It was a sunny day and a gentle breeze was blowing. My friend Val and I were riding to the store talking and laughing, catching up on one another’s latest news. I was enjoying the afternoon, having made a conscious decision to relax and rejuvenate. Val suggested we go to the store to get ingredients for her world famous brownie and cookie recipe(I can’t tell you what they are called or anything about them because she might have to kill me..lol) anyway trust me when I say we were about to splurge. Our light banter continued as I followed Val down the well stocked shelves of her neighborhood market, suddenly from the corner of my eye I caught sight of the cutest baby girl I had seen in a long time. I turned in the baby’s direction feeling strangely drawn closer to her. There was something vaguely familiar about her heart shaped face and big brown eyes. “Val look at that precious baby!” I cooed at her as we moved closer to her basket. I had become aware that the child bore a striking resemblance to the youngest of my three children. As we approached the shopping cart that held the adorable little girl I noticed the woman leaning over the frozen goods freezer her hand firmly grasping the side of the cart. As the woman straightened and turned to speak to the child I suddenly lost the use of my lips as I froze with the shock of recognition. It was unequivocably, yes definitely the woman married to my ex-husband. Val says it was only a few seconds …to me ..it seemed an eon before I regained my composure and with a smile on my face greeted her. I graciously introduced his wife and his child to my friend and we moved forward purposefully in pursuit of our craved for items. The checkout line moved slowly and the waiting gave me plenty of opportunity to replay the scenes of his infidelity; the phone calls and hangups I received on our home phone, the mornings he came home late from his graveyard shift, his move into her home shortly after he left ours…the memories were all there and they were wrapped in a layer of anger and bitterness as if to make sure the memories would always remain fresh and intact. My thoughts were interrupted by the need to pay attention as we made our way back to the car and as we finally pulled out of the lot all the emotions I had been controlling gushed out. “Val, I feel like such a loser, she must laugh at me and pity me, she probably thinks poor Angela, still don’t have a man” Val looked at me, eyes wide with surprise and with her usual candor and forthright attitude said “What are you talking about?” ” I thought you exhibited a lot of grace and class!” “Great” I retorted with tears streaming down my face “at least I have class but I still don’t have my man” …Today as I drove down the freeway stereo blasting one of my favorite artists I was suddenly touched by a divine moment of clarity. The artist was singing a dramatic romantic ballad written to her husband about his encouraging love. I was listening to those words truly enjoying and basking in the light of the love she professed for her mate. She proclaimed he loved her from her head to her toes..”You go sistah!” I shouted “Amen brotha, love that woman!” I exclaimed. Surprised at my unbridled joy and celebration of a love that was not mine, I began to search my mind for those packages that had been so tightly sealed for years. Ah! indeed those memories were still there but somehow something had broken through the wrappings of anger and bitterness and had seeped all over the contents of those boxes..yes there it was ….forgiveness……and love. How did that happen I mused. It had been 2 yrs since that day in the grocery store and I still did not have a serious relationship, but what I did have was the ability to give and receive love and a belief that maybe someday……..It has been 8 yrs since I originally wrote these words and I have been allowing God to do the continuous work in my heart that only he can. He does not remove the memories but he definitely removes their ability to hurt me or hinder me in living a purposeful life. In some books or blogs you might be given a formula of how I did this or that and God brought me the perfect relationship as a result of this formula…I can’t tell you that, what I can tell you is the belief that a man in my life is the ultimate criteria of worth and success has been rigorously exorcised from my soul. The belief that the one with the most stuff and the most fans is the winner is daily being washed away by the living word of God. So much of our value as women is connected to who we date, or marry, what we own, how we look and we even have “christian self help ” (this phrase is an oxymoron because the whole point of being a christian is that I realize I can’t perfect myself)books telling us how to get more, be more do more. I want to speak to your heart right now Ladies and I want to say ‘don’t buy in to this lie” you are capable of being whole, full and purposeful without being the perfect size, or having the perfect man and home. Now understand I was a christian believing that I was a loser because I measured myself by the worlds standard of winning and I still struggle with the temptation to do that. Here is the truth all these standards of beauty, success and proof of accomplishment are simply “baggage” ! …..Let it go ….Let it go…Let it go…and you will find the blessing of God in little things, the beauty of God in those who are broken and the triumph of God in those who are free to go where he sends them, love who he sends them and grow where he plants them.
Read Hebrews 12:1-2 and reflect on what weights or “baggage” you may ask God to help you strip away