Psalm 103:1-4 (NLT)
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
To be totally honest, I just want to forget the sorrow, hardship and grieve the last three years of our life. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Most days I try desperately to push it to the farthest recesses of my mind. But the moment I see his picture sitting across my desk or on my dresser, it all comes flooding back. When I try to remember something I should know, only to realize I wasn’t here when it happened it is clear. Dates on the calendar like a wave building in the sea, I stand on the shore watching and waiting for it to crash over me. I know how to swim. I have figured out how to float to the surface when the current is too strong. It is not a matter of survival. Why is this anniversary proving to be so difficult? The only thing that I can think of is that it is the first one passing that our son is not in active treatment. It will be the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer that I will not be Christmas shopping with the infusion nurses while he gets chemo. Praise God! But it does not change the fact that as each day moves closer to the three-year mark, I feel such a heaviness in my heart. Why can’t I forget Lord and just move on? Why does it have to continuously play in my mind or minimally distracted by life? I don’t want to be in this place any longer. We survived this ordeal. Can we please just move on?
Lamentations 3:19-23 (NLT)
The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.
Each day as I reflect on the status updates posted on Facebook, I cannot help but remembering the suffering. Our son was so sick, but never ever did I think or imagine that it would turn out to be something as horrible as cancer. This is not what God meant when He promised to do more than I could ever think or imagine, and the enemy was quick to question my beliefs in that moment. Believing has not been the issue. Though quite small, my trust had potential that God knew that was there. The thought of suffering is bitter for sure. I will never forget this awful time but I want to desperately. When I was young, my parents divorced. They were just children themselves. My brother and I endured some very difficult thing while in the care of others that have all been erased from my memory. Some surfaced later in my life, but for the most part I only remember bits and pieces of my elementary years. The fog clears giving way to clarity somewhere around junior high and high school when things began to settle down and change for the better. I believe it was the Holy Spirit and a buffer that God put around me so I would survive those years with my faith intact. So many situations that could have turned out terribly, when God delivered us. I know that He saved us but I cannot remember the details vividly just abstractly. The trauma of our son having cancer seems to have left an indelible mark on my heart, mind and spirit. I have asked the Lord to use His Grace to remove it, but it still remains vivid and quite clear. I still grieve the loss of my so-called normal life. YET! I kind of like that conjunction. It is my constant reminder. Yet means at the present time. It also means up to that time AND in the time still remaining. Before this happened, while it was happening and long after it is over…yet (though, still and nevertheless) I still have hope…when I remember this… There is purpose in my remembrance and a reason that the Lord will not let me forget. His Faithful Love remains forever. His Faithfulness is forever. His Mercies never cease. I must remember so that I will not forget.
Isaiah 43:18-20 (NLT)
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and owls, too, for giving them water in the desert. Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland so my chosen people can be refreshed.”
When I read this verse, it begins by saying forget all that. Doesn’t that mean to move on, get over, go past it, and press on because that is exactly what I am trying to do Lord. I want to survive this situation and just get on with my life. There are no hard feelings. I am not upset. I give glory, praise and admiration for you have indeed heal and delivered our son. I am thankful that you provided everything that we needed along the way to make it. You are a good God. You are faithful, loving and true. Surely these are not words from a hard heart or devastated soul, just a thankful servant. But the Lord did not create me, call me or save me to just survive. I was made to prosper and succeed. Is there something that I am missing in my hurry to get through? Something so impressive that only God can do but I must still pick up on.
The Children of Israel are reminded frequently not to forget all that happened in the wilderness. God led them through the wilderness with all its poisonous snakes and scorpions yet they were not harmed. He provided manna (a food they had never eaten also called angel food) that just fell from the sky all around them as God began to change their hunger so they would crave a relationship with the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:15-16) How could they forget the Lord their God in all His Goodness? Oh don’t worry they did. God was showing them His Mercy. He wanted them to see that He would never abandon them even in the wilderness. (Deuteronomy 4:31) The purpose – so that each generation would set their hope anew in God. (Psalm 78:1-4) I get it. I do have faith that has born confident hope. I do believe. I know that God is good and His Faithfulness is forever … but Lord can I please just forget this awful time.
Isaiah 54:9-10 (NLT)
“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
God’s Mercy has allowed me to enter a covenant of blessing with Him. In that covenant, He has promised to make good out of every detail of my life. (Romans 8:28) Rushing out of this season or erasing if from my memory could prevent me from having all that God has purposed to give me after the storm. We survived. That is enough for my soul who knows all of its faults and imperfections that humbly accepts what the Lord has done because I know me. But the Lord says, “Forget the past…all that mess that was washed into the Sea of Forgetfulness and focus on me today.” I am not finished yet. My Mercy is not done. The Covenant of Blessing not satisfied. My son died for you to have it…
Mercy is God’s Kindness, Compassion and Favor. Not just any favor, but Divine Favor that can only be imparted by our Creator. It means Divine Blessing. His Compassionate and kind forbearance of all my sin allows me to be satisfied according to the Covenant of Blessing. While I focus on surviving the Lord presses for me to thrive. Though I long to forget the past, as I want to press toward the mark of the High Calling of God. The Lord is reminding me today that I must finish the race to receive the prize. (Philippians 3:12-14) I want to be all that He purposed and planned for me to be and that includes accepting His Mercy, Kindness and Favor. I am a Child of God who chooses to serve Him. Not a child forced into servitude. I know me and have a hard time accepting more when He has done so very much. I want to forget and just move on but God wants to bless me. Rather than moving away from the mirror and forgetting, He invites me to step a little closer and see what He is doing in me so I can reflect His Love to all. (James 1:24-25) I may never forget all that has transpired as much as I think it would be a relief. There is purpose and meaning here yet to be discovered as painful as it may be.
Psalm 116:4-9 (NLT)
Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!
As I continue to reflect all that has happened in the last three years, it still is difficult. I know now there is a reason why I cannot make myself forget. Rather than struggling to do so, I must strive to know Him more and be receptive to all that He is showing me through this painful process. My life will never be the same. I have come through the wilderness and now live on the other side. I must learn to prosper in this place although it seems unnatural and a bit foreign at times. God is changing me each day to live in His Presence forever. It may be uncomfortable. Some days it even produces tears. But it will be worth it to live and never forget all that He has done for me and accepting all that He wants to do because of it. I will never deserve all that God has done for me. But I am so very thankful that His New Mercy meets me in each morning. It was there before trouble came. It stayed with us in the darkness. Now it gives way to new light! God is good all that time and all the time He is good. Today He is whispering – “Forget Me Not!”
Psalm 28:6-7 (NLT)
Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Psalm 123:1-2 (NLT)
I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven. We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.