nostalgia.

    Forgiving yourself is like paying the money back you borrowed from yourself. It doesn't change the balance sheet; it just changes how we think about the balance sheet.

    Love.
    Love with all your heart and soul.
    Love subsumes forgiveness.
    God is love.

    =====

    I think the above may be a poem. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to figure out what it may mean.

    Thanks for inspiring me.

    Vince

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    1. VINCE SAID: "When you measure life by how long you have lived, the past has one meaning; but when the poles reverse and you being measuring life by how many years you have left, then the past can become a welcome refuge, a land of fading victories and the home of loved ones still smiling as an after-image through the mists of nostalgia."

      I swear, Vince, you are a true philosopher born in the wrong era. Aristotle could have used your wisdom and wit!!

      Beautifully said and thought out!

      Hugs,
      Julie

      Forgiving yourself is like paying the money back you borrowed from yourself. It doesn't change the balance sheet; it just changes how we think about the balance sheet.

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  3. Yeah, I do see me in your post Rachelle. It is so hard to let go of the past or things of the past. I'm in a period right now where I spend a lot of time in the past with my mom. She's not doing very well and I look at her and just wish I had "my mom" back.

    Thank you for the inspiration of your post.

    Blessings
    Cindy W.

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    1. My heart goes out to you, Cindy! I know the feeling.

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    2. Always so hard to see loved ones age. Covering you both with prayer, Cindy!

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  4. Rachelle, welcome back! Congrats on your newest release. What a great way to wrap up a story line. As a major league geek Star Wars fan, I loved when the avenging child appears.... Which made me a big fan of The Force Awakens last year!

    Self-forgiveness is a huge thing, isn't it? And self-awareness, seeing ourselves as we truly are.

    Great topics for a busy Monday!

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    1. Thanks Ruth! Yes, seeing ourselves as we truly are is one of the most important things we can learn.

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  5. Welcome, Rachelle! I've never been one who's gotten hung up on the past. I believe all of the experiences have made me who I am today, and I'm at peace with that. Thanks for this encouraging post!

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  6. Hi Rachelle! I enjoyed this post, and it's all so true. It took me a long time to get over tragic events of my past and now that I'm on the other side, so to speak, I rarely look back.

    Someone once told me to treat our pasts the same way we drive. We typically spend 5% of our time looking back through the rearview mirror and the rest of our time (hopefully) looking through the much larger windshield.

    So, I don't spend too much time visiting my past. What can it change?
    Congratulations on your newest release!

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    1. Wow. I like that a lot, Josee.

      "Someone once told me to treat our pasts the same way we drive. We typically spend 5% of our time looking back through the rearview mirror and the rest of our time (hopefully) looking through the much larger windshield."

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    2. Great analogy, Josee! Because I think sometimes we do need that "5% of the time" for looking behind us just to remind ourselves how far we've come and so that we don't take too much for granted.

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    3. JOSEE!!! LOVE the rear-view mirror analogy, my friend!! I am definitely a rear-view gal.

      The funny thing is, I am also a shift-hoverer type of gal. When I learned to drive, I had a stick shift, so my hand would always hover over it, back and forth in nervous habit while I drove. Based on your theory, not only am I a bad driver (my husband refuses to let me drive ever and my girlfriends at work never wanted me to drive to lunches), but I'm a very nervous one too. ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    4. I love that, too, Jossee! Thanks for sharing. It's so true.

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    5. What a great analogy, Josee! I'll be pondering that one . . . .especially every time I drive. ;)

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    6. "The past is never dead. It's not even past." William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun.

      The past is not a place or a location. The past is the set of memories that enable humans to have a concept of being a person. If you could not remember anything that happened more than a second ago, you would have no concept of who you are or even what you are. There would be no sense of being an individual that continues through time. The past exists so that you can exist.

      You wrote: "So, I don't spend too much time visiting my past. What can it change?"

      As you gain in wisdom and in the ways of the world you may visit the past with a different frame of reference which might totally change the meaning of a past event and thus change who you are in the present. If one believes that the past is dead and gone, then many potential hopeful doors in the future are closed.

      Yes, look forward, look backwards, look sideways, but above all: be present.

      Vince

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    7. As you gain in wisdom and in the ways of the world you may visit the past with a different frame of reference which might totally change the meaning of a past event and thus change who you are in the present. If one believes that the past is dead and gone, then many potential hopeful doors in the future are closed.

      This is what I find, Vince. Visiting the past is not always a bad thing ... with a different frame of reference, visiting the past can be freeing. That said, the key word is 'visit' :-)

      Nancy C

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  7. Thanks for joining us today, Rachelle. Congratulations on your new book!

    I needed God's help to let go of past mistakes and sins. He's forgiven me. I think these past mistakes make me easier to approach in some ways. I try not to judge others because I know how easy it is to sin. I don't dwell on the past, but it definitely humbled me. And in the end I think God desires a humble (and grateful) heart. Does that make sense?

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    1. Hello Jackie, yes that makes perfect sense. Great point here!

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  8. The interesting thing that not everyone gets about the past..especially one with a lot of tragedy or drama or bumps is how thoroughly Jesus wipes things clean.

    Sometimes I mention my past and get sympathetic or even wide eyed looks and I have to remember, yes that is my past, but truly it's as though I am telling you a story about another person. Jesus so lovingly and completely replaced any pain with his loving presence. It's almost weird...well not for me, but to try to explain it to someone else.

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    1. That is so great you're able to do that w/your past. When in an emergency situation, my brains does that. I don't panic because it's like I'm looking in on someone's problem instead of "being" in it myself.

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    2. Tina, I think that's amazing. Thanks for that reminder that He lovingly and completely replaces the pain.

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    3. I think you explain it beautifully.... and that causes the wide-eyed wonder. Strength begets strength.

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    4. I love how God wipes clean our past too. In my case, it wasn't choices I made so much as things that happened to me as a girl (nothing as bad as physical abuse, etc, but devastating to the self-image in formative years kinds of stuff). The lies that integrated into how I saw myself have taken decades to work through. The beautiful thing is, as I've learned to let God into those places, He's erasing the lies and helping me to see myself through His eyes. I love that sort of wiping clean too. :)

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    5. Lovely, Jeanne. Thanks for sharing!

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    6. Beautifully put Jeanne! Seeing ourselves the way He sees us! Imagine how much the world would change if we could do this more often?

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    7. Tina said ... yes that is my past, but truly it's as though I am telling you a story about another person.

      Exactly! If I mention the past is as if I'm talking about another person, the looks I receive are majorly confused -- maybe they're worried I have a multiple personality problem :-)

      Nancy C

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  9. Rachelle, I'm a firstborn of four siblings, boy can I relate to your lock in the closet theme. Ha. That grabbed me right away. I believe we carry that responsibility for our siblings our whole life. And I believe in karma too. Everything happens for a reason. Now on to past mistakes
    Life is too short to Not let stuff go. Prayer is a great way to talk to God and ask for forgiveness and come to term with your own past. mistakes. A fresh start each year influences our life and goals. Sometimes things that happened can be talked out and laughed about too, years later. It's a matter of the comfort level you establish as an adult. Thanks for sharing. Good luck on your book. I hope you "Return" and write another column for us someday. I really enjoyed this one.

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    1. Thanks Suzanne! It's good to hear other older siblings understand my pain!

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  10. I wonder how many of us first born are here in Seekerville. Okay, I'm a first born. But I don't remember tormenting the sibs. I was always hiding with my face in a book. LOL. I obviously missed some really good opportunities.

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    1. LOL ... I'm about as far from first-born as you can get ... #12 out of 13. The first ten were born in 12 years, then there was a 2-3 year difference in the last three, and I wasn't even the first born of THAT segment of my family! Middle child allllllll the way!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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    2. Tina, I'm firstborn and my sister still gives me a hard time for how I treated her. She told my kids recently about some of the things I did, and I was so embarrassed! I wish I'd had my nose in a book instead! :)

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    3. LOL, Missy. Maybe I am blocking it out. Must text my brother.

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    4. I'm a first born. My sisters always called me, "Miss Perfect" because I rarely got in trouble. :) I probably did some things to my siblings, but I was never brave enough to lock them in closets or anything. ;)

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  11. I'm the youngest of 5 kids. My oldest 2 sisters used to read a lot too. The middle sibling, also a sister, used to convince me and my brother to go knock their bedroom door while they were reading and then RUN! We'd do it. My oldest sister just kept reading, but the next one was way more tenacious. She'd chase us for a long ways. So much fun!

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    1. Wow, Connie. What an adventure to be the baby of 5!

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  12. Good morning RACHELLE, What a timely post for a Monday. I was Not At All A Nice Person before I was a Christian, and I beat myself up for years, even after giving my life to Christ. Which is a form of trying to attain salvation by works, even after you know He came to set us free from that. And I did some terrible things, don't ask. It wasn't until I was in my late 50s that I began to really understand what He did for me, and that I could finally forgive myself. Heavy stuff for a Monday. One of the things that happened along the way was, God began to point out to me the things I got right.
    We are all broken people and this life is a rehearsal/homework for the next one.
    All the characters in all my books seem to struggle with this, with letting go of the past and what they were. I think particularly of Michael, the Irish Cowboy in my Oregon Trail story. And it's a huge issue for the heroine in my current WIP, who blames herself for a horrific childhood. This is so true of human nature.
    Please put my name in the drawing.
    Kathy Bailey

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  13. Did I mention that What's Said in Seekerville, Stays in Seekerville?

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  14. I've been trying to figure out what Elise from The Returning would bring to Seekerville for the breakfast spread. I decided that no matter what the time period, some things are enduring and timeless.

    Such as cinnamon rolls and croissants with chocolate inside. So help yourselves.

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    1. Stuffed croissants cross millenia and inter-galactic travel.

      Yes. Timeless. :)

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  15. RACHELLE, welcome back to Seekerville! Thanks for this inspiring post! I was the middle child, a bridge of sorts between my sometimes warring brothers. The older one did like to run the show. :-)

    I've been told that because of the "sign" I was born under that I'm a critical perfectionist. I do see truth in this two-word definition. Your advice to give ourselves grace and see our value is exactly what we all need.

    Congratulations on the release of the final book in your Seerer series.

    Janet

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    1. I forgot to clarify that I'm a critical perfectionist of myself. We all need to see ourselves as God sees us.

      Janet

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  16. Rachelle, I can so relate to you. I think part of it is when our narrative gets messed up. We've always believed something about ourselves, something that made us, well, us. And then when that changes or is challenged, it can leave us doubting who we are.

    I just did an awful job of explaining what I mean. Anyway, I enjoyed your post.

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    1. No you didn't, I completely understand what you're saying. We often times form identities with the lies we believe, can letting go means facing hard questions like, "Well then who am I really?"

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  17. Rachelle, I just want to wrap up in these words. So wonderful! Thank you for sharing today.

    Your books sound great. Looking forward to checking them out.

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  18. Welcome back, Rachelle! There's so much wisdom here, and I love the conversations your post is inspiring in Seekerville today.

    I still have unpleasant memories--things I did, things others did to me--that come back to bite me from time to time. This is a good reminder to simply acknowledge them, forgive (again, if necessary), and let them go.

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  19. Hello Rachelle! Congrats on your release of The Returning. I so appreciate this post! I still struggle with my past. I hope that I am getting better in letting it go and trusting in the Lord.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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  20. Welcome back, Rachelle!
    SO much wisdom in Seekerville - - both from our guests and from the commenters - - Wow! Thank you for sharing with us today, and a big CONGRATS on your release of The Returning.
    Also happy to see you have a cat! :)
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo (CatMom) ;)

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    1. Cat Peeps Unite. It's the only thing keeping me on Facebook. Cute Cat Videos.

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  21. HEY, RACHELLE, WELCOME BACK TO SEEKERVILLE, GIRL -- and, WOW, what a GREAT post, parsing perception down to size!

    My husband always tells me I am my own worst critic and that I need to "cut myself some slack." I want to, and I try to, but you're right -- it's not an overnight journey.

    You said: "I’m also sure that you have the hardest time letting yourself off the hook. And that shapes the way we view ourselves. And the way we view ourselves shapes the way we view the world."

    WOW. That is SO very true! When I am down on myself, not only can I NOT write with any type of fluidity, but I find the world to be a very gloomy place and my life very overwhelming. But ... all it takes is time in prayer or worship or both, or applying spiritual warfare to the situation, and BOOM! I'm back where both God and I want me to be. Most of the time. ;)

    YOU ALSO SAID: "And unfortunately, I have yet to discover a way to make other people forgive you."

    LOL ... I hear you on that one, although I believe there is a way that will work most of the time, or at least it worked for me with my estranged father, who I absolutely hated and didn't see for several years. What changed it? I went from being a bitter and crass agnostic to serving Jesus Christ with my whole heart and soul and WOW, did He effect change in my life forever!

    The first assignment He gave me, however, was to love my dad and forgive him. I bucked like the devil when my prayer partner/mentor told me that, but I did it, and that's the theme and story of my contemporary novel, Isle of Hope. You see, my dad didn't like me anymore than I liked him, but God showed me I needed to not only forgive him and pray for him, but show him love as well. So I called him one day and asked if I could bring his favorite meal to him. He grunted his response, and that kicked off months and months of me going to his house once a week (he was a widower who lived alone except for his dog), bringing the meal, then sitting down and watching TV with him for a few hours. My dad was a staunch German who only talked during commercials, and even then, not much, so trust me, there wasn't much conversation, except in my soul!

    When I would leave each night, I would put my arms around him and tell him I loved him, even though he never once reciprocated -- no hugs, no "I love you too"s. UNTIL the night came when I hugged and kissed him, and I felt his arms slowly -- and oh, so haltingly -- embrace me back. That was the beginning of my father's forgiveness of me and a much deeper and closer relationship with the man whose forgiveness God wanted me to seek. My dad died within that year, and I am forever grateful for a Heavenly Father who allowed me to make amends before it was too late.

    Thanks for a truly beautiful post, Rachelle.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. What a testimony to being obedient, Julie.

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    2. Julie, your testimony brought tears to my eyes. There is such grace in obedience, isn't there?

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    3. JULIE, this is deep and so true. I never got along with my father, my mom used to say we were too much alike. Even after I was a Christian, it was hard. After my mom died I really stepped up my game and prayed about it because he was the only parent I had left, and we had a better relationship in the last quarter of his life and a really sweet one in the last six months of his life, when we knew we were going to lose him. I've never regretted letting go of my pride and having God love him through me. #noregrets

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    4. Julie, I'm so glad you were able to forgive your dad and then reach out with love to him. God was leading you, no doubt. I'm also glad that your dad finally revealed his love for you...another God-given moment.

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    5. Thank you for sharing Julie! So much goodness in all this! Wow.

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    6. Julie as a daughter with her own daddy issues, this touched my soul so deeply. I have a barely there relationship with my dad. I call him and it is a struggle to just talk. This is not all his fault and would take paragraphs to explain. I just wanted to share that you blessed me here. :)

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    7. Hey, Tina, thank you -- it wasn't easy lesson, but it was the first one I learned as a Christian that teach me just how powerful obedience can be.

      Jeanne -- thank you and trust me, it brought tears to my eyes in buckets when it happened and then after, every single time I think about it to this day. That's why I went through a box of Kleenex both writing and editing Isle of Hope ... that and that I am a weepy CDQ! ;)

      Oh, Kathy (Kaybee), I am SO happy to hear that you, too, turned your relationship around with your dad through obedience. Just imagine if we didn't have Christ in our life to heal our hurts and teach us out to live -- gives me cold chills to think about it!

      Thanks, Deb, I'm so glad, too! And, yes, a "God-given moment" for sure!

      Hey, Rachelle -- no, thank YOU for a beautiful post that is truly inspiring.

      Oh, Kelly, that blesses me to no end to know that! I don't know if you have had the chance to read Isle of Hope yet -- which as I mentioned tells the healing story of my estranged dad and I -- but if not, I would love to send you the ebook, so let me know if you would like it, okay? No pressure, though.

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  22. Welcome back, Rachelle! I loved this post. I'm an oldest sibling who was awful to my sister, so I can totally relate to this. Forgiving myself for that and other things has been extremely difficult. I love your words of encouragement. Thank you!

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  23. Oh, wow, Rachelle ... I just saw how long my post above ran, and I apologize!! But not only do I tend to ramble, but Ruthy and I write the longest Seeker posts and I write the longest books (500+ pages), so I am forgiving myself for that and hope you will too!;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Your books are 500 pages long? Seriously? Ruthy too?

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    2. I will admit to the long posts, LOL! I should be my own best policewoman.... but Julie's got me on the books. I love the 80-90K mark for my longer novels, that seems to work for me. I think all three Double S Ranch books are in the 88,000-91000 range....

      But I also love, love, love my shorter books, the Love Inspired and the fun Guidepost mysteries... A whole different arc, but so much fun!

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    3. There is no such thing as "too long" when it's a helpful post like that.
      KB

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    4. Hi Julie:

      Books are long because they are boring. Some of the longest books I ever read were novellas!

      Do people complain because it took longer to eat a heavenly seven course gourmet meal?

      Julie says, "over 500 pages" but I say, "Bon Appétit"! : )

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    5. Chuckling here. So right, Vince. So right.

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    6. Yes, Tina and Ruthy, several of my books are over 500 pages, including Isle of Hope, which is 520. A Passion Most Pure was about 160-170,000 words before I cut it down. ;)

      Thanks, Kaybee -- I couldn't agree more! ;)

      VINCE!!! You never fail to make me smile, my friend. LOVE what you said about "Books are long because they are boring. Some of the longest books I ever read were novellas!" LOL, soooo true!!

      And God bless you, my friend, for comparing my door-stoppers to a "heavenly seven course meal." Now I'm hungry ... ;)

      I just told my hubby that you are one of the smartest, most philosophical human beings I've had the privilege to know. I am grateful we are friends. :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  24. Welcome back, Rachelle! Congratulations on the release of the final book in your Seer series!

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  25. Many years ago, my husband's grandfather stood up to testify at a New Year's Eve watch night service at church. We used this time to look back over the year of blessings and/or heartaches and to talk about how we hoped for a better year or wanted to do better in the coming year.

    He got his words tangled up and said, "I want to do better in the past than I have in the future."

    He was embarrassed and we all got a good laugh out of it, but it's stuck with me all these years. We all should strive to "do better" in the future than we have in the past, but sometimes we let the past dictate our future, and we can't get past. So, I'll try to get it right this time...

    I want to do better in the future than I've done in the past.

    Welcome back to Seekerville, Rachelle. And congratulations on the release of The Returning!

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    1. Hi Pam:

      Just remember what is often said: "The past isn't what it used to be."

      Not only can you do better in the future, so can your past!

      Vince

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  26. Oh Rachelle, you're speaking such truth and with such passion. I've spent years of my life trying to overcome the lies that have trailed me since I was a girl. "You're not enough." "You're less-than." "People don't like you because of _____ about you."

    God has been speaking truth across those lies, re-recording truth messages on the walls of my mind. Your post today is spot on. It's such a long work (at least for me) of learning to live in truth, learning to forgive my own short comings and learning to see my past through God's eyes, rather than the filter that covered my own for so many years.

    I'm so glad you posted on this today!

    Congratulations on the release of your newest book!

    I'd love to be in the drawing for it.

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    1. Jeanne, YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH! And you are entered! XXXXX

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    2. Wounds we accept as truth in our youth are often the most difficult to heal. Thanks for sharing, Jeanne! You are beautiful!

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    3. This is beautiful Jeanne! May you only continue to learn how worthy you are, and see yourself through HIS eyes!

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  27. Rachelle, this post has such great advice.

    I loved what you said, “A recollection of a moment lived, either filled with joy or filled with dread. And if the memory is strong enough, it can be hard not to get stuck there.”

    So true!! Music has a way of dragging me through memory lane and for sure, there’s some times I wanna get off the ride!

    The past is always trying to drag me down. I may have to write it into a story and kill it off. Giggle. I do struggle with letting go of the "shoulda, coulda, woulda's" but I do believe God's in control and if He's not up there wringing His hands in frustration at me, then I shouldn't be either. Right? Right!
    Easier said than done some days. I have to remind myself, it’s hard to drive a car when you’re only looking in the rearview mirror.

    Thank you for being here today. I’m soooo looking forward to reading your books. Have been a fan of your father’s forever too. Sorry, had to throw that in there.

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    1. Music and scents do it for me.

      Give me a good whiff of homemade pasta and I am on Oak Street in Buffalo, NY on my grandma's second floor porch beneath a tree with giant chestnuts and the kids in the street are playing ball. I wish I knew how special those memories were then.

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  28. Good afternoon, Rachelle! Thank you for a terrific and much needed post this January morning. I keep a notebook of encouragement in Evernote, and this post is definitely going in it.

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    1. What a wonderful idea, Meghan. Seriously, I keep a notebook where I rewrite inspiring parts of sermons but this is brilliant. And no rewriting.

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  29. I always beat myself up over things I've done - whether that are long past or yesterday. I have a hard time forgiving myself. I have to repeat "I'm forgiven" an infinite amount of times every time some memory pops up and I feel the shame.
    Thanks for a great post reminding me not to dwell on the past, but to be able to take what has happened and use it to help guide the future.
    Congrats on your latest release and again, sharing with Seekerville.

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    1. p.s. I'm a middle child. Older brother tried refereeing my younger brother and me, but he didn't like us turning on him. He finally told us to just fight it out and he'd explain the bodies to mom when she got home. *ha*

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    2. Blessed are the peacemakers. Aren't those the middle kids?

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  30. Rachelle, your blog is what my heroes and heroines struggle with in the stories I write. Past wounds, brokenness, not being able to forgive others, to forgive themselves and to forgive God. Fiction mirrors life and so many struggle with those same issues.

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    1. I believe fiction is often a reflection of the author who is writing it. All of my novels deal with identity in one form or another. Writing it out, through my characters, helps me process and learn truth about myself in a dramatic way.

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  31. The healing of memories is a powerful way to revisit the past, to place Christ in the midst of the pain and see the truth through his loving gaze...and then to feel his forgiveness and mercy.

    As an aside, even though we ask forgiveness of God and we receive that forgiveness, we might need to make reparation for our mistakes. It's the old story about a kid breaking a neighbor's window. The child asks forgiveness from the neighbor and is forgiven...yet, he still needs to pay for the broken pane. So sometimes, when we struggle with accepting the fact that we are truly forgiven, we might need to see how we can make reparation to the person or persons we hurt. It can even be in a pay-it-forward way. When we ask God to heal us of a painful memory, He often reveals the steps we need to take to forgive ourselves and truly accept his forgiveness.

    Forgive me if I'm getting too deep, but I frequently reflect on forgiveness. It is so very important, yet it can often be a stumbling block...

    Peace and healing to all!

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    1. I agree. I stopped and counted, every single book I've written has forgiveness at the core. Self forgiveness, accepting forgiveness or forgiving others.

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    2. I've seen that in your books, Tina, and I appreciate it.

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    3. I've written several about forgiveness as well. It seems to be one of my themes.

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  32. Congratulations on your latest book, Rachelle. Thank you for a thought-filled, identifiable, sharing post.

    Nancy C

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  33. Hmm.... first borns tend to be bossy for good reason. They often have to assume responsibility for others at a young age.... I'm bossy and I'm 7th born, so I have no excuse.... :)

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    1. Hmmm, in scripture the number 7 means perfection. Just sayin'! :)

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  34. Thank you for your post Rachelle. Forgiveness has been a running theme in my life for so many years. God has released me in many ways, but it seems there is always work to be done.
    About 11 years ago after moving away from an abusive relationship, I found myself on my little daybed just going over all the pain in my life and slowly forgiving each and every person an incident that came to mind. I asked God again and again to show me what needed to be forgiven. It was painful and wonderful, and I got a lot out and a lot was forgiven. Every now and then something will appear and I do the work again. Funny thing is I really haven't done that for myself.

    I hate on myself for where I am now. I hate on myself for where my son is now. I mean he would be a lot better off if I was a better mom who didn't get gaffed up in an abusive relationship right or if I at the very least had it all together.

    Ahhh there is more work to be done. Thank you for this truly. Time to love myself enough to forgive myself.

    xoxo (and I mean that) :)

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  35. Kelly, envision Christ looking at you with eyes of love. You are his beloved! Breathe in that reality and accept it as truth. You know the saying that God doesn't make junk...well, it's true. Plus, none of us has it all together. We'll all works in progress.

    Hugs and love!

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement Debby. :) You blessed me deeply.

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  36. Hugging you, Kelly! I remind people often of these words in the back of my Bible dated 12/18/1999. The devil will always have you look at how far you have to go. But you look at every step you've taken along the way.

    PTL for the steps you have taken Kelly!

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement Tina. :) xoxo

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  37. Great post Rachelle, I think this is something we can all relate to. My personal experience was when I had to forgive someone else and was told to pray for them every day. That taught me how to forgive and soon I just applied it to myself as well.
    Thanks again for joining us and hope you continue to have a terrific day.

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    1. There's nothing like the power of prayer! :)

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  38. Excellent topic and such a tough one to tackle. I've been grappling with forgiveness lately from the flip side othe coin. Truly let go of those old hurts.

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  39. Thanks for a great post. Learning to let go and to forgive one's self is sometimes much harder than forgiving others!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  40. Thanks for a great post. Learning to let go and to forgive one's self is sometimes much harder than forgiving others!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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