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The Past Hurts

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The Past Hurts @ AVirtuousWoman.org

A Time to Clean: Day 2

You can read all of the posts in this series here.

Even when we say it no longer matters… Even when we say it’s okay… Even when we do our best to move on with our lives… the past hurts. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we just carry that baggage around with us like a badge of honor.

Really, though, all of that baggage from our past is just keeping us from running free.

The Past Hurts

The past can weigh us down – even when we don’t realize it – and keep up from really finding the peace in our hearts and peace in our homes that we long to experience.

[Tweet “The past can weigh us down – even when we don’t realize it. A Time to Clean -30 Day Challenge:”]

The past is full of hurts, disappointments, failures, regrets, and people who have damaged our souls. Who really wants to carry all of those reminders around day after day, year after year? No one. And yet we do it anyway.

Maybe not intentionally.

Sometimes a hurt from the past creeps up on us when we least expect it. Other times it’s just there in the back of our minds, taunting us, reminding us that really, deep down inside, we’re no good. Not worthy of exceptional love. Not worthy of true happiness. Not worth dying for.

But Satan is the Father of Deception. He wants you to believe that you aren’t really worthy of anything at all. The voice that tells you you’re worthless is a liar.

Back in 2006, I made the decision to share my testimony. The story of how I was a teenage mother at the young age of fifteen. I remember telling my husband that I planned to share my story and he asked me if I was sure – because there’s a risk in being vulnerable.

But I knew. I knew it was time to tell my story. Because my story was no longer a story of shame. It’s a story of redemption. It’s a story of victory in Jesus. It’s a story of grace and mercy and freedom in Christ.

[Tweet “It’s time to tell your story. A Time to Clean – 30 Day Challenge:”]

But it took me a really long time to come to that conclusion. For years – fifteen years – I would lay in bed at night and beg God to forgive me. I didn’t believe He could.

The Past Hurts @ AVirtuousWoman.org


Now, in my mind, I knew what the Bible said. I knew the Bible said He would forgive my sins. But see, I couldn’t forgive myself. So for years – year after year – I believed in my heart that I was unforgivable.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

He IS faithful and just and WILL forgive us if we confess our sins! So what was the problem? Why did I feel like He couldn’t forgive me?

I couldn’t forgive myself. I felt so ashamed, so unworthy of pure love. God forgave me the first time I asked!

I had to give myself grace – I had to accept the fact that my past was scarred, but that the scars on Jesus’ hands had paid the price for my sin to set me free.

Past hurts can be reflected in our homes and can affect our relationships. It’s time to set our souls free so we can freely move. Past hurts can overwhelm our souls to the point of freezing us from making a decision to move on. It’s time to let things go.

Today’s Goal

  • Ask God to show you what past hurts are shackling you to the ground. Learn to forgive yourself.
  • Pick up a journal and write down your thoughts about what He has shown you or print my free prayer journal.
  • Choose an area in your home you want to tackle. I’ll be working in my living room over the next couple of days.
  • Fill at least one bag or box full of stuff to give away. You can donate to our Appalachian Community Center if you’d like.
  • Take a picture of your bag. Share it on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram – use hashtag #atimetoclean {optional}
  • Leave a comment below about what you chose to get rid of and I’d like to invite you to share YOUR story.
  • Do your best to wake up early tomorrow and spend time in prayer. Use your prayer journal. I’ll be waking up around 6:00 am.

 What are you tackling today? Have past hurts overwhelmed your present?

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  1. Wow what an awesome post! I am going thru the process of emotional healing and your words hit home. Thank you for sharing.
    1. I am happy to come across your website. I enjoy your daily articles and I pray for God wisdom towards your vision for the vitues woman. I know Godbis using you to reach other woman in the all over the world. May God continue to bless you and your family. From Dita k Onyiriuka
  2. Today I am tackling our office and its closet. It is full of arts and crafts, kids books, clothes and things to be filed. I still feel bad for my daughter and grandkids because of divorce in their lives. My step grandkids aren't around as much and the pain my ex son in law caused my daughter and roll modeled in front of the kids keeps me wanting to always have fun things for them to do when they are here with us. I forget at times they need me to sift through and keep it fresh for them so they feel energized and excited when here. Thank You Lord for forgiving me for not letting go and letting you heal us all......
    1. Oh, Penny, I've been through divorce many years ago and I know how it tears a family apart. I think it's wonderful that you seek to provide a place of refuge for your grand children. May it be even more so now! God bless you!
      1. Thank you Melissa for being so encouraging. it does take a village and finding your site just gives me more tools to be the best I can be in the tasks God gives me. Have a great day
  3. Today I am tackling my living room. I love this post cause right now I am battling with past hurts that is affecting the way I love my family. But God is able. I am new to this site but I am loving it!!! May God continue to use you to minister to us women.
    1. It always amazes me how God provides just what we need right when we need it most! I'll be working on my living room too and sharing photos tomorrow. :) God bless you and your precious family!
  4. Melissa,though I be not married yet,your posts have been a blessing to me since I came across a virtuous woman about three months ago.May God bless you.I have a bad past too but this has given me the strength to look at it from a different angle.
  5. My own past hurts are many but what is hurting most right now is my own family's past hurts. Over the past 8 or 9 years the hurts have turned into a mountain that keeps getting bigger. I've been in some dark places low these last years, but now I'm really in the dumpster. I took a "fun" Feng Shui test a few weeks ago that was so scary about the clutter in my house, I felt paralyzed but I laughed at myself because I could do nothing else! It is truly a reflection of where I am right now. I have read the first two blog posts, had in mind to tackle some things today already but Satan is ahead of me telling me it's too big for me. This has of course happened many times but I have begun to recognize it. Thank you for the reminder in Day 2 Blog! I printed those words and will carry them with me!!! God Bless You
    1. Annie, I pray that you find healing in your heart! God will have the victory. Just hang on to him. I'm so glad you're here and if you have any questions, just let me know! God bless you and your precious family!
      1. Thank you for responding and for your wishes Melissa! I feel your sincerity. I fell off the wagon for a little bit but am back on. Saturday, cleaned the garage and can get my car back in. I wish I had taken a before photo... there were some interesting things that accrued in my car bay... Went through many other items. I'm working on it! Again, thank you. you are a blessing!!
  6. I am newly married and I see how my family's past criticisms are spilling over to my life now. I get so sensitive when people are trying to help. I let that "I'm not good enough" spirit creep in and feel like others are coming down on me when it's really God using others to help me not be so sensitive. Old stuff....blah
    1. Gwyneth, very insightful! I have often thought about how "defensive" I get over certain things... if my husband makes any comment regarding the state of neatness {or lack thereof} in the house I often get upset. Because I see myself as a "failure" if he reminds me of my perceived shortcomings - even unintentionally - it hurts. It's something I've been working on!
  7. I am so in love with this challenge. It is feasible and breaks it down to little bits at a time which gives me the confidence that I can succeed. In speaking to this days topic, I know all to well of holding on to past hurts. For anyone that has read my bio- I had very dark times in my life where I struggled with addiction. This addiction affected my ability to take care of my daughter when I was 18 years old. And up until this last year I would allow my sins to haunt me and hinder the ability to forgive myself. One day I heard a statement that changed my views completely: "If God has forgiven you, and you have not forgiven yourself, essentially you are saying you are better than God." This hit home in so many ways. Who am I to not forgive what the Almighty Father is heaven has? From that point on I made a conscience decision to let it go, to pray and rebuke when the haunts came in, and finally got to the point where I can say I have a past but I am not my past. I loved this article, thank you so much!
    1. Miranda, thank you so much for sharing some of your story! Forgiving ourselves can be such a hard thing, but it's necessary if we want to find peace! I'm so glad you were able to forgive yourself - praise God!
  8. This one was a hard one for me. When I got a divorce 11 years ago I didn't feel worthy of God's love. 10 years ago my boyfriend moved in with me. I made the commitment in my heart that I am married but we are not legally married and probably won't be for a couple more years. He is an unbeliever but over the past couple of years I have seen some changes and know the Lord's working on him. I struggle with the shame and the guilt but don't believe leaving the relationship is the answer. So that's my story and I know the Lord's still working on it. Thank you for this challenge and your blog. I came across it less then a month ago and have really enjoyed it. I am up to day 10 in the challenge. ( It took me this long to get the courage to put my story out there. )
  9. I came across your website last week and I am so glad I did! I have some past hurts and have been struggling these past couple weeks with letting them go. I have wanted to for so many years but like you said I felt so guilty like God wouldn't forgive me for all I had done. Yesterday I took my girls to the church I grew up in. We've been going to a church in our neighborhood with my husband but he was at his parents hunting this past weekend and something told me to drive the hour there instead. I was welcomed back with open arms. Like the prodigal son's story. I realized I was so ashamed by what I had done that I never quite forgave myself or anyone else. Yesterday was a day of healing and I think that I am finally ready to share my story. To sum things up I had a great childhood and then I got out into the real world and got caught up in it and married a guy I had been dating for 6 months ( I was only 18 well I had just turned 19 when we got married) and was pregnant when we got married. He became very violent and emotionally abusive after we got married. I finally had the courage to leave after he hit me in front of our daughter when she was about 8 months old. I moved in with my parents and tried to go back to school. While the divorce was being finalized I got pregnant again by my then boyfriend. When I told him he swore the baby couldn't be his and left me. It was a very dark time for me. But 4 months after my 2nd daughter was born I meet my now husband. We got married last October after dating for 3 1/2 years. This coming May will mark 5 years together. Looking back the first half of the last 10 years was pretty rough for me and I can say I strayed big time. But the 2nd half I spent struggling with the idea that God forgave me. How could he when I was following his ways and doing what he wanted and then just up and walked away from it all. I kept thinking if the people who knew me then saw me now what would they say? What would they think? I was so embarrassed and ashamed. But I know now that not only am I forgiven but God forgave me a long long time ago I just wasn't ready to see it. I look forward to what he has in store for my future and thank him for being the generous gracious God that he is.
    1. Oh, Nicole! Thank you so much for sharing your story. We have so much in common! God is faithful and am so glad you are beginning to feel His forgiveness. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Your story is no longer your past, but what Christ has done for you today!
  10. Today's goal is a hard one. There are so many things I haven't forgiven myself for and have struggled with for years. I realize now that all the things can be wrapped up into one major sin. . .failure to give Christ CONTROL of my life. I was raised in church, repented of my sins and was baptized at 13, and tried to live a good Christian life. But in all that time (I am now 63) I failed to give Christ total control. I maintained most of it myself. I ask God today to forgive me of that sin, take control of my life, and fill me with His Holy Spirit.
  11. I find myself in this constant inner battle. A fight between freedom and self-destruction. I feel like I am stuck in a glass bottle in the middle of an ocean. I can see everyone around me. Those I love, those who love me, even strangers walking around. I am screaming, yet no one can hear me... {ME} just a single soul in solitary... observed by many, yet seen by none. A heart drifting away... attempting to hide from Him who knows all... my wounds packed in a box,,, tormentors encircling me. Then everything goes black, and I wonder... when will it be light again.
    1. JM, I am so sorry you are hurting. God knows your pain and He wants to give you peace. Have you read my testimony, Unloved: http://avirtuouswoman.org/2014/11/09/when-you-feel-unlovable/ - I think it will speak to your heart. Come visit with me again soon. God bless you!
  12. Hello Melissa! In finding your blog and your "A Time To Clean" series, along with your stories about yourself, your family and your community, well I just feel like you are family and I just wanna hug yer neck! I have a LOT of family in and North of your neck of the woods in Harlan, Perry and Morgan counties with most of them being in and around West Liberty, and most are Lykins's of the Ludd clan. These people and places are some of the very best parts of my childhood and I left pieces of my heart there. That said, I was inspired by your family's work with the community center, and as I embark on ridding our home of clutter and excess, I began to wonder if there are specific things you folks like to receive as donations. Our children are grown and we are now empty nesters and it's time to purge! What I have lots of are things like kitchen items from sets of dishes to cookie cutters, teenage girl softball gear + some clothing and lot's of fat n sassy momma clothes (plus sized women's clothing ;) ), TONS of cook books and other assorted "I shall never spend hours dusting again" items that need new homes. Please let me know if there are specific items I might come across as I go and I would be honored to send them your way! Best regards and blessings to you and yours, Jennifer
    1. Hi Jennifer, It's so nice to "meet" you! Everything in our community center is free and people do not need to have proof of income in order to be blessed by the center. Our goal is to just be there for the Appalachian people. The area is so depressed economically and we want to help families in this small way. We love all donations, but there are a few things we can use the most. 1. Clothing - we run out of larger sizes faster than anything, but any and all clothing will be put to good use. 2. Household items - anything and everything. Often a family will be burnt out of their home and we'll try to help them get basic household items when we have them available. 3. Toys/ sports equipment/ kids stuff that's in good shape. 4. Food. Thank you so much for your sweet spirit of generosity. Let me know if you have any other questions. God bless you!
  13. I just discovered your website during my Quiet Day last Friday. The Challenge to Clean is an answer to prayer as the LORD has been speaking to me since last summer (2014) to prepare for the future by decluttering my home. Today's Challenge to clean my heart is very painful, because the hurt from my past are things I've done or neglected to do that have harmed others. Others have suffered or are suffering because of my actions...some of them done, thinking I was doing the right thing but in truth I was being controlling. So I have a question: How does one forgive one's self for the hurt/harm/consequences they have caused another?
    1. Hi HoneyB, Knowing we've hurt someone can be very painful and guilt can eat away at us. Lasting consequences may result from our sins, but God can use any situation for good when we give our hearts to Him. God doesn't want us to carry guilt around for the things we've done in the past. Satan is the one who keeps us bound by guilt. Steps to forgiveness: 1. Ask God to forgive you for those things you know you've done to hurt someone. If you think of particular instances, you can ask for forgiveness about eat one as they come to mind. But, once you've asked the Lord to forgive you, it's time to trust that He is faithful to do just that! 2. It may be helpful to ask individuals, perhaps family members, who you know you've hurt, to forgive you. You could go to the person and say something like: "Jenny, I need to ask your forgiveness. I realize now that things I said in the past were hurtful. I felt a need to control you and I'm so sorry for anything I did or said to make you feel less than enough. Will you please forgive me?" And you could share how God has been working in your life and any other details you feel like sharing, but that's not necessary. 3. Forgive yourself. This is perhaps the hardest part. But, I've found that praying and asking God to help me forgive myself for a wrong is really helpful! Also, realize that you cannot change the past, but that today is what matters. You have a choice each morning to make the right choices. When you give Christ the victory over your life, your past no longer defines you. Instead, your past is the testimony of God's amazing grace and work in your life! Tell others what Christ has done for you and the changes that have taken place. Share the good news!
  14. I had to read and sit with day 2's message for two days. I couldnt bring myself to delve into anything on Sunday. And even last night it was funny how I kept going into my son's room, thinking it would be easier to clean and purge in his room than in my own. But I finally opened my own closet and my own drawers. I got rid of clothes that looked okd and warn. I went through the clothes that dont fit me and said, if these fit you someday, will you even wear them? I got rid of my favorite bathingsuit EVER. But when I looked at it with new eyes, it was old and worn....not to mention several sizes too small. One of my purposes in doing this clutter cleanse is to learn to love the me I am now. Not the me I was yesterday, even though I was thinner. Not the me I will be tomorrow, but ME NOW. I want to love the Peggy God has me to be today.
  15. I`m not going to lie, sometimes I can be real pain to others. I can accept that, try to improve and ask for forgiveness. I`m a very sensitive person . I have been mocked, laughed at, made fun of and treated cruely by some. People have said some very cruel things to me and these past hurts have haunted me for YEARS. It has made me indecisive, insecure and at a loss of how to proceed. I know I need to let it all go, but it`s difficult to do. People I didn`t even know have done cruel things to me. I have asked God to forgive them as I do, but like they say, to forgive does not mean to forget. I have tried to "let it go" but it keeps creeping back into my consciousness. This article has helped, now it`s time to heal my bruised ego and move on. I know it will not be easy. Wish me luck.

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