Her husband left her eighteen years ago to fend for herself and their children. All the deep pain, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, anger — the cataclyscmic mess she was left to deal with—-has since been taken to the Place of Exchange…. the cross of Christ. With her permission, I am sharing this letter to give hope to BITS readers who may be at a passing season of feeling crushed. You, too, may exchange all your burdens at His cross. Here are excerpts from the letter she sent him last Christmas:
It has been a long time since we communicated, yes, even before 1996 when we parted.
First, let me just ask for your forgiveness. For all the things I said and did and did not say. For my faults and my failures as a wife and mother. For my indifference and my selfishness and my ingratitude. Yes, and for so many more things I may have done to hurt you, things I didn’t even realize caused you pain. Yes, I am very sorry.
I am not asking that you seek forgiveness from me too, because that would mean my apologies are conditional and dependent on your doing the same.
As I look back, I now know that things have a way of correcting themselves, even bringing much good to those who have been caught right in the middle of the storm…I am, again, not laying a guilt trip on you, but suffice it to say that things were very tough for all of us when we were cut off from you. But I choose not to dwell on these, except for the fact that in your absence I found Him who became my father, my provider, my crutch, my deliverer, my encourager, my counsellor, and my hope. We celebrated His birthday yesterday.
Tremendous and countless blessings have come our way since you left. Yes, blessings both tangible and intangible…. and unexplainable joy has been a permanent resident in our home. Of course there were many times when finances were tight, especially when the kids were in college, but that just about summarizes the limit of the trials that we faced. In all other things – peace, joy, family, friends, work, health, needs and desires, ambitions, reputation, opportunites for growth, open doors, a spiritual family – our cup truly overflows! We have been given much and more. And blessings continue to flow, like an unstoppable avalanche.
Our children have grown up to be the kind of persons we had envisioned them to be when they were born… From the time you left, [our son] has steadily grown in maturity, which belied his years as a teenager. You are in touch with him… He was a stalwart for this family when we were crushed and unbelieving… He went about his life, doing the best he could, and so look at him now! So proud am I of him, and I know you are, too! The years have given him the best preparation to lead his own family, which I hope he will one day soon have.
[Our daughter] is so happily married and settled. I am extremely happy for her that she found this man who loves her to the bone. You see, she was the wounded one. She never said much, but she developed a serious hatred for all men, a distaste for relationships, a clouded perception of romance and all that that entailed. For a while, she and I thought that she would remain single all her life. She left years ago basically to find herself, I guess, because maybe she wanted to prove that she could do life on her own. It was one of the most poignant times for me when I watched my baby slowly disappear into the OFW counter in NAIA1 to leave for uncharted land and an uncertain future. I remember, it was a mixture of excitement and fear, and a certain gripping loneliness and sadness for me. You see, she has never really grown up when she’s around me. Even now, she still cups my face or rubs her face in my arm just as how she used to when she was 2 years old, and says out loud for the whole world to hear, “I love you Mama!” All those years away from home molded her into a shining example of the prized jewel she has become. The caring, loving and generous nature is her essence. It should be of no surprise to you that she is intelligent and strong willed, very creative, and street smart. She can go anywhere in the world and be a citizen of it. On a much lighter scale, she is funny, witty, fashionable, chatty, the life of a party ( a party of people she likes, because she is very choosy when it comes to friends) and the instigator of ideas. Add to all that, she is obviously very pretty too!
As for me, I am good. I thank God that He has given me once again, the chance to be productive and creative. These last few days some of my friends have uploaded pictures of their homes all decked out for Christmas, and I still see some of the Christmas decorations that I have made, all still in pristine condition. It made me feel sentimental…oh how time has flown!
So, in a capsule, that’s our state of the nation. Just remember, that what is broken can be made whole. What is dirty can be made clean. Resentment can become forgiveness, but what is covered cannot be healed. Not all wounds are visible. Thus, I write you all this. It is healing for me, to speak out what is in my heart, all bottled up for so many years. But I know that the Cross is always the place of exchange! I am healed, that is why I reach out to heal! In Jesus alone did I find my strength, and myself, again.
Be well, stay blessed!
There was a pulling in my heart as tears rolled down my cheeks to see the things possible only by the grace of a supernatural God… dying to self, laying down one’s pride, choosing to unconditionally forgive, choosing to be grateful, choosing to set the eyes on what is lovely and admirable, pursuing peace, choosing to unconditionally love, the heart transformation that chooses to take the anger, bitterness, jealousy, the cataclysmic mess to the cross of Jesus Christ—-in humility to admit that she needs Him and is willing to receive what He offers: You give Him the mess, He gives you life. To see that He is The Promise Keeper, The Soul Nourisher, The Loving Healer, that He journeys with the brokenhearted to make her cup overflow, to see the Abandoned transform into Abundant right there at the Place of Exchange is to see the hand of God. Beloved, what are you holding on to that you need to give to Him at the foot of His cross? Are you willing to leave those there and take with you the Life He gives in exchange?
Thank you to my dear friend who shared this letter with me.