Breaking Shells, Finding Wings


“If you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your life.” John 8:32, TPT

Words spewed between my mother and me like lava erupting from a volcano. I sought refuge in my bedroom, but my familiar surroundings only heightened the intensity of the emotional tumult I felt in my soul. Tears streamed down my 12-year-old face, and I thought, Do I belong here? Where are you, God? It’s me, Shelley! I felt alone. Maybe I should just run away and never come back. Would they miss me?

Feeling numb, invisible, and invalid made me want to disappear. But somewhere inside I felt there was more to life despite the void haunting me. Physically, I lacked nothing, but emotionally I was starving for parental love, affection, and support. 

Revisiting childhood memories feels kinda like putting a jigsaw puzzle together with missing pieces. My parents were the missing pieces.

One of my earliest family memories is a beach trip we made in 1973 when we lived in Okinawa. The ocean’s waves danced across the horizon of the sky—rising and falling with rhythmic ease, fleeting yet always there. My sister and I sat in the cool sand captivated by hermit crabs emerging from one hole and disappearing in another.

An old fishing boat sat deserted in the distance.  My parents were strangely absent although present. I have no recollection of any interaction with them that day. Again, I felt oddly alone, yet not alone. Perhaps, I sensed God’s presence in the beauty of His creation. Roman’s 1:20 says that creation speaks of an invisible God’s existence so that nobody can deny his divinity.

I grew up and grew bitter as the years passed. Anger and resentment festered deep within my soul. I emerged like a hermit crab from a sand hole, only to disappear in another. Living in shame steals your identity and destiny. God wants to heal you so you can live with purpose and peace. But you must recognize your pain and come to Jesus, and allow Him to speak truth to your heart.

My wake up call came many years later through a dream. I was with a celebrity at a hospital undergoing a health evaluation that involved open-heart surgery to remove fatty tumors. A specialist was called in to dig deeper and remove all remaining traces of fat. God showed me Jesus was going to deliver me from a spirit of unforgiveness.

The following month, a friend invited me to a spiritual retreat, for victims of emotional abuse. The leader guided us quietly in prayer while we invited Jesus into wounded areas of our hearts. During this encounter, I saw my parents differently. God revealed my struggle wasn't with them but with spirits (Eph. 612). That day, I made a choice to forgive. Love melted the anger I previously harbored toward them.

Lewis B. Smedes wrote in his book, Forgive and Forget, “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover the real prisoner was yourself.”

Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s remembering through new lenses of love. When we come to Jesus, and forgive those who have hurt us we find freedom in the process.

Sometimes, wounds are inflicted by those things that should have happened to us and didn’t— fun family time spent around a table playing games, vacations, the nurturing touch of your mother tucking you in and reading your favorite bedtime story or singing you to sleep and hearing the words “I love you”.

Beloved, do you feel like an extra piece to this puzzle called life? You don’t fit in. Discarded. God says you're more precious than rubies, His masterpiece, and an heir to His Kingdom (Prov. 3:15, Eph. 210, Rom. 8:17). 

God loves you immensely and longs to share His heart with you. You're born to soar like an eagle: free from the entanglement of sin. But past and present life events can keep you grounded. Receiving and resting in His love through conversational contemplative prayer heals your broken wings and allows you to soar.

I no longer live like a defeated and wounded prisoner. I choose to stand on God’s word and so can you! 

Let’s pray: Father God, I recognize that I'm your child made in your image. Holy Spirit, bring an event to my mind and show me where Jesus was at the time. Reveal to me any thoughts and corresponding emotions that aren't in line with your Word. What lie am I believing? What is the truth? Is there anybody I need to forgive because of the lie or circumstances surrounding it?

As an act of my will, I choose to forgive__________________ (others, myself, you) for _________________(offense). When that happened, I thought________________ and I felt __________________. I come out of agreement with ____________(the lie), and I replace it with _______________(the truth). I choose to believe you and receive your forgiveness. Thank you Jesus. You are mighty to save! Continue to give me a fresh revelation of my identity and purpose. 

Amen.

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