Remember circle time as a kid when you were invited to the big carpet to listen to a story?
I remember 1st grade circle time most poignantly. As a six-year-old, one of my favorite times of the day was when my teacher, Mrs. Harter, would call our class over to the carpet as she found her place in her rocking chair next to the easel that held up the book of the day. Once we were gathered at her feet, eyes wide and ready, she would begin the story.
Once, Mrs. Harter even allowed me to even conduct circle time:
Last weekend was a very special one to me, as 60 or so women from my church and I gathered around as our speaker, Laura Seifert, pointed to Jesus and The Story. It felt like the best kind of circle time. After each session, we’d break out into small groups to discuss.
Laura talked about the process of forgiveness and helped us work through “The List” of people who have hurt us either directly or we’ve perceived that they’ve hurt us, often including ourselves and God. We talked through canceling the debt and clearing The List. I walked in thinking I had no list, but when Laura sent us out on our own for 30 minutes to talk with God about who might be on our list, I found I totally had one. Who was I kidding?
God impacted me deeply through this simple weekend away through Laura and circle time. In fact, it took 2 days of me being away from work and dishes and bills and decisions to remember that nothing is sweeter than intimacy with the Lord. I loved getting to be honest with Him about my hopes and fears and maybe even stuff I’d been holding against Him. Of course we can be honest at home too, but I’d started to forget that.
No one can breathe fresh life into dry bones except God. He is the One who can uproot the nasty, growing root of bitterness toward another person. He is Healer. And He is the One who forgives.
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6.12 – part of the Lord’s Prayer
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4.32
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3.13
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36.26