I pray in earnest that you will experience a richly blessed 2013. However, I am fully aware that not all of us are having a great year. Some of us may still be struggling through the residue of a difficult 2012. I certainly have had a heavy dose of health issues here in Mexico over the past months. Whatever may be the challenges that we face in this moment, there are ever-present internal issues/problems which we must manage for a lifetime. I send this note of hope to we who know what it means to be faced with these complexities. So much of life is personal, and we certainly tend to take it that way. Even those closest to us cannot fully understand why we think, feel and act as we do, or do not. There is simply no person on earth who can fully understand and relate to these deeply personal patterns within us. Knowing what makes us “tick” is a life-long process of discovery. There are some patterns set within us that we did not choose. I have had the painful privilege of counseling many victims of child abuse through the years. It is shocking to witness how the damaged emotions of a precious child can lead to crippling dysfunction in adulthood. This may seem to be an extreme example (though more common than we imagine), however, all of us experienced hurts and disappointments in early childhood development that influence some of our life responses today. Through many years of serving abused and abandoned children I am convinced that they/we are NOT resilient, but in fact, quite fragile! Sin against a child is usually “felt” for a life-time. After years of over-exposure to the unimaginable suffering of children that have been sexually assaulted, to within inches of their lives, you may ask how I can write of healing and hope? Miraculously, I have grown to be more impressed with Our Father’s Healing than I am with the formidable power of abusive sin! Are you? Are you more impressed with God’s healing in your life than with your hurt? Personal healing and hope are experienced through the power of daily forgiveness and release. Godly management of our unique set of hurts and disappointments is a daily spiritual exercise. Are you aware of negative patterns within you that seem to persist beyond your control? The great news is that we do not have to understand them completely before we may enter into a spiritual lifestyle that delivers us into liberty. Truly, there is One who does understand! He was there when we suffered pain and/or abuse and He is here now! He knows, He understands, He cares, and He is Our Healer! Run into Him and receive power to forgive and release your offenders. Understand that this is not a one-time fix. We must establish new patterns of life management that set us living “confessionally” before Father and those that love Him and us. Find the courage to bring to light what only has power if kept in the dark. Some painful memories, like a thorn in the flesh, will be with us for the rest of our lives. Buried (though not dead) memories of sins that we have committed, or that have been committed against us, appear magnified. Yet, they are but shadows that spook us in the dark. The sin has long past, yet guilt and/or pain producing memories remain. These memories can be crippling. Receive Father’s forgiveness for the guilt of your sin today. Release forgiveness for those that sinned against you in the past. His covering grace, applied daily, is more than sufficient for us through these recurring memories. Beloved, we are wired by God to live life in the power of love and forgiveness. Living any other lifestyle will inevitably cause us to malfunction. May this year be marked by greatly improved personal life management that moves us closer to Father’s best intentions for life and Godliness in this present age.