Strategy 9: Your Hurts (pages 151-167)

Within 45 seconds of watching the singer retell a painful and familiar story from childhood through a song she wrote for her daughter, I found myself sobbing ugly on my bedroom floor.Her story echoed mine and it pressed on a piece of me that I refer to as emotional scar tissue.

Have you ever had an old wound that seems to have healed completely, yet when the gnarled up tissue surrounding it is touched with only the weight of a feather, it releases a pain so intense your body trembles? That song about a daddy leaving his little girl was my feather.

I showed the video to my husband, cried some more and then opened the package waiting for me. Fervent. I had agreed to read the book and write about strategy 9. When I took on the assignment, I did so because my prayer life felt dry and I wanted to reclaim my passion for prayer. But I didn’t know a thing about strategy 9 until I turned to that chapter first and read: “Your hurts. Turning bitterness to forgiveness.”

In my bones I knew that God had assigned me this chapter and to open it at that very moment.

With eyes still wet, I clung to every word. Again and again I read the chapter and Hebrews 12:14-15.

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”

“Lord,” I prayed. “I’ve forgiven my father for leaving when I was two. I have a relationship with him now. I don’t feel bitter. But I hurt. Please show me why. Show me if I haven’t really forgiven him.”

Again I heard the singer choke out the line “she will never question her worth, because I will put her first.” And I knew the source  of my hurt.

I forgave him for leaving, but I never forgave him for making me question my worth.

My struggle with my worth has been the robber of joy far too many times in my life. At that moment in fervent prayer, God revealed how I still silently accused my father of creating that robber. Once I clearly viewed the depth of my hurt and unrecognized root of bitterness surrounding it, I was able to rely on God for the healing I so desperately need. For me, it’s a process, but it began that moment I cried out for answers to an ache almost as old as me.

What’s Next:

For Friday, read Strategy 10: Your Relationships (pages 169-181)

Subscribe to Friday’s live chat here!


Is there a pain in your life that needs release? Which of the scriptures on pages 164-167 are you using to craft a prayer strategy of freedom and forgiveness?

angelanazworth Angela Nazworth is passionate about living life with a heart wide open. She writes mostly about the beauty of grace, friendship, vulnerability, and community as a monthly contributor for incourage.me and on her personal blog, angelanazworth.com.

  • Gail Noe

    I cannot put into words what your message is doing to my heart. I was very deeply wounded in childhood also. In these last few days, the Lord has made it clear, I am not to blame anyone including myself. Jesus finished work on the cross not only took care of all my sins but the sins of others against me. WOW! Also, His Word in Rom. 8:1 makes it very clear there is NOW no condemnation for us in Christ Jesus!!! Amazing, no more condemnation even when I hear it come thru the voice of another, I do not receive it but assure myself that Jesus took care of it. I never thought of forgiving those who hurt me and made me question my worth until you stated it. Thank you! I am taking it all to the Lord and trust His ability to heal me.

  • Kirsten Schroeder

    Such an important topic! How do we forgive those who made us feel worthless, especially if they did it during our childhood? So many people need to hear this message, and to know that they were never worthless. But the healing does need to come through forgiveness, of the other and of ourselves. Thank you for being brave enough to go there. You are an inspiration.

  • Kristen

    Angela, I love your writing. Isn’t it ironic that your last name now contains the word “worth”? Maybe that was God’s way of making sure you are reminded of your worth every single day!

  • Sarah Jo Burch

    I’ve been working through some negative patterns in my life lately, trying to pinpoint the source, and this chapter was very timely for me. In part because I realized that wounds inflicted by someone in the past were unforgiven and affecting me deeply, but also that I was using that as excuse for my behavior (“she made me this way”). It really helped to be reminded of the real enemy!
    Colossians 3:12-14 really stood out to me – being compassionate and kind and humble and patient, because that hurt wasn’t inflicted on purpose, just out of misguidedness, and, of course, forgiving.

  • Mo

    Our pastor played the video of “Piece by Piece” on the screen for the invitation a week ago Sunday. I believe he was amazed at the feedback he received from so many hurting members w/ fathers who have walked away. There were not many dry eyes in the place.
    So thankful for Jesus’ promise to never leave us and also that He will give us soul rest :)

  • @i_am_his_Eph1

    Absolutely! Yes there is pain. My pain stems from abandonment. I had a rocky childhood and then later in life a rocky first marriage. I know in my heart I have forgiven the abuses but like you, there are times that those scars flare up and a new sense of grief washes over me. Pain over lost innocence, pain over betrayals, pain over feeling inadequate, etc, etc. I haven’t quite determined what is causing the fresh pain but I know God is faithful and will reveal it to me as I seek Him out. I didn’t quite realize that I may need to take this deeper with God until I read your post about possible hidden layers of unforgiveness. I think I highlighted every scripture listed but the one that spoke the most to my heart was Eph 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you (do not allow these feelings to take root within your heart) along with all malice. Be kind to one another (so much as it depends upon you), tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Amen!! And thank you for sharing your heart!

  • Beth Williams

    Ephesians: 4:26-27 Do not let the sun go down on your anger and not give the devil an opportunity. Is a go to scripture for me. I tend to get upset/mad with my hubby. I understand that if I let it fester then I’m giving the devil an upper hand to build a wedge between us. I’ve learned through the movie and the book to pray about everything. Don’t nag or argue–just pray and ask God to work on your hubby!
    Matthew 5:44-45 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in Heaven. That one struck a chord with me also. I never really experienced persecution per say. Some people just grate on your nerves and make being around them unbearable. In light of that I have tried praying for them. Maybe God would soften their hearts some.
    Blessings :)

  • http://www.undergraceandovercoffee.com Andrea Mitchell

    I understand this struggle too well. My parents separated when I was three, and while I sort of had a relationship with him throughout my childhood, he shut the door to it completely 16 years ago. I’ve never understood why. Almost 10 years ago, due to depression, my mom also closed the doors to our relationship, her illness isolating her from everyone who loved her. I could forgive both my parents for shutting me out, but it took years to be able to forgive them for the hurt it caused. It’s still something I have to purposefully undertake regularly, but I am thankful God gives me the help I need to do it.