Mending Fences

While waiting for the fence builders, steel, and concrete to show up, I pray each night that all on my ranch stay safe for one more day. Even though I pray every day for the Cross-Dubya and all I care for, my prayers have a sense of urgency about them these days. I know I’ve got a bull with wandering eyes and raging hormones. Then there’s an upcoming surgery. What happens if “Mavric” escapes again while I’m in the hospital? Ms. Diane has never even touched him, and she’s not about to go out there to herd him back.

As the days pass, I check the west fence line day and night. In the week before I moved “Mavric” and the mamas to the north pasture, I repaired the fence six out of seven days. As soon as I’d fix one spot, he’d find another. I can’t prove it, but if the hoof prints were any sign, he was getting help from the other side of the fence. My suspicions are that the bulls were fighting with one another through the fence, but I didn’t see that in the dark.

All these fencing repairs have me thinking, What fences do I need to mend in my life? I believe the end times are upon us, and I’m taking stock of those I’ve slighted, offended, or harmed. I’m also noting those who have inflicted things upon me that I’ve held in my soul for far too long. If I’m leaving this world soon, I want to do so with a clear conscience and a joyous heart. In reading Paul’s letter to his spiritual son Timothy this past week, these words struck a chord.

“The purpose of my instruction is that all
believers would be filled with love that
comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience,
and genuine faith.”
(1 Timothy 1:5, NLT)

Like many of you, I suspect, there’re skeletons in my closet I would prefer to leave there. The thing about those closet dwellers is that Satan knows they’re there too, and he’ll always try to use them against us. He’ll bring up past disappointments, hurts, events, and yes, words that we both said and heard throughout our lives. You often hear me refer to the Devil’s Four D’s (Disappointment—Discouragement—Doubt—Division). He is a master at using our memories of past transgressions, both delivered and received, to manipulate our human spirits. If there is any pain or regret associated with them, he’ll attempt to use it against us.

Something I’ve discovered in my Christian walk is that when I finally let go of things from my past, God doesn’t take away the memory of them. He takes away the pain and shame associated. And when God removes emotion from the memory, it becomes nothing more than a page in the book of my life. When I kept it hidden away in the closets of my mind and heart, that hurt was a glowing coal; ready to burst into a raging fire of emotion in an instant. After surrendering each one to God, they became reminders of the transformation my life has seen. Each one is a mile-marker on my journey in faith.

Another discovery is that forgiveness, whether received or given, is the secret ingredient that makes love possible. Things have happened in my life that some might consider unforgivable. It’s taken many years, but God’s taught me that if I am to love like His Son, then I must forgive those that caused such pain in my life. Not an easy task, but a necessary one for me to gain a full understanding of Christ’s sacrificial, agape love.

Forgiveness, received or given, clears the way for love to grow. Click To Tweet

With God’s patient help, I learned to place the memories of my hurtful past sacrificially onto His altar of grace and forgiveness. In releasing each one to God, He released me from their torment. With a grace-filled spirit, I release those closet dwellers into the ether so that my mind is clear and my heart full as I prepare to journey home.

  • To the adults who brought an illegitimate child into this world and abused, belittled, besmirched, and disavowed him; I call you hurt, anger, alcohol, and hate.
  • To all those (young and old) who laughed at and ridiculed the little left-handed boy who sounded like “Elmer Fudd” and did most things backwards from you; I call you mean, unkind, and callous.
  • To the four young men who held a seven-year-old boy to the ground in a homemade tent in Surprise, Indiana and did unspeakable, horrible things to him; I call you sodomy.
  • To those who stole from a young man with so little, who kicked and punched and took what was not yours; I call you greed.
  • To those who took advantage of a man’s trust, kindness, and generosity, who borrowed with no intention of repaying, who used emotion, turmoil, deceit, and trickery to take from me; I call you liar, cheater, and swindler.

To all of you who identify above, I forgive you. Know that God repaid your bad with His good many times over in my life. From an adoptive family who showed me love, to a helpmate and wife who allowed me to grow and become the man God has always meant for me to be. I call my life victory.

Please understand this. My forgiveness helps me, but does nothing for you. Unless the blood of Christ has forgiven and washed your sins clean through His gift of salvation, you remain eternally stained. I earnestly pray that if any of you have not yet found your way to a genuine relationship with our loving Father, that you seek His salvation soon. Find someone nearby who can help you find your way home.

The remaining closet dwellers? I must claim these. Even after my salvation, I’ve sinned far more than I should have. Greatest among them is choosing to hold on to remnants of my carnal human life and ways long after I laid it at the foot of the Cross. I understand all humans do and we sometimes surrender to God in stages. I pray I’m getting close to my final stages of surrender.

To those I tried to repay with hurt for hurt, others whose trust I somehow betrayed, to all I’ve wronged, I ask your forgiveness. I ask not for myself as 1 John 1:9 has allowed me a path of confession, repentance, and forgiveness, but for you. I fervently hope you can release any hatred, anger, remorse, or other emotions I may have caused that prevent you from finding a closer walk with God.

To my readers, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ, I offer a simple prayer. Father, I pray for my readers, followers, friends, and fellow Christians on this day. I pray You send Your Holy Spirit to show them their broken fences; and help them mend them through Your mercy and grace Father. Help them empty their cup of life of everything that is not of You Lord, and to refill it with Your love, peace, and kindness. Then Father, if it be our last act in this life, help us pour ourselves out so humanity can see what God can do through a surrendered life. In Jesus’ precious name, I pray. Amen.

God’s blessings,

Signature

 

Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

www.pjnet.tv

52 thoughts on “Mending Fences

  1. My heart both breaks and rejoices as I read these grace-filled, God-dependent words. Only one who truly receives and rests in His forgiveness and mercy can extend the same to others.

    God bless you, friend, and I pray you are healing quickly and completely.

    1. So very true Ms. Cathy. It is only when we find forgiveness in Him that He gives us the strength and courage to forgive others. And thank you for the well wishes. Ms. Diane and I are on the back-side of this illness and growing stronger each day. Thank you ma’am.

  2. What a powerful lesson on forgiveness Mavric and those fences keep bringing. I’ve been praying for the same … “a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” I’m grateful for the way God works in our lives to draw us closer to Him, bring healing and growth. I pray the fences are repaired soon so Ms. Diane won’t need to be concerned about Mavric!

    1. Thank you Ms. Joanne. Oh, you should have heard how Ms. Diane laughed when she heard that line about her herding Mavric. He’s nearly 20 times her size! There’s been lots of “fencing lessons” of late around here, and I felt strongly led to mend some fences of my own this past week. None of us can know when Christ will return, but our faith assures us that He will return, and I believe soon. While I know I’m homeward bound upon His call, I didn’t want to arrive with any more baggage than necessary my friend. I pray none of us do. God’s blessings.

    1. Kinds words my friend. I worried about sharing this post, as Ms. Diane tells me quite often (TMI), but if we can’t be transparent about what God has done in our lives than we are putting His light under that basket. While some things I had laid down years ago, other things I needed to let go of. I don’t want to be burdened with anything Satan can try and use against me. We’ve got to start preparing for the final battle. It is already Christ’s victory, but I want to make sure I stay in the fight for His glory.

  3. Reading your powerful reflection today brought tears to my eyes, J. D. We all have those fences that need mending, and you’ve encouraged me to take a hard look at any forgiveness I might be withholding from others.
    Know I’ll be praying for you with your upcoming surgery. Please keep us updated!
    Blessings!

  4. I celebrate your courageous post this morning, J.D. When the garbage is kept inside, it maintains power over us and stinks up everything around us. I rejoice with you for the Lord giving you the victory over such a horrendous and painful past. My husband is facing another surgery soon also. I’m going to read this to him. May God’s healing power & blessings be yours.

    1. Yes ma’am, it sure does Ms. Dottie. I allowed “stinking thinking” to rule far too much of my life, and am ever-grateful that God helped me to learn to let my past go. I think among the most important lessons I’ve learned through this journey in faith we call sanctification is that removing emotion renders Satan powerless. He can’t stir us up if we’ve released it ALL to God. What a difference that has made in my life. Oh, I still struggle with new circumstances now and again (I think we all do), but my past is exactly that ma’am. PASSED. I’m still standing and like the trees on a mountain ridge, I’m stronger because I have withstood the winds! Thank you dear friend.

  5. Thank you for your transparency, for your openness and honesty. You have reminded me of one from whom I must ask forgiveness. And I’m sure there are more that God will reveal to me. God bless you and Ms. Diane. I am praying for healing and for a successful surgery and easy and quick recovery.
    Blessings,
    Edwina

  6. J.D., you know I could identify with dealing with Mavric. I too, remember watching the bull actually jump a fence, and then there were bullfights. Yep, all a little scary. Your article brought tears to my eyes also. Powerful, transparent, courageous, and what a beautiful and powerful testimony of God’s grace at work in your life. You are a powerful encourager and I have enjoyed getting to know you. Prayers and blessings,

    1. Thank you Ms. Laura Lee. What an amazing and mighty God we serve sweet lady. Thank you for all your kind words. The pleasure and joy has been mine in getting to know you ma’am. 🙂

  7. One of the hardest things any of us ever has to do, I think, is to remove the coverings that we think make us acceptable to others. Transparency is an easy word to say, but not so easy to display. My heart was freshly wounded with memories in my own life as you reviewed the abuse, neglect, insensitivity, and selfish misuse you suffered. It was hard to read, hard to know, and hard to absorb, but the power in it was impossible to ignore. Thank you, my distant but very close friend, for wounding my heart and mending it again. May God multiply the impact of your courageous words and create rejoicing in heaven as the outcome pours in. By the way–I’ve been praying already for God to watch over and protect everything and everybody around the Cross-Dubya while you’re getting through the surgery. Diane and I are adding our faith to yours and trusting God to do what we ask.

    1. Without knowing your full story, I knew that you would understand my friend. I also know you understand the importance of sharing our full testimony, as sometimes the full, uncut, uncensored truth is what helps another to realize that none of us are too forsaken for God to show us His grace, mercy, love, and path to salvation. While surgery has been delayed because of an unforeseen illness striking my family in the past couple of weeks, I have great peace about it, because I know where the trail ends my friend. When I get there is up to God. 😀

    1. So kind Ms. Diane. I pray the only emotion left is the burning in my soul for those who have not yet found their way to God. How I pray that none perish, but I’m realist enough to understand many will. I pray each day that I not be the cause. God’s blessings ma’am; and congratulations again on the release of “Kiss of Peace.”

  8. J.D., your post echos what I read in Voice of the Martyrs this morning and challenges me in the same way. To love and forgive those who persecute us reveals Christ in the most powerful way. Thank you for doing that today.

    1. VOM so often breaks my heart Ms. Debbie. When I read the stories of the persecution my brothers and sisters around the world face, I’m saddened by how nonchalant we are about our Judeo-Christian faith here in the western world. I oft wonder, will our faith have to be stripped from us before we come to appreciate and treasure it again? Thank you so much for commenting ma’am.

  9. What a blessing to read your words today. I loved the prayer you put at the end. I prayed it for myself and my family and friends. May God show me all my fences that need mending.

    Praying for your surgery and many more post from you. They offer so much encouragement. Thanks

  10. Oh, J.D. your courageous post today overwhelms me with sorrow for what you have had to endure, but I’m also overwhelmed in a good way by your determination to forgive those who did such things. May God bless you with His peace and comfort. And I’ll also be praying for Mavric to stay put and your surgery to be successful and have a quick recovery.

    1. Please don’t feel sorry Ms. Kathy, you have nothing to feel sorry for ma’am. For those things are long past, and served to help mold me into who I am today (both good and bad I suppose). Still, our God is faithful to help root out the bad and replace it with His love. We’re getting there my friend; join me please in that joyous journey instead. 😀

  11. Fantastic, poignant post, my friend! Loved this truth:

    Please understand this. My forgiveness helps me, but does nothing for you. Unless the blood of Christ has forgiven and washed your sins clean through His gift of salvation, you remain eternally stained.

    May the Lord use our willingness to forgive seemingly “unforgivable” things to draw the offenders to Himself.

    1. Oh, thank you so much for keying on this. I was afraid this important message was lost in the midst of everything else Ms. Mary. More than anything else, I pray this post helps someone realize that nothing they’ve done is too horrible for God to forgive. Seek His forgiveness and let His love teach you how to forgive, let go, and find peace, rest, and joy in your life. This is what God wants for you; not hurt, anger, and unforgiveness. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  12. I am practically speechless, J.D. and definitely taken back by your transparency. Thank you for sharing your painful past. It takes courage to call things as they were, to sweep out the “closet dweller”s of your past, to forgive such evil, and to ask forgiveness of what was probably minor offenses in comparison.

    Clearly you give testimony to God’s goodness through the poetry of Isaish61:3. “Beauty for Ashes.” Please know what a shining star in God’s universe you have been to this Twitter friend. Though we have never met in person, it is an honor to know you through your writings. And you’ve blessed me so by sharing my blog posts.

    My prayers for you begin now, J.D., as you prepare your ranch, your spirit, and soul to rest in the Lord’s healing following surgery. May the good Lord send His ministering angels to go before you and surround you with the peace that passes all understanding to guard your heart and mind. Amen.

    1. You are far too kind Ms. Kathy, and I thank God for our virtual friendship (for now) ma’am. To encourage, sometimes admonish, grow, teach, and support one another in our journeys is what friendship is supposed to be my friend. I thank God for yours.

  13. My hero, Cec Murphy, also a victim of abuse, often reminds us that when we bring darkness out into the light, it loses its power over us. And when we smother it with the light of Christ, well, it ceases to exist. As D.L. Moody says, “Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the bosom of Christ.” God’s blessings to you today, my friend.

    1. Mr. Cec is something special indeed Ms. Lori. I’ve never had the honor of meeting him is person, but some of my favorite quotes come from him. As I am certain Mr. Cecil will say, it’s not about what man may have done to us, but what Christ has done for us. That’s what makes everything else base.

  14. My dear friend and brother in Christ,
    How my heart breaks for the pain you’ve endured. Your eloquent words speak to my experience and that of those I love. Your testimony may help others in ways you will never know until they greet you in heaven, but through you someone may have discovered his own voice or path toward healing.

    I’ll be praying for you as the surgery approaches. I do hope Ms. Diane keeps us posted.

    Peace and grace,
    Tammy

    1. I join you in that prayer Ms. Tammy. My surgery will have to be delayed by at least six weeks, because of an illness we’re dealing with here in our home, but we’ll be sure to keep you and all our dear friends informed as things get back on track here. Hope to have the west fence replaced in another week though, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Well; there’s the matter of paying for it. LOL 😀 Have a blessed week sweet friend; and praying for you and your family.

  15. Wow! Where to start? Powerful. Such words of faith, forgiveness, transparency, courage, love, and strength. Definitely strength. May I join you to say: to the one who took advantage of a naive young lady that led to acts of deception and shame especially to my parents, I call you arrogant and prideful. Hallelujah, I released my shame and expressed my forgiveness before your untimely death which reeked of guilt.
    You said it oh so well, J.D., God didn’t take away the memory. He took away the pain and shame and forgave me in the process. I’m so sorry for your memories but rejoice with you that you are free. We are free. God ordained it.

    1. Amen my dear friend. It’s when we release the pain associated with these memories that we find freedom from me. I hate that such a terrible injustice was done to a soul as beautiful and sweet as yours, but this is the cost somehow of our human lives. I think our memories help shape us, but the pain from them holds us in a cage. We have less freedom when we’re trapped in the past. Am praising God you too have been freed from your tormenting memories. I pray your tormentor found their peace with God, and I’m ever grateful that God brought you Mr. Parky. I see such great compassion you two share with one another and it makes me want to say “Yes, I want this!” God’s blessings my friend.

  16. You are a true example of Christ’s forgiveness reaching out to those who have hurt you. Your transparency in sharing reveals you heart to help others reach that level of extending forgiveness to others. Thank you, J.D. you are a blessing to those who know you and read your words.

    1. It’s taken a lot of years in some cases Ms. Barbara, but if are to grow to become more like Christ, we must learn to love like Him. It isn’t easy, but oh how it’s worth the effort. God’s blessings my gentle Georgia friend.

  17. Oh, my friend, your message brought tears for your past pain and joy for for your heart of love. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts of love you can give to yourself and to others. I think, as Jesus shows us, forgiveness is the most powerful way to show God’s love to others. Thank you for sharing this message of love and hope. Praying for you.

    1. Focus on the joy sweet friend. There’s no time in our lives for pain; that’s why I’m “mending these fences.” Many of those past hurts are put aside, but my “worry” is that I’ve been an impediment to someone finding salvation because of something I’ve said or did. Oh, how that will hurt to learn, so I pray I’ve put it all to rest. Of course, I can’t expect every person I’ve ever interacted with in some way to read my post here, but I do hope I’ve planted seeds within others so we as a family of faith can make that clean break from our past and focus on the coming days. God’s blessings ma’am.

  18. This brought tears to my eyes, as I examined myself and thank God for His forgiveness. I can relate to what you wrote and thank you for your honesty and transparency. May you and Diane be blessed.

  19. Your post touches me to the core. Victory shall be – and already is – yours. I’ve got some thinking to do about fence mending.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Joining you in prayer.

    1. Have gotten to know you just a bit Ms. Candyce, I can’t imagine any broken fences in your life. A few stretched wires perhaps, we all have :-D, but I certainly understand my friend. I’ll be praying. God’s blessings gentle friend.

    1. Thank you Ms. Nancy. I felt it important to share this message for two reasons. First, I wanted to show folks that there is nothing God can’t overcome. Secondly, I wanted to “clear the decks” of my life of any unclaimed baggage I may have left behind in someone’s life. I pray any impediment I may have been to someone finding their way to Christ is removed. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  20. God bless you, dear friend. I can identify with being unfairly hurt by evil people, and for years I cried out for justice. But Jesus took me to the cross and showed me how unfairly He suffered at the hands of evil men. In the throes of pain, sorrow, suffering, and shame, He cried out to God to forgive them because they didn’t understand what they were doing. True victory reigns in the act of true forgiveness. Yes, may we all mend our broken fences and prepare to meet our God! Prayers for your surgery to go well and for you to have many more years of good health.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. Understanding that our adoption into God’s family means two important things is crucial. One, we are released from the bonds of sin that we were born into. And as long as we seek His forgiveness through confession and true repentance, we can maintain a right relationship with Him and grow in it. Secondly, we have a responsibility as children of God to live according to His precepts and laws. This means we must also take on the examples of living our lives as Christ did — fully surrendered to God’s will for our lives. To live and love like Christ is perhaps impossible to achieve fully in this human life, but if we continue to move toward it (even in small ways), we are assured to reach our destination one day my friend. God’s blessings.

  21. Wow, J.D. I knew part of your story, but this is unimaginable. While I experienced many childhood and adulthood hurts and heart-wounds, I can’t imagine what you have gone through. And, yet, you so powerfully and beautifully describe your victory. I like how you expressed many things, but particularly how forgiveness helps us and not the abuser. We all need the blood and forgiveness of Jesus to wash us anew and clean.

    I’m sorry for what you have endured in life. Still, look at how the Lord is using you and your story to unleash victory in the lives of others. If they will only heed your words and God’s Word. If we will all mend fences.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Like your own story, many here on earth may never know it fully or understand it, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to share it. Not to receive sympathy or pity, but to show the world that with God’s help, we can each overcome whatever terrible events may have happened in our lives and we can live in victory! I’ve wondered sometimes how my life would be different had I been born into my loving, gracious, giving adopted family and not had to spend the first 14 years of my life as I did. I can’t know of course, but in looking at my adopted brothers and sister, I think I have a better appreciation for the love and kindness our parents poured out for us. I also think that I would not be the man God has made me to be without the painful experiences of my past. Like you sweet friend, we were “forged in fire” and are stronger because of it. God’s blessings, and thank you so much for your kind words ma’am.

    1. Thank you Ms. LuAnn. Surgery has been delayed because of Covid, but when it happens, knowing you and Mr. Kenn are lifting my family and me up in prayer will make all the difference ma’am.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *