Hi ladies, I’m Nancy Voyles!
This study so far has challenged me and humbled me, especially reading about bitterness and hardened hearts. But there’s hope in the hard work.
Years ago, someone described me as bitter. Google says bitterness is “anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment.” That wasn’t true about me; I was doing okay.
I realize now “okay” meant getting by, determined never to allow myself to be hurt, which led to a hardened heart.
It started when childhood bullies taunted a chubby little girl (me) and grew to teenage girls spreading untrue rumors, then to adult women being unkind.
Today I can see how the seeds planted from those experiences took root in my heart, leaving little space for the good things of God.
My heart hardened, which led to more hurtful experiences, more bitterness. This was a self-perpetuating, never-ending cycle I wasn’t even capable of recognizing.
The enemy used this against me in many ways. I began:
- Believing I was less than enough.
- Mistrusting everyone.
- Acting out in a variety of self-harmful ways.
- Praying for bad things to happen to people for hurting me (yes, I actually did this).
I was a hot mess, y’all! But God ...
Through a series of people and events, He gave me understanding of the impact forgiveness could have in my life. I learned that by giving Him my hurts and mistrusts first, they can’t take root in my heart, which leaves space for His good things. Over the years, I have watched my life change and my relationship with God grow as my heart has softened.
If only I had understood years ago what Lysa says on page 180 of Forgiving What You Can’t Forget:
“Hardened hearts have such a propensity to get shattered. Soft hearts don’t as easily break.”
I don’t always get it right, but I’m no longer a hot mess! I am a work in progress. By the grace of God, the bitter roots are being pulled from my heart, and the space left behind is being filled with the good things God has for me.
Friends, holy work is hard work, but I am right here with you — and I’m cheering you on!
Heart to Heart:
Who or what in your life is something you could soften your heart toward?
Last night on our P31 OBS Facebook page, we had Bible Study LIVE at the Table! We watched this video (above) together and then had a discussion around some of the questions found in the Study Guide. No Facebook? No problem! You can access the video here, even if you don't have an account! See you at the Table!