Touch Points - I Need the Secret
Trek 2008 – Give ‘em Heaven
Touch Points – I Need The Secret
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
I can’t help it. I’m a one trick pony. I know a secret formula that is the answer to everything the people I meet are seeking. Many times when I tell people the name of my next book, The Secret To Everything, they get a wistful look in their eyes and say, “I need a secret. What is it?”
When I tell them the secret is to stop working on everything in their lives and start focusing 100% of their energy on loving God and their neighbors more, they look crestfallen. Either they don’t believe it is that simple or they have lost faith in themselves to do it.
I spent a couple of hours with a woman whose husband left her after 30 years. She said, “He told me he hadn’t loved me for the last 20.”
How does the Sh’ma – the Greatest Commandment – help this bitter broken hearted woman who is wondering why she wasn’t loved by the man she lived and raised children with for 30 years?
She’d done the first step. She was a Christian. Unfortunately, it’s hard to love God with all your mind when that mind is filled with painful memories. It’s hard to love God with all your heart when that heart is broken. It’s hard to love God with all your soul when you wonder why God let this happen. It’s hard to love God with all your strength when depression and loneliness steal your energy.
She has been divorced for almost two years. “Everything reminds me of cruel things he said to me,” she said. “When I dried my hands on a towel, he got mad because I left the towel wet. I remember that every time I dry my hands.”
“I’m a Christian,” she said. “I’ve grown closer to Christ since the divorce so in one sense, I’m better off.”
“The only answer to a whole and healthy heart is to forgive him and love him with the grace of Christ,” I said. Easy words for me to say – my husband still loves me.
“I know but I’m not ready for that yet,” she said.
“No,” I said. “I can tell you’re not but you will be. Grief is a process not a sin. Anger is one of the earlier stages of the grief process. By hanging on to the anger, you’re allowing him to continue to hurt you.”
“That’s what my counselor says,” she said. Again, I’d offered textbook words that were true but not helpful. The arguments she’d had during the divorce were running around constantly in her mind. She still had to manage the business they used to run together. She was living with children damaged by his unfaithfulness.
Oh dear God, what can I say to this woman. Give me your words, I prayed.
“The healing process starts in the mind,” I said. “The Bible says to think about whatever is lovely and praise worthy. Every time you remember a hurtful incident like the towel, I want you to replace the thought with something lovely. Over time, you’ll take your thoughts captive and you can move on to letting your heart heal by forgiving him. You started out telling me the problems your daughter was having. The only way to get over negative thinking is to replace all negative thoughts so when you have negative thoughts about anyone or anything, replace it with a lovely thought. When you replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts, you’ll be able to focus on loving God with your entire mind. It’s hard to love God with a broken heart and when you forgive your ex-husband, your heart will be ready to love God with your entire heart. Later you can move on to soul and strength. You’re tired now so just start with something simple.”
“Do you have one of your books I can buy?” she asked.
I went inside and got both books. “Take them home and look through them. Tomorrow, if you want to keep them, you can pay me.”
She came back today and paid me for both books.
I left the encounter filled with doubts. Did she want to feel better? Had she lost hope that she’d ever be free of pain and bitterness? Did she feel so unlovable that she didn’t think she was worth the effort? Had I communicated hope clearly enough? Had I made it sound too trite or simplistic?
The one thing I didn’t doubt was the words of Jesus. He told us the most important commandment. If she would just believe the words and stop thinking about, working on, or trying to solve everything else in her life but loving God with her entire mind, heart, soul, and strength, it would be the secret to everything for her. It might take time, but God’s love would fill her up, heal the damaged parts of her mind, heart, soul, and strength, and lead her to loving her neighbors so much, that it would consume all other thoughts and feelings. When she reached that point, regardless of who loved or didn’t love her or who left or stayed, she would have a whole and fulfilled life.
Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Gail Golden at 904 316-5462.
This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road as a traveling missionary, send your tax deductible contribution to Pocket Full of Change Ministries, POB 51205, Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32240.
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