Those of us who have gone through painful stuff in the past or had our hearts bruised and broken by others are tempted to view all our history as something dark and dire indeed.

What if we invited Jesus into those pain-filled places? How might the past be reshaped by grace? Especially if He gives us a glimpse of His presence right there with us and how He sees us, then and now.

“God promises to heal the brokenhearted. So invite Jesus into your past. Linger with Jesus in prayer there. Pay attention. Often Jesus will bring up something necessary to your healing through a memory he awakens.” — Restoration Year: A 365 Day Devotional by John Eldredge 

As I pause before God in prayer in response to the words quoted above, my mind immediately rolls out horrible dark images from the past. They’re seeking to swamp my consciousness.

But at the edges of these unwanted memories there’s a hint of sunshine, a glimpse of a garden decked out in summer’s finery, with no dark cloud whatsoever on the horizon... 🌞🌺🌿🌸

past - girl running over grass in summer

There’s a small girl running, running, running over grass as she giggles and gets out of breath. Her socks are at half-mast, her hair flying behind her in a golden stream, her cotton dress lifting and falling with each movement she makes, and her limbs full of energy and liveliness.

She holds a butterfly net in her hand, waving it round and round, and her eyes are focused on the delicate, swiftly flitting wings of the butterflies she is chasing. Joy fills her every pore as her skin basks in the heat and sunlight rays penetrate straight to her happy heart, like an infusion of grace.

The air is full of the intoxicating scent of roses, whose fallen petals she intends to capture, crumple, add water to and create her own homemade perfume with, dabbing it behind her ears and on her wrists, just like her mother does with her favourite fragrance.

There’s a sense of sacredness here, a holy gap revealed, where whispers from above are saying that she was made for this. She’s created to enjoy her life, to live in the brilliant light of God’s countenance, while she receives His blessings to function as freely as these unfettered butterflies, with hope and joy alive in her heart. 🦋🕊

past - butterflies - flower - She is created to enjoy her life quote (C) joylenton

She isn’t meant to inhabit the darkened hallways of guilt and shame, the terrifying terraces of painful experiences, the confining grip of chronic illness, or the muddied pathways of the past that others have pulled her into by their bad behaviour.

Instead, she is made for exuberance, for summer, for hope, for living in the light, for joy and love.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” — Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

She is seen like this by God. His precious daughter with sparkling blue eyes which look upon His world with wonder and delight. Her heart is a beautiful, open thing, full of the brightness which He has gifted her with. It isn’t afraid to give or wary toward others, but can share freely without inhibiting worry or anxiety.

Oh, this is the kind of woman I desire to be! One who knows the truth about herself in God’s eyes, as I also seek to retain that childlike sense of awe, and the delicious ease of yielding to the joy present to us in every moment.

My friend, if you’ve been badly wounded in the past or your present circumstances are causing pain and inner angst, why not invite Jesus into those thoughts and listen for the holy hope He desires to pour into your soul? You might just gain an insight into God’s view of you, and His peace will help heal what you have experienced or are going through now. ❤️🙏🏻