Sometimes letting go of the past is the hardest action a person can do.
We all have something in our past that negatively impacted our life. It could be a memory involving a family member, a stranger, or simply a bad decision we made. Whatever it is, we need to place it before the feet of our Good Shepherd, who looks kindly upon us and wills our good.
God said to the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). This passage alone can give us consolation, but sometimes we just need to let our heart out and cry to God, asking him to heal us.
St. Augustine once wrote, “Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence.” It is certainly not an easy maxim to live by, but it is the only way that we can move on with our lives.
Psalm 22 is one of the best prayers to pray for the healing of memories, it unites us to Jesus on the cross (he himself prayed it there) and while praying it we are honest with the hurt we feel within us, but end our prayer by praising God for his goodness to us. Pray it slowly, inviting God into your memories and asking him to place his healing hand upon your head and heart.
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why so far from my call for help,
from my cries of anguish?
My God, I call by day, but you do not answer;
by night, but I have no relief.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the glory of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted and you rescued them.
To you they cried out and they escaped;
in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
But I am a worm, not a man,
scorned by men, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they curl their lips and jeer;
they shake their heads at me:
“He relied on the Lord—let him deliver him;
if he loves him, let him rescue him.”
For you drew me forth from the womb,
made me safe at my mother’s breasts.
Upon you I was thrust from the womb;
since my mother bore me you are my God.
Do not stay far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is no one to help.
Many bulls surround me;
fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.
They open their mouths against me,
lions that rend and roar.
Like water my life drains away;
all my bones are disjointed.
My heart has become like wax,
it melts away within me.
As dry as a potsherd is my throat;
my tongue cleaves to my palate;
you lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs surround me.
a pack of evildoers closes in on me.
They have pierced my hands and my feet
I can count all my bones.
They stare at me and gloat;
they divide my garments among them;
for my clothing they cast lots.
But you, Lord, do not stay far off;
my strength, come quickly to help me.
Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the grip of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth,
my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.
Then I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the Lord, give praise!
All descendants of Jacob, give honor;
show reverence, all descendants of Israel!
For he has not spurned or disdained
the misery of this poor wretch,
Did not turn away from me,
but heard me when I cried out.
I will offer praise in the great assembly;
my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.
The poor will eat their fill;
those who seek the Lord will offer praise.
May your hearts enjoy life forever!”
All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord;
All the families of nations
will bow low before him.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
the ruler over the nations.
All who sleep in the earth
will bow low before God;
All who have gone down into the dust
will kneel in homage.
And I will live for the Lord;
my descendants will serve you.
The generation to come will be told of the Lord,
that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn
the deliverance you have brought.