the wedding kiss,
flowers on my father’s grave,
the first “I love you Mommy” from tiny pink lips,
the gentle caress of compassionate spouse,
cards and words of love from friends,
“A word fitly spoken,”…
The list goes on.
Moments in time which have stamped an impression upon the heart.
There are other moments which leave marks.
screams of pain,
The later can be washed out till the bitterness is removed and only the lessons are left behind.
One must look to the Scriptures.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Ps 51:10
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
Asking for cleansing and seeking those things which can be repented of (bitterness, selfish ambition, lust of the eyes, pride, disobedience) will help to wash away the etchings of pain. For as the ugly is removed the sting is taken out.
“Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O LORD–how long? Return and deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!” Ps 6:2-4
There are the crimes of others against us. Things when the pain had no fault of our own yet was just as deep, just as crippling, because sin never affects just the one committing it.
These are the times the Lord’s power can seem distant or He seems uncaring. It isn’t so. He sees. He hears.
Turn to Him with the grief. Allow the heart to be healed with comfort.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,” Ps 103:3-4
Living isn’t always pleasant.
But the marks we allow on our heart don’t have to be full of pain.
Even in death there can be joy in the life that was.
Even in deep sorrow compassion can grow to reach out to others.
Even in sin the lessons learned through repentance can be used to warn those tempted to follow the same destruction.
But not all etchings are ugly. Not all are painful.
These are the marks we can look back on with joy.