On our way to vacation last week we came across a beautiful waterfall on the side of the road. As I took pictures and video of it I remembered the definition of the word liberty I recently studied in the Bible passage that inspired the name of our organization in Isaiah 61:1-3. The word “liberty” is how the blueletterbible.org lexicon translates the phrase “freedom for the captives.” It further gives the meaning of liberty to be: a flowing, to move rapidly, spontaneity of outflow, and so clear, pure.

When considering our healing from past traumas like abortion and sexual abuse, the freedom in forgiveness we find of ourselves and others – through Jesus – doesn’t take the traumas away. They are still a part of our past, but our lives are now free to flow over and around them, slowly eroding the painful memories and strongholds they once had on us. As with the powerful waterfall, there is no rock or boulder (past pain or hurt) that will block the flow of the water, but instead only cause a shift in the direction of the flow. As we heal, these shifts can result in goodness and blessing, wisdom, and a breaking of the cycle for future generations.

Left alone however, untreated, ignored, avoided, buried deep, self-medicated, our past traumas can certainly cause us to shift the flow and course of our lives, maybe in slight unnoticeable ways at first, but usually, eventually all the way through the spectrum to additional and compiling traumatic events, and unfortunately in extreme circumstances possibly leading to suicide or death through reckless choices.

No matter our past, there are constant difficult and negative forces coming against all of us on a daily basis in this world. Just watch the news, and you can see it. But we needn’t fear or tremble.

When we find freedom from the weighty and burdensome guilt, shame and secrecy of the past (whatever our past is), we are given a new opportunity to seek the path that will lead to joy, peace and goodness, here in this life and the next, unencumbered from these burdens.

This passage from Isaiah was a prophecy of the coming Messiah, the savior of the world. It was written thousands of years ago, but it’s a message of hope for us today as well. When Jesus began His preaching, this passage from Isaiah is the first scripture He quoted to the people. And then He went on to live it out by going to the cross. His blood shed for us became the way of our freedom from the bondage of the weight and captivity of our sinfulness.

When Jesus told His followers that He would be leaving soon they became worried. He told them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. . . You know the way to the place I am going. . . I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. . . But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:1-27

I pray that you know this Way, that you let the truth of Jesus’ words and actions outweigh the burdens of trauma and hurt in your life, that you would not let your hearts be troubled, but seek healing through the only One who knows the Way.

Then your life can begin to flow freely again as you allow God to transform the past into His unstoppable, glorious and good purposes.