We live in a fallen world.
And sometimes bad things happen.
Sometimes there are stories that are more nightmare than goodness,
more horror than love,
more hatred than kindness.
Sometimes a story turns gut-wrenching. These are the stories that haunt. If we let them, they can hold us back, pin us down, and keep us from a life well-lived.
Sometimes there are parts of our stories that we need to forget. As much of a believer as I am in story, it might come as a surprise that I also believe in forgetting.
It’s not forgetting like locking it in a box and letting is mold and fester and grow ugly. Rather it is choosing to let it go and blow it away. Our stories are as much about what we let go of as they are what we hold on to.
It’s about choosing to survive. It’s about choosing to live. It’s about choosing to be a blessing.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to forget. Often in order to forget we have to look heartache and hurt and horror in the eyes. We have to walk right up to it and face it. We have to work it through our brains before we can heal.
But at some point, we forget.
As a mom to children who have some tough stories, it’s hard to know what stories I should keep for them and what stories I should let go. How do I know what matters and what can be forgotten? They aren’t my stories. And yet, I am responsible for holding their stories. They are wrapped so tightly around my own. Sometimes their stories suffocate my heart. Sometimes their stories slash my core. Sometimes their stories tear holes through me.
There is no way to make it right. And so they must heal. I pray this for my children who had to live without me for too many years:
Help them to forget what happened before and only remember what they need in order to know God is big and they are precious.
Yes, I pray for them to forget.
Because by forgetting, they will see how The Father protected them until they came home to their earthly parents. They will know how big God is because he can take the nightmare and turn it into goodness for his purpose.
Because by forgetting they will know they are precious. They were plucked off the trail of hardship and given a life overflowing with blessings.
Because by forgetting they quit being victims of unfortunate events and they become survivors.
I look into the eyes of my strong-willed, confident, sweet, zany, kind, loving children and I see an answered prayer. I see hope and strength. Mostly, though, I know if they can overcome the hard part of their stories I can too.
We are survivors. Why survive?
To make the world better for others. We do this by sharing our stories and forgetting the parts we don’t need any longer.
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