Looking Back at Painful Memories

Looking Back at Painful Memories

I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. Acts 26:10

With my son home from college, we’ve taken advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to get outside, recently going back to explore one of his childhood haunts. Hidden Hollow, as we named it years ago, is a clearing in a grove of trees with a giant old wood pile in the middle. Concealed out in the middle of a field, no one else ever went there as far as we knew and so, when the kids were little, we’d go play, explore, and make believe.

We moved out of that neighborhood back in 2014, and we’d not been back since, so it brought back memories, both good and bad. The last time we were there was a few days before I went to treatment. I’d just lost my job due to my addiction. My marriage was a mess. Heading to treatment, I didn’t know when I’d see my kids again, so, we got out of the house and went to Hidden Hollow. As it happened, I hurt my knee while climbing on the wood pile and limped home, knowing that everyone would ask if I hurt it on purpose in an attempt to gain sympathy and pain pills. That wasn’t unfair. It was just who I was at the time. Painful memories.

I think the apostle Paul had his painful memories too. In today’s passage, he revisited his past while telling the story of his conversion to King Agrippa. Though he must have looked back with some sorrow, Paul’s went on to describe his transformation in Christ. Going back was a necessary part of telling what God had done for him.

It’s sometimes hard to know what to do with miserable memories. We can get caught up in the shame of the past, allowing ourselves to wallow in it. Or, we can use those memories to motivate us to change. If the guilt of my behavior isn’t confined to yesterday, then maybe I need to feel some discomfort and do what it takes to abandon it. If it is in the past, I can be sorry, while celebrating the transformation I’ve found in Christ.

As my son and I walked and talked the other day, I did look back with some sadness, but also with profound gratitude, celebrating where God has brought me now. Thank you God for recovery. 

6 Responses

  1. Pamela Erickson says:

    Thanks, Scott. I struggle with miserable memories and regrets from my addiction days, and even a few years into recovery when I was still incredibly selfish (not that I’m cured of that completely!). I can find many resources about forgiving bad behavior in others, but not so easy to find them about forgiving bad behavior in myself.

    • Scott says:

      I always have to take a some time and introspection to try and understand if it’s a guilt that I need to just let go of (If I’m forgiven and I’ve done everything I can) or if there’s something that it’s motivating me to change. It’s not always easy to know. Thanks Pam!

  2. Pam Carlson says:

    Dear little Scotty, Hope that doesn’t embarrass you! When you were born,there were few little ones at Brooklyn church.
    Well,we all fell in love with you at the time and love you still.
    Several years ago I asked your dad about you and your family. He asked me if I had followed your journey in your blog? I had not. At the time,up until about a year ago, I only had my ancient flip phone. The Lord brought to my mind today—-your blog! I now could read it on my super duper “smart” phone.
    Dr. Scott Abrams,with tears I am overcome by your honest,truthful,God inspired writing! I now have many,many daily testimonials to read, meditate and pray for your remarkable ministry.
    Sorry, this is getting too long—it does say “comment”, not novel. The last thing I have to say is,Your son is in College? Don’t know why when kids grow up it is such a surprise?
    You have totally blessed my heart and I will be one of your followers! Love you,Pam

    • Scott says:

      Haha! Hi Pam! No one has called me that in a while 🙂 Technology is amazing and allows me a platform I wouldn’t have had a few short years ago. Thank you for using that smart phone to read and to encourage me.
      Yes, Jake is in his first year at Liberty U in VA. Maggie will be off to college next year and then we’re empty nesters. Thank you Pam!

  3. Chad D Nelson says:

    I want to “thank you” for your work with God, through your life experiences. I enjoy hearing your stories of confession, and it help me daily with my walk with God. Proud of you brother, and I love you!

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