Our identity is made up of many layers as we grow. Some of those layers are shed over time and others added. Fractured and broken relationships cause wounds in our identity and often warp how we view ourselves. They even warp how others perceive us.
Deeper layers stay constant - we are all sons or daughters, we may be a wife or husband - a mother or father. When these deeper layers are shattered, through dysfunction, abuse, divorce, neglect - a paradigm shift takes place; much like an earthquake. It shakes, it changes and it can cause havoc.
There is a fine balance between letting go of painful memories and the concept of allowing God to re-write the layers of our lives as we walk through those memories with Him.
M. Scott Peck states "Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit."
God does not want us stuck in the past but the deeper the hurt into the layers of our identity the more concern there is in making sure that the root of this hurt, and the deception and lies around that root, are exposed and dealt with before letting go.
As we begin to experience truth and healing in the layers of our life we find healthier ways for our past to be used in our future.
Richard Rohr, in his book, Everything Belongs, states that God often has a reason for the pain, so "we dare not get rid of the pain before we have learned what it has to teach us."
God re-writes the layers of our lives as we begin to accept ourselves as being God's. Isaiah 43:1 speaks to the deepest layer of all - this is who we really are. God has called us by name. One version uses the word "summoned". God calls out our name. He declares "You are mine."
This doesn't change the past, it doesn't change the dysfunction (except our own part in it becomes healthier) but it definitely changes the future. As we begin to let go after walking through these painful parts with God, another paradigm shift occurs; in our behavior, our thoughts and our actions. We are now confident that what He is calling us to will incorporate all the lessons learned from the past and it will be much more than anything that He has called us from.