How does one forgive?

Isn’t it hard to forgive someone who has wronged us? Especially when the person doesn’t even recognize the pain they have caused?

Forgiveness is a process, one that begins with a declaration that we are willing to trust God with our pain and the person who wronged us, but then it’s a continual movement toward that trust as the feelings of our wounds arise.

We have to continue to remind ourselves that we are walking it out and asking God to help us through this process.

How does one forgive when the wound is still open?

One of the things I have my clients do is write a letter to the person they need to forgive, have them read it out loud, and then dispose of it.

This forgiveness process is not about the person who caused the hurt, but about freeing you. To constantly go to the one who can genuinely heal that wound, God.

Walk this journey with me, and let’s choose to forgive, even if that means to forgive yourself. Choose to walk in your freedom today.

It takes courage to forgive, and it’s not a sign of weakness, no matter how loud the wounds or scars are screaming at you. It’s not about justice but your freedom.

Who do you need to forgive today? As you were reading this, who came to mind?

Choose to walk in your freedom today.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

What you went through was not about you!

Sometimes in life things happen that are out of our control. Painful events like losing a loved one, a divorce, a traumatic experience. Those things shape, mold and change who we were called to be.

We sit in those dark hours alone, devastated wondering why or how and try to make sense of it all. Maybe still in a state of shock and not know how to process what’s occurred.

I have had many of those painful events occur throughout my life. For the longest time I remained angry and stuck wondering why this happened.

Then one day a light bulb went off and I realized this pain was not just for me to endure. I had to face those hard things and allow forgiveness and healing to take place within my heart and mind.

I began to realize that I was called to help others with their pain and come alongside to help guide them and not remain stuck. To breathe hope and help them with their disbelief of fighting the good fight. No matter what has happened in their life.

I want to encourage you to not lose hope. I’m not sure what you are facing. But I want to speak hope into your situation and let you know that your going to make it. One day you will share your story with another individual that comes across your path and you will let them know your story and how you made it through.

Believe, Believe, Believe,

Maybe what YOU went through was not about you.

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope one Life at a Time!

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To be continued…

Have you ever watched a tv show or movie that had you sitting at the edge of your seat anticipating what is going to happen next? Then all of sudden it ends with “To be continued”.

You have all these emotions running through your veins and left wondering what just happened and why would they leave you that way? When will it be continued?

If you are like me I pull out my phone and search online to see when the next sequel or episode is coming out. Only left feeling more disappointed when there are no answers to those questions.

Have you ever felt like that about life? All of sudden things are going great and then something happens that alters your life, causing a pause. Either by a tragedy, loss of a love one, a separation or divorce or unexpected illness. Left wondering what just happened? What is going to happen next?

When I look back at some of the episodes of my life many have brought different emotions like pain and brokenness, while others caused a hardness of heart and bitterness! Left wondering will this pass? Some of those painful moments created self reflection and brought change within me or my situation. Learning from many of my “to be continued” series.

Just like the tv show or sequel it continues and shows you the next part of the story.

I am not sure what your facing today, but I want to encourage you that the things that have been left “to be continued” will be continued! You are building your story, your sequel, your next episode.

Every episode in your life builds upon the story that was created for you! Be encouraged today, this too shall pass! Then you will sit back and play the reruns of your life with others and those episodes will bring hope and encouragement to others as your share.

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing hope one life at a time.

Trust the Process

I never realized how vital this is to our lives. I recall doing an outreach many years ago where a group of us had to rely on the other person to catch us and had to have our backs turned while doing it.

You never really know what your made of until your put to the test. I recall being so afraid of putting my trust in someone else’s hand and hoping they would catch me.

So many different emotions were screaming in my head, “What if they drop me, what if they can’t hold my weight?”. I was in a major panic and contemplating if I was I going to do this. I already knew I had trust issues and this was only going to bring that out even more in front of my peers.

How many times in our lives have we let ourselves go and put our trust in someone else and was dropped? Trust can be so hard to let go and give, especially if you have been dropped a lot.

My husband was reading something to me the other day where it read, “Forgiveness can be freely given, but trust is earned”. I chewed on that for a little bit and thought, “How true that statement was”. Trust is not something we freely give to others especially if we have been dropped a few times.

I have been burned many times by people that were either in leadership or loved ones and/or people in general. Each time it was hard to come and turn my back and allow someone to catch me.

At times I’ve still contemplated if I was going to allow someone to catch me. Or decided that I was going to put my trust in myself.

This created being self-reliance and independent in myself. Being in my own island. Where their was no room for growth and placed lot of pressure in doing things on my own strength.

That day I continued to tell myself, “Sandy, you can totally do this”. Next thing I knew I closed my eyes, clenched my fist and did it afraid and guess what? They caught me””.

It was one of the most liberating things I had ever done. To just let go and trust the process. That all the fears I had of dropping me or holding my weight were just that fears.

So where are you in this process?

  • Are you willing to turn your back and allow someone to catch you?

  • Or are you going to continue to rely on yourself and see where that gets you?

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at Time

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STORY

What is YOUR story?

Have you ever spoken about it?

Have people heard of it?

Do you have it written down?

When was the last time you reviewed it?

Share your story, it was not meant for you to only go through it and be kept silent!

It was meant to bring encouragement and healing to others. To awaken those dead areas of hopelessness and birth hope in others.

Not sure where to begin?

Begin by journaling so that you can see how God has worked throughout the course of your life! Then share it, even if it’s to one person.

Sandy Cortes

Carriers of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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Im starting with the “Man in the Mirror “

beautiful-black-blur-987627I like shopping for clothes especially when I see them on the mannequin and think, “That outfit is super cute”. So I try on the outfit and say to myself, “Girl, you look good”.  I walked right out the store with the entire outfit. I got home and put the outfit away for a special date.  When I find a nice outfit everything has to match from the makeup, down to the jewelry.  The special day came and I worked extra hard to do my makeup, hair and had jewelry set out.  So I pulled out my special outfit.

I looked at myself in the mirror and I was ready to take myself on a date. I started to put things away that I had used to get ready.  As I was coming out of my room I looked at in the mirror again.  Once I got into my car, I pulled the visor down to look at myself.  Then as I was arriving at my destination I decided to look at myself once more.  I am not sure why we do this but I want you to picture yourself standing in the mirror and turning to one side and then the other. Then walk away and come back and do the same thing again.

It sounds so crazy right, but it is something we do.  I noticed my dog has looked at himself in the mirror as well, its hilarious to watch because he startles himself and then barks.   Looking in the mirror is like verifying that we still look the same from the last time we looked.  There are many times we look in the mirror and are not happy with what we see.  We can easily even have people be our mirror and allow them to dictate who we are.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and were not happy with that you saw?  I know many times I have looked in the mirror and did not want to go back to be reminded of what I previously saw.  This reminds me of that song by Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror”.  This song is basically about looking at yourself and making a change.

The key line that stands out to me is “I’m starting with the man in the mirror and I’m asking him to change his ways, And no message could have been any clearer” If you want to make the world a better place.  You better take a look at yourself, and then make a change”.  Well what if we don’t know how to make that change?  Acknowledging that we need change in our lives but then what happens.  We have to work towards brining that change.

The word of God tells us of who we are versus having to go back to the mirror to remind us or dictate who we are.  By applying scripture, we have to retain and act on what we see and the mirror is not the source we should be using as our guide.  By reading his word it reads our lives and helps bring healing to our mind, body and soul.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror” and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do (James 1:22-25).

Life Application 

  • Are you looking in the mirror?
  • What is it telling you?
  • Are you going back for it to remind you of who you are?
  • Are you ready to make a change?

I’m starting with the Man in the Mirror on this end. By allowing the word of God to become illuminated in my life and letting it dictate who I am. His word doesn’t come back void. and it will bring that change.

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!
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Why do you keep ringing that bell?

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Have you ever read the story of Corrie Ten Boom? She was a Holocaust Survivor. Corrie was in a concentration camp with her sister. They were mistreated and eventually her sister died.  There was a guard that mistreated Corrie and her sister for many years. On one particular day she was scheduled to die and somehow they made a mistake and released her from the camp.   For many years she held unto what that guard had done to her and replayed it over and over in her mind.

Have you ever seen those beautiful large bells and how beautiful they sound when you pull on them?  She used an illustration of letting things go. Well the ringing of the bell was her feelings that continue to remind her of what was done. Once she began to let go of the rope, the noises of the bell seem to begin to slow down and eventually stop. Meaning her feelings began to subside and she no longer heard the noise.

Well forgiveness is like letting go of the bell rope. It is not easy to just stop pulling on the rope.  I can relate in being a professional at pulling that rope.  Many years of my life I recall being so angry at my step father for all he had done to me.  I believed that if I forgave my dad that it meant that what he did was okay.  See, forgiveness is not about what was done to you it is about letting go of the person that did what they did to you. That sounds so simple right? Wrong, if I can be completely vulnerable here, whenever anyone has done something to me, it has always been a challenge to just let it go.

I held my position my at the bell post and God called out things pertaining to my stepfather and I refuse to leave the position.  This was an area of my life that was dead to me.  My heart was calloused and there was no heartbeat there.  When the Lord asked me to forgive, I was having a tantrum and refused to give him that area of my life.  I believed that if I trusted once and people hurt me then there would not be a second chance and basically your dead to me!

When the Lord asked me to forgive, I refused to give him that area of my life.  Then he gently reminded me, “I have forgiven you and have not turned my back or closed my heart towards you”.  That was like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz where the witch is saying, “I’m melting”.  It was one of the toughest things for me to do.It was really hard to forgive and even today I have to remind myself, “Let it go”.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Forgiveness is a process that can take years to overcome.  By extending forgiveness it doesn’t make things right or say that the person who caused the offense won’t do it again. Or that the person will ever come to you and ask for your forgiveness.  You may be saying Sandy, “You don’t understand what this person did” or maybe this person continues to hurt you.  Please know I don’t expect for you to be a doormat and allow that person to continue hurting you, not at all!

I knew I could not do it in my own strength and needed help.  I am reminded of the words that he said as he was laying on that cross, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.  He chose to forgive even with what was happening to him. I wish I could say that I have been that quick to forgive, but I am working at letting it go a lot faster than where I once was.  I have resigned of my position at the post.

So are you ready to stop pulling on the rope?  I promise you it takes a lot more energy continuing to remind yourself of what was done versus releasing it to God and allowing him to teach you how to forgive.

Beloved, I am not sure what you are facing today but God knows.  He is such a gentleman and extends a hand in the process to help you forgive.  Maybe your father or mother abandoned you, or maybe you experienced some type of trauma, or you’re in a relationship that person continues to hurt you. Or just maybe you need to forgive yourself!  Whatever it is God is here and says, “It’s time to let go”.  He will be right there as you release it to him and will help bring healing and restoration to your heart.

Life Application

  • Identify if you’re a professional at pulling on the rope or have a position at the bell post
  • What are those areas that you have held unto to, that it is time to give to him.
  • Allow the Lord to bring healing and restoration to those areas of your life.
  • Share with someone so that they can help walk alongside this process.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).

I pray this has ministered to your life.  Help me by sharing it to someone who can use a word of encouragement!

Be Blessed,

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!