A Witness to Restoration

Tammy Maltby, Guest Writer 

Today’s Treasure

For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.

Psalm 103:14 NLT

 

I experienced a specific kind of grace-filled surprise the past few years, following a time of unrelenting trauma in my life. In the process, I believe I’ve gotten a clearer view of the subtle and powerful ways the God, who sees me, can handle my pain and move me toward restoration. It’s one of those grace-filled surprises that opened my eyes even wider to see the God, who sees me.

It had to do with my attitude toward men.

Now, if you had asked me three or four years ago if I had a problem with men, I would have told you—emphatically—that wasn’t true. I respected men. I liked men. Some of my best friends were men, and yet I had just gone through a drawn-out, extremely painful divorce that I had never dreamed would be a reality—truly the biggest trauma in my life. I had some unresolved issues (I know now) from a very brief early marriage and from my family of origin.

I tended to gravitate to other women who had been mistreated by men, and this probably reinforced a growing cynicism about the opposite sex. It wasn’t unusual for our “venting” about our traumas to turn into male bashing.

I talked to my daughters a lot about being independent. I didn’t want them to be too idealistic about the security that men seem to represent to other women. I didn’t want them to give their hearts too easily.

When I look at it now, I realize I might have had a few teensy problems relating to male human beings. This wasn’t something I actively prayed about or actively sought healing for. I really didn’t realize I needed it, but God did. In the course of a single year He used men to send me one healing grace after another.

The first demonstration of grace involved a man who was almost my husband. Back in our early twenties, we were engaged to be married. We both struggled with selfishness and immaturity, and our breakup wasn’t our finest moment. Over the years I’ve had many regrets about the way we ended our relationship. Mutual friends had told me Matt (not his real name) was happily married and that he had grown to be a fine man.

Then one birthday, out of the blue, I received an e-card from Matt. I found it in my inbox—beautiful scenery, lovely music, a scripture, and a sweet message: “I pray for the mercy and grace of God to fill your life.” I wasn’t prepared for the torrent of emotion that e-card unleashed in me. I pondered its message for days, wondering how—or whether—to respond. Finally, I sent him a very casual, superficial e-mail thanking him for his kindness and asking how his life was going. He sent an equally casual reply, and we corresponded a bit. Then I began to sense the Holy Spirit urging me to write a more serious e-mail.

It took me a long time—and a fair amount of fear and trepidation—to do that. It brought up all kinds of memories I had thought were put to rest long ago. I finally wrote and asked his forgiveness for my willfulness and immaturity, the foolish choices I had made when we were together. I also expressed my profound sadness over ways I had hurt his family and his extended family. I told him he didn’t need to respond, that I was doing this for my own healing and in obedience to the Spirit, but he did respond.  His response was full of mercy.  

“Tammy, I forgive you,” he wrote. “And I ask you to forgive me.”

That really opened the floodgates. I remembered more things I had done and I wrote again, sort of sheepishly, asking forgiveness for those too. He responded with a message that is still inscribed, word for word, in my heart:

“Ask me as many times as you need,” he said. “I forgive you. My heart’s desire is to tell you that you’re forgiven. Please keep asking it until you’re certain.”

I can’t tell you how deeply those words touched me, what healing they unleashed in my soul. All these years, I had been dragging along so much shame and failure and pain —thinking I had left them behind. Unconsciously, I see now, I may have blamed Matt for the burden. What a relief to be able to process freely that early episode, to find peace and reconciliation and God’s word of grace. Did I have regrets about that failed relationship? Absolutely—probably more now that I saw what a quality person I left behind. Matt’s words still rang in my heart with the resonance of God’s grace. I really had been forgiven—by Matt, yes, but also by Someonewhose heart’s desire is to say “I forgive you”.

So that was one experience that started unraveling my complicated issues with men. The second came not long afterward with a letter from my big brother—my only brother, with whom I had not shared a true relationship in twenty years.

 

LIFE-GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT

from Sharon

Last week Tammy shared some disciplines that require an intentional choice on our part as we seek restoration for those broken places in our lives. As Tammy has said, restoration is a supernatural gift from God. Yet as we respond to His love and the ultimate gift of Jesus, we are compelled to pursue intimacy with Jesus and to struggle to obey His call to walk by faith and trust Him as our Rock, Rest, Rescue and Refuge. Often, His call to fall more in love with Jesus and for obedience doesn’t seem to have anything to do with our current circumstances.  

Some of us are living with grief and broken dreams that will never be resolved on this earth. Our purpose in falling more in love with Jesus might start with desperation to fix our broken hearts, but as we learn more about His love for us, our pursuit of intimacy takes a turn. We want to learn how to reflect His love for us in a broken world. Read Today’s Treasureverse again: 

For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.

Psalm 103:14 NLT

Jesus knows how frail we are and that often we need time to intentionally grow deep roots in our faith before we are ready to face dark places in our hearts, especially those that require forgiveness. 

Is there a place where God is showing you through these disciplines that it’s time to address some broken relationships that you concluded could never be fixed? Maybe it’s not about fixing the relationships, but about experiencing the restoration of your own heart. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to His presence, the God Who sees, and revel in His love, surrendering to His call. Be willing to move forward, but wait for the Lord to direct each step.

 
Psalm 103_14.png
 

Tammy Maltby is a speaker, author and media personality with a heart for helping women live rich, authentic lives. Through the gift of hospitality, she mentors women to embrace community and connect through faith and food. Tammy empowers women to start simply but simply start! A ten-year cohost of the two time Emmy-winning NRB-TV talk show of the year Aspiring Women, Tammy has been featured on hundreds of radio and television programs, including Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, Life Today with James and Betty Robinson, The 700 Club, Midday Connection and CBN’s Living the Life. She was the ongoing emcee for the John Maxwell’s international THRIVE! events.She is the mother of four grown children, two of whom are internationally adopted and seven beautiful grandsons. Tammy makes her home in Colorado Springs Co with her husband Jerry Melchisedeck Sr. 

Today’s devotion was adapted from: The God Who Sees You: Look to Him When You Feel Discouraged, Forgotten, or Invisible by Tammy Maltby; David C. Cook, 2012

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