Lesson 1

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 “Use me as you see fit Lord, I am yours.”

My prayer recited almost daily.  My total relinquishing of control to the Lord. I was to learn that even in my relinquishing I retained a preconceived notion of what this selflessness looked like.

I was a busy body.  I was a Sunday School teacher. I worked on the church website. I was a scripture reader. I was on the church alter guild. I tried to offer the fellowship snacks one Sunday a month. I was the church representative at Synod meetings. I kept busy for Jesus. Wasn’t that nice?  Wasn’t I nice? I had a full time business.  I opened a yoga studio. I wanted to do more than that. He gave me more than that. He gave me a wellness conference. What difference would the planning of one little Christian wellness conference make?


I asked. He answered.

Being used by God did not look at all like I thought it would.  I expected it to be fulfilling. I expected it to be enriching.  I expected it to draw me closer to the Lord. The last four months of my life have been the most emotionally draining, physically exhausting, ego shattering  of my life.  I doubted myself and my abilities daily. I felt disconnected from Him. I felt like a spiritual fraud. I felt like everything I touched turned to mud. 

I felt like a failure in every aspect of my life.

I asked.  He answered.

See, it never looks like you think it will.

It turns out I wanted Him to use me so that I would be gratified.  So I could say, God, look what I did because I love you.

When He used me it felt like a hard dry land that He had forgotten. As the conference date grew closer it wasn’t looking like I thought it would. Expectation. The knowledge that I had involved others in this escapade. Responsibility. I was making mistakes at work-lots of mistakes. I was short with my husband. I was neglecting my parents. Church duties fell away. There was no rest. There was no freedom. He brought me completely to the end of me.  I had an allergic reaction to a couple of scorpion stings right before I left and my muscles and joints ached. I was running on fumes by the time I got to Phoenix.

And there He was, as big as always.

And there was my fulfillment. He drove that home like a sharp nail. The joy wasn’t in the doing. The joy was NOT in the roller coaster journey.  There had been no fulfillment in that ride. It came when I was done. Toast.  Spent. When I was too tired to form a rational thought in my head or climb one more stair. When I was an emotional and physical heap.  He used every single drop of me. The last few months I felt like I was half assing everything.  Nope. He got it all.

I asked. He answered.

My fulfillment came in my witnessing of what finally was going on around me.  Not going to lie-that realization was slow coming.  Took me a couple of fuzzy days. Gifted presenters acting as conduits for His message. His direction. Witnessing hearts opening.  Hearts touched.  Community. Love. His love. Beauty.

I asked.  He answered.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”  Psalm 42:1 NIV

My soul panted for Him this last season.  But I have now learned that the panting is every bit as important as the drink. Without the stinging thirst there is no appreciation for the quenching.  This last Saturday, laying on my back with my feet up a wall, listening to the words of a gifted presenter/friend I got it. Fulfillment.

He used me. Thank you, Jesus.


25 Things You May Not Know About Me

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:22 am by Administrator

1. I LOVE good westerns.

2. They cease to be good westerns when they use saddles from the wrong era.

3. I love non fiction. Give me a Home Dept How To guide any day.

4. I alphabetize my spice rack.

5. I LOVE languages. Especially French.

6. Other kids went to amusement parks. My dad took us to battlefields.

7. I’m crazy about my father.

8. I have 8 tattoos.

9. My son is a tattoo artist.

10. My daughter is a marine biologist.

11. My husband is crazy.

12. Sometimes I can be mean to my husband which is awful, because I am crazy about him.

13. I was born in Washington D.C.

14. I love the Bible. The deeper I dig, the deeper it gets.

15. I cry at the drop of the hat.

16. I laugh in awkward situations and inappropriate moments.

17. My first job out of highschool was climbing telephone poles.

18. I started riding motorcycles when I was around nine and had a Harley as a teenager.

19. I was fearless as a kid and would do anything on a dare.

20. I climbed inside a water tower on a dare.  I was 11.

21. I am a pretty gifted horse trainer. It is God-given.

22. I am a really good shot with a gun or a bow.

23. I still love to climb trees.

24. I hate bugs. They make me scream like a girl.

25. I love to live out loud.



I admit it…I’m a poser.

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:29 pm by Administrator

Peacock is my current “glory pose”. I have been practicing this pose for over a year and am not there….yet. I don’t practice it every day, but enough. For me, that is the crux of yoga. Others may look at that pose and think, “you do these contortions for reaction, how is that yoga?”. But they are only seeing the destination-the finished product. Yoga is definitely about the journey. Practicing and practicing. Not getting frustrated with the incompleteness, just experiencing it. Wearing bruises as badges of failures. The small victories along the way, figuring out what is necessary and what is not. Then finally-and there will be a finally to this-rising up into peacock. Fleeting at first, longer each time, as the muscles develop memory and strength. Falling in a heap to the floor, looking at the ceiling with a smile. The private elation of knowing you FINALLY did it. Praising God that you FINALLY got it.. That is yoga. The finished pose is the aftermath.


On the Radio

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:44 pm by Administrator

Do you ever have those moments when it seems like the curtain parts and things become very clear… for that moment? I had one of those the other day.

Over lunch with a friend the subject of anxiety came up.    For the sake of this narrative, we were discussing anxiety and coping skills, good and bad, that people use.

I am not, by nature, a worrier.  I believe God clothed the birds and flowers, and He is sufficient.  My husband would say that he clothed this sparrow.  My kids would say I worried about everything they did.  I would agree with both. But, I am off a topic.

When I got back from lunch, I saw on my computer that Donna Summer had died.  My mind immediately went back to my teenage years.  I did not like disco, but I listened to A LOT of the Queen of Disco.  It was not of my choosing.

It seemed every morning of my junior year began with Donna Summer blaring from our little t.v. room.  Five o’clock in the a.m. and I’m rattled out of the bed with “Last Dance”, “On the Radio”, and everyone’s favorite, “MacCarther Park”.  Now, we all know how much sixteen year olds enjoy sleeping.  It was a past time.  When left to my own devices, I rolled out of bed approximately 3 minutes before I had to leave for school.  I’d stuff myself into a wrinkled uniform pulled off the floor (possibly clean), brush my teeth and head out the door.  School began somewhere around eight.  Donna seriously cut into my past time.

I started each morning pissed off at Donna, my Dad, and the world.  I was experiencing puberty, my mom menopause and my dad bankruptcy, simultaneously.  And Donna was there to spur us on.  We were each completely self absorbed and angry with the other for ignoring our feelings and issues.  A house, not a home, of isolationists.

As an adult, I became a business owner and slowly began to relate to my dad on that level.  We both ran businesses through a recession; his on a much larger scale.  I remember a conversation about my dad grossing a million dollars a year and having nothing to show for it.  It was the seventies.  I absolutely know the struggle on my small scale.  Trying to keep the dragon fed.  The numbness that comes with busting your ass for little or no return.  Ongoing arguments with your spouse.  The ego involved with failure.  Waking in the middle of the night and immediately being wide awake with the weight of it all.  And this is where Donna comes in.

I have of habit of putting my problems in mental boxes.  If it is an issue I can’t fix at the moment (or I just cannot deal with at that point) I visualize placing it in a cardboard box and carefully folding down the four tops of the box. Then I stack it my mental attic.  I don’t have to tape the box, it will be opened soon enough. And thus, I cope.

But sitting in front of my computer, thinking about Ms. Summer for the first time in thirty years, I realized she was my dad’s coping mechanism.  Those who know my dad would say he is not, by nature, a worrier. Now, I think I understand. I see my dad, just a few years older than I am, waking with that wide awake weight of it all feeling.  But, he didn’t cope with mental boxes, he coped with Donna.  Blaring that pounding disco beat from the moment he woke, he didn’t have to deal with his thoughts and the realities of the day, until he was ready for the day to start.  I guess the louder the thoughts, the louder the Donna. She helped him cope when the walls were closing in.

I now sit here nostalgic for Donna Summer music and a man with whom I was at the time, so angry.  I just want to hug him.  A moment passes and I shake my head, rattled as I remember his standard follow up to the Queen of Disco’s L.P.…the Boston Philharmonic. I don’t even venture a guess. The curtain closed.


Did you see …it?

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:30 am by Administrator

Acts 10:44-48 “All the prophets testify about him that everyone that believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out, even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited them to stay for several days.”

This is a new economy. Did you see it or did it slip by?

Most of us were taught that Pentecost was the beginning of the Church age. The age of Grace. And it was, to a point. But, it was still a Jewish movement. Pentecost was an event of Jewish believers.  It is not until the house of Cornelius receives the Holy Spirit that the age of Grace begins. A Gentile receiving the Holy Spirit for the first time. Radical. Up until this moment, Jews and Samaritans (which were basically Jews that had intermarried) were the only believers and recipients of the Spirit. He was theirs. This was a Jewish thing. But as big and radical as this event was, a Gentile and his family receiving the Holy Spirit, there is more.

To get there, we have to go back to an earlier chapter in Acts. Back to Pentecost. (O.K., at this point I had to stop, get up and look for my reading glasses. When I passed the bathroom I noticed in the mirror that they are on my head. Can you really trust me any further than this?)

Acts 2:36“Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this. God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

It goes on to say in verse 40 that Peter “pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” This generation that crucified their Messiah. Peter is pleading with all Jews. Every one. Every Jew was to repent for their unbelief. Over three thousand did. They repented. They were baptized. They were forgiven. And they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. But Peter was speaking to the entire house of Israel. Not just the three thousand. And it is at this moment, I believe, that it is at this moment the pause button is pushed on Isreal. . . .for a time.

DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME-I absolutely believe the Jews are God’s chosen people. His “peculiar treasure” (Ex 19:5) and I absolutely believe, as it says in Genesis 12:3 “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”. KJV But I also believe Israel as a whole was asked to repent and didn’t.

Now, look at our main verses and the gentiles in Cornelius’ house. They received the word; that if they believed in him they would receive forgiveness. The Holy Spirit fell on them. They were baptized. Did. You. See. It?


In scripture after scripture, we are called to believe in Him. Faith. In the Jewish economy, right up until the very moment God welcomes in the Gentiles, it is a religion of works. Repent-human action. Be baptized-human action. It is only after their human action that they are forgiven. Then they receive the Holy Spirit. In the house of Cornelius, the Holy Spirit fell on all that heard the word. The action is the Holy Spirit’s. We cannot claim any action that we have done. Maybe it is just semantics, but personally, I don’t believe there is anything unintentional about the Bible. Works versus Grace. No human activity required other than believing what has been spoken. The Holy Spirit falls on us. The Holy Spirit is poured upon us. This human act-the baptism-this rite we perform-our action-is now after. A celebration of, NOT a requirement for, the Holy Spirit. Did.You.See.It?



Posted in Uncategorized at 7:44 pm by Administrator

When you were little, you were scared of cows

I would tell you not to be afraid

When you were little, you were scared to speak to strangers

I would tell you not to be afraid

When you were little, you were scared to sleepover

I would tell you not to be afraid

Now you swim with barracudas and sharks

You’re not afraid

Now you lecture to hundreds

You’re not afraid

Now you roam the world

You’re not afraid

When you were little

I was scared things out there would hurt you

I still am

When you were little

I was scared strangers would grab you

I still am

When you were little

I was scared I would lose you

I still am

You are not afraid

I still am




Please, pass me the salt.

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“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you ought to answer each person.”  Colossians 4:6 ESV
My favorite form of Bible study is contemplating a subject and then finding the different scriptures that reference it. I originally started today’s Bible study on the subject of gratitude. I was on my way to Colossians 4:2 when 4:6 caught my eye. When I looked at the bottom of the page for commentary, there was nothing. It referenced me to other scriptures with salt, but none told me what salt signified. I had my ideas, but were they accurate? So much for the study of gratitude. The study of salt would take precedence.
All we hear about these days is how bad salt is for us. We eat too much of it. It causes hypertension. It increases our risk of stroke. What about a salty disposition, salty language and my personal favorite, “my, aren’t you salty today”? Seasoned with salt…could that be a good thing?
I consulted several commentaries, the dictionary and Strong’s. I don’t think we need to go into the scientific properties of salt. (a crystalline compound, Sodium Chloride, NaCl). I found out that in Eastern cultures salt symbolizes fidelity and friendship. It is important to offer salt to guests and equally important for guests to eat it. Salt is the emblem of God’s covenant with his people and was always supposed to be part of a meal offering to God. Salt is a symbol of spiritual health and vigor. To the Greeks, salt was symbolic of wit. To some cultures salt is the symbol of wisdom. Salt represents common sense. Salt represents a lack of pretense. Salt protects us from the corruption of this world. When we spill salt and throw it over our shoulder, we are symbolically throwing it in the devil’s eye. Salt purifies, salt preserves and salt heals.
As I rolled the scripture around in my head, my attention now turned to gracious. I understand what grace is (His unmerited favor, thank you, Jesus), but gracious-all that came to mind was good manners when hosting a party. I learned that gracious was less about good breeding (again, thank you, Jesus) and more about the heart. To be gracious is to be marked by kindness and courtesy. To be gracious is to be merciful. To be gracious is to be compassionate. To be gracious is to be charming and generous of spirit. Isn’t the action of being gracious absolutely lovely?
I now find myself absolutely enamored with this verse. Originally, in the Bible according to Mia, this verse could have been read,” When you’re talking to someone and they say something stupid, smile and hold your tongue, unless it was really stupid.” Now, when I read this verse something richer comes to mind. Paul was referencing when we speak to people outside of the church, but I believe it holds for those inside, as well as outside. Speak with love. Speak with compassion. Speak with concern. But also speak with truth. The Truth that truly purifies, the Truth that preserves, the Truth that heals. We are not to recite a dry dissertation or harangue or accuse. We are not to make someone feel we are convicting them. Conviction is best left to the Holy Spirit. We are to bring the Truth with charm and wit and kindness and friendship. And isn’t that delicious?


Who is Really in the Dark?

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:40 pm by Administrator

Dear Mr. Government Official and/or Commission and/or Department in charge of Daylight Savings Time,

It is my understanding that Daylight Savings Time was instituted during the Depression to give farmers more hours of daylight in which to farm. May have seemed logical at the time, but…

You don’t know me.  I am an anonymous runner in a rural community outside of a small town outside of  many smaller towns in Texas.  I run. I enjoy running.  Most of the time it is very relaxing.

I run on a Farm to Market road. Despite the 70 mile an hour traffic, it is the safest road around here on which to run.  Did you notice the word farm in that road title?  I live in a farm community.  Although my sample group is small (rural community outside of a small town outside of many smaller towns), every farmer I know has electricity, an alarm clock, and a television.  All the modern conveniences.  Most have very expensive tractors with radios, air conditioning and GPS.  These fellows live in a very hot climate, as do all the farmers in the southern states.  These being the states that most retirees, suburbanites and city dwellers have moved to in the last few decades.

I don’t think these farmers would mind staying on Standard Time.  As a matter of fact, they would probably enjoy getting in earlier, so they can relax and watch that television. They may choose to  sit on the porch while it is still early, since the heat has broke, because the sun has gone down.  We can only imagine, because we are under Daylight Savings Time, which is as oppressive as a 6p.m. Texas sun in June….  6 p.m. Daylight Savings Time.  See, even though farmers are indeed, still farming -their farming techniques have progressed right along with the rest of society.  Unlike government actions, such as Daylight Savings Time.

In the south, we like to get things done early, before the brutal heat sets in.  We are less likely to have heat stroke doing strenuous activities in the morning rather than in those blistering late afternoons.  Included in those activities is farming and running.  You, Mr. Government, have sucked the joy right out of my morning run.   It is now dark at 6:00 a.m.  It is dark at 6:30 a.m.  It is dark at 7:00 a.m.  I am now running in the dark, so that I may shower in time to get to work to make the money required to pay my taxes to keep you employed.  As I have mentioned, I run on a Farm to Market road. There are no street lights on a Farm to Market in a rural community outside of a small town outside of many smaller towns.  This enables us to enjoy seeing the Milky Way, but keeps us from seeing chug holes, drought cracks or roadkill on our Farm to Market when it is dark.  That darkness is completely obliterated when a driver puts on his high beams to see me running on the shoulder (I am not complaining about that.  I prefer that he wants to see me).  At this point I have to stop running, because now  all the chug holes, drought cracks and roadkill in a one mile radius are visible, but I cannot see them, because I have been temporarily blinded by the high beams and cannot see anything.  I am aware that a car is rocketing at me in the direction of the light, but in my blindness, that light now appears to be everywhere.  If you are my age and you saw the movie, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”, you may remember a scene at the end of the movie where the malicious little gremlins are dragging Kim Darby into the chimney. She grabs a camera and start flashing it at them to blind them.  Well, it works.   But, I am not a malicious little gremlin.  Well, I would be less of one under standard time.

As you are a government official and/or commission and/or department, I am betting that you live inside the Beltway.  This leads me to deduce that you probably are not a farmer. You may be a runner.  My hunch is that if you are indeed a runner, you do so on a well lit track in your well lit gym in your well lit government building.  When was the last time you saw the Milky Way?

I doubt you have talked to many farmers, but you may have read about them in an expensive government study or may have even seen one on that television.  You may sympathize with your illusion of what a farmer is.  Do you just want to cuddle him and pat him on the head and tell him you are doing this for his own good?

Or are you, as I estimate most government officials and/or commissions and/or departments are doing, perpetuating arcane and senseless government programs to keep yourselves employed? If my observation is incorrect, I welcome your response as to why Daylight Savings Time is still practiced and why you are still employed?


Unhappy runner


You can run but…

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:39 pm by Administrator

” What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’

Then the Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’

‘A staff,’ he replied.

The Lord said, ‘Throw it to the ground.’

Moses threw it to the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.  Then the Lord said to him, ‘Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.’  So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.”-Exodus 4:1-4 NIV

Poor Moses.  Talk about taking a tumble.  Moses was  groomed to be pharaoh and ends up with a slaying followed by tending sheep in the back country for forty years.  If you wanted to be reviled in an ancient Egyptian’s sight, forget the slaying,  just tell him you keep company with sheep.  Being ostracized would be enough to rattle anyone’s self confidence, but add a stutter and you’ve fired a bubbling caldron of insecurities.   These Moses had.   God, you want me to tell them what?!?!

Early in these verses, Moses staff isn’t as much his staff as his crutch.  He has been walking up and down those foothills trailing after sheep for many years leaning on that staff.  It was as much a part of him as breathing.  Walking with it was second nature.  But it was indeed, a crutch.  He leaned on it and depended on it.

What is our crutch?  What do we lean on? What have we been doing for so many years we no longer think about it, it is just second nature?  What is it, that if it were known how much we do it, may be considered as loathsome to those we know, as shepherding was to the Egyptians? And are we afraid of trying to function without it?

For some of us, it may be alcohol.  Others, gambling.  Maybe it’s an addiction to shopping.  It could be something that our friends see us do, and think nothing of, only because they have not seen the extent of the control it has over our lives.  But, when we wake in the wee hours of the night in the dark and quiet with no distraction, we know the magnitude of this snake in our life. We may not like it, but we need it.

When God tells us to throw our crutch down and see it for what it is, what is our very human gut reaction?  To run. I absolutely love this verse.  Moses’ first reaction when seeing his crutch as the snake it is, is not to immediately turn to God.  His reaction is instinctual.  It is self preservation. RUN! God has to stop Moses and tell him not only to face that snake, but grab it by the tail.  The tail! Why, any fool would tell you not to grab a snake by the tail. That snake can flick around and bite Moses in a flash.

Here is the real story for me.   Moses hears God and stops running.  Not only does he hear God, he trusts God enough to override his natural inclinations. He grabs the snake by the tail and God turns it back into a staff.  The interesting thing is, in Hebrew, this time that staff is a rod.  A rod represents righteousness and good.  Throughout the rest of scripture, it is referred to as a rod. God has turned Moses’ crutch into his strength.

When we try to deal with our snake on our own, it usually does bite us.  Our attempts to fix our problem don’t stick.  Sometimes, when we’ve barely got  hold of our snake by the tail it whips back and bites, and  we relapse. Often, worse than before. But when we quit running, when we stop trying to delude and protect our self,  when we not only listen to God, but trust him, we can face our problem and see it clearly.  Letting go of control is tough.  Letting go and trusting Him, can be even tougher.  It is possible to be afraid and trust. We don’t have to equate our fear of the unknown with doubt in Him.  He is all powerful and in full control.  With His help we can grab our snake by the tail.  Not only will we conquer it, we will turn it into our rod of righteousness, our good, our testimony.  There is no more fear.  There is His glory.


Talking to Myself

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:53 pm by Administrator

I Corinthians 4:3-4

“I care very little if I am judged by you or any human court; indeed I do not even judge myself.  My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.  It is the Lord who judges me.”         NIV

Hmm, I am soooo not Paul.  And I am soooo working on that.  I have worried about other people’s opinions my entire life.  I am a bend over backwards people-pleaser.  And yes, I am well aware of the implications that go along with.  It is loathsome, I am aware, and I am working on it.

Conversation will be my destruction.  That is a problem when you like to talk as much as I do. I people-please all over a conversation.  When you consider there are two sides to a conversation and I try to please on both, I have my work cut out for me.

On the first front, I stand here guilty and convicted of being in a conversation with an individual or a group, in which something is said that offends me on one level or another as a Christian, and I keep my mouth shut.  That my friends, is a horrible offense.  I have heard things said by good folks that would curl your hair and, rather than risk their judgement (sugarcoat it and say, I didn’t want to make a scene)by my speaking up, I say nothing.  Then I leave and say to my husband with righteous indignation, “I cannot believe she actually said THAT!”  Groan.  How wretched am I?  Paul and James were such bulldogs.  Absolutely in your face about bad behavior and, rather than make an individual or a group uncomfortable by voicing what I believe, I just stand there mute. That way I won’t  not be liked.

I am a work in progress.  Sometimes I just have to excuse myself from an uncomfortable conversation.  I am learning that there are times I do have to say something.  I try to ask myself, “where am I on biblical ground?”, when I am in these situations.  It is safe for me to stand strong in my convictions and I can do that gently.  I don’t need to smack someone in the back of the head with my opinion.  I can make my point, kindly.  If it goes over like a lead balloon well, God knows my heart and He is my judge.  Not the other person.  For me, this baby step is a big step.

The second part of this attack is second guessing what I say.  This pretty well takes care of both sides of a conversation, doesn’t it?  I can roll a conversation around in my head for days, cringing over something said benignly.  For days.  Knowing I didn’t mean what I have now construed what I said, to mean.  Confused?  I will wear myself out over something I said, hoping the other person didn’t take it a certain way, why in the world did I say that, do you think they think…exhausting;  judging my words, obsessing on their perceived judgment of my words.  All that people pleasing is work.

That work my friends, is the work of the devil.  Instilling self doubt, undermining me and my worth.  If I said some perceived offense, nail it to the cross once and let it go.  Don’t die a thousand deaths over it.  Die to it once.  I have been forgiven-I just need to thank Him for His forgiveness.

In the little picture I’ve painted and in the big picture of my life, Paul’s words, ” my conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.”  race home.  I am guilty of so much, but when I go the Lord with it, big or small, confess it and know that I have been forgiven, my conscience is clear.

It is the Lord who judges me. It is the Spirit who convicts me. And it is the Father who has forgiven me.  It is done.

So, let it go.