Please bare with me on this post. It will open up some wounds for me that I've struggled with for many many years.
For many years now, I've struggled with forgiveness. Little things, not so much but the "BIG" things, I've had some issue with forgiving. Not just others, myself as well. But lately, God has been doing a work on me. I've been put through the refiners fire. I know this because the impurities have fallen off and it's been painful. Friendships have been severed....maybe not "best" friends but none the less, it can still be painful. A lot of times, I feel alone. I know I'm not and I know its because right now, I'm going through the fire. I'm far from perfect. I will never be until we, the saints are transformed in the twinkling of an eye. Some area's of my life are so rich and full....I could not ask for a better husband or a more wonderful marriage. These past, almost 10 years now have been the best years of my life. I truly found my soul mate...or rather, God led us to each other and for that, I can not be more thankful.
There are people who I feel have done my loved one's wrong. So much so that there was a point in my life that I could probably say I hated them and have meant it. Letting go of that was very difficult. But it wasn't the hardest.
There was a time in my life I was angry at God. SOOOO angry. I was a sophomore in high school and told my daddy was dying and didn't have much time. For those who didn't know me too well or at all at that time, my daddy was my hero. He was my best friend, my mentor, my comfort, my stability, my strength and to think this was all going to be ripped away from me. I was mad at God. I mean, how could he take someone so important to me away from me when I needed him most. A girl is SUPPOSED to have her daddy walk her down the isle. A girl is supposed to see the delight on her daddy's face and she presents him with his newest grand baby. Not to mention, in his later years, some would probably claim my dad was about as close to a saint as you will find on this earth today. We didn't have much growing up but what we did have, if someone else needed it, my dad gave it to them. I'm not saying he ever sacrificed his families well being, what I'm saying is IF he could help them in any way, he would. Even if it was just a kind word or sharing the gospel with someone who was hurting. A hot meal to someone who wouldn't have eaten that night, a warm bed to someone who had no place to stay. He was that type of man and I felt my world crumbling in around me. But I forgave. I made my peace with God and my dad was healed of that cancer. Yes he did die to another cancer several years later and yes I was still that girl who's daddy wasn't there to walk her down the isle or to share the joy in the grandchildren she gave him but I knew he was no longer suffering and I knew I was now strong enough to at least try and live up to his legacy. I fail. So many times I fail but I get back up and push on because my daddy would have and he instilled that in me. I hurt when I see the world around me hurting...hungry...homeless....hopeless....downtrodden....sick...because my daddy showed me that. What allowed me to to forgive God (not that He needed my forgiveness but I needed to give it anyway) was I realized, my dad was showing me what he learned from his Daddy! Jesus Christ! My dad was not always this soft hearted, kind hearted man. He would tell us stories of his teen years and his early adulthood. Sometimes with tears streaming down his face but the man I always knew was a man that loved Christ first and foremost and did his part to share Christ with others. He practiced what he preached. So knowing that I now had the same dad that my dad had and would never be alone gave me the strength I needed to move forward.
Then there were littler things that were even easier to forgive. A friend "stealing" your boy friend. You learn not to let boys come between your friendship at an early age and if someone does, you have to question if they were ever a friend to begin with. Forgive and move forward.
Someone accuses you of something you didn't do. Make it right, leave it in God's hands and know He'll work it out in the end. Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Someone fuels their anger and bitterness at someone else on you. This one wasn't quite so easy to forgive given the circumstances but in the long run, compared my biggest test ever, it was a piece of cake. When my daddy was sick the second time, I really struggled. Not with God but with saying good bye. My thoughts would jump forward to my wedding day or any other big event in my life and I knew, my dad wouldn't be there beside me. Well, while he was dying, naturally I had some really difficult days. I had this boss who did not understand at all. She was hateful and bitter. Rude and mean! She even told me she didn't understand my emotion and my connection with my father because she herself hated her dad. My mom would call me with an update and I'd start crying and she'd call me back to her office and want to know "whats the matter now?" I'd tell her the news I had just heard and her answer would be "Well, just move on with your life and get over it!" REALLY??? I was still going through it, how exactly was I supposed to get over it when it was surrounding me every day. I don't know if you've ever had to watch someone suffer and die in your own home but it's not something you just "move on and get over." Especially when it's still going on. Sometimes I still smell the stench of death. Though my daddy went peacefully, I can't say it was pleasant. I would never wish ANYONE to have to go through that. I know many do and I'm SOOO sorry if you have but I would never even wish that on someone I considered my worst enemy. Well, I was with a temp agency so I called and got a new assignment for the next day. I told the girl in charge of finding me a position that she either found me a new position or I'd just have to quit. She had me a place by the end of the day and it was with a group of loving, caring, understanding people. God worked it out. I forgave and I moved on...from that job and boss anyway.
Having said all that, now comes the part where I'm going to get real. I once heard a story of a woman who was brutally raped. This isn't just any ordinary story. This hit really close to home. It was a friend of my moms best friend. I had met her on a few occasions. It was a miracle she walked away with her life but what happened in her own apartment where her attacker raped her repeatedly and brutally, I will never forget. This woman started talking to her attacker about Christ and His forgiveness and what He did for us on the cross. I'm not exactly sure when it happened but over the course of time, she would go visit him in jail and would continue witnessing to him. This man, because of this woman's forgiveness, persistence, and strength came to know Christ as his savior! I always asked myself would I be able to do that if I were in her shoes?
Before I go on with that topic, I want to give you a little back ground information on me and my upbringing. I was born and raised in a Christian home. My parents had us in church every time the doors were opened. I asked Jesus in my heart at the age of 5. It was a very private and intimate time for me, because of that and my age, I can not not tell you a date but I can tell you it was a Christian broadcast that I loved to watch that got through to me and made me understand what it was that Christ did for us. I went into my room, knelt beside my bed and said a quick and simple and sincere prayer. Tears ran down my face and it was the best feeling I have ever had. I was always kind of shy as a kid and felt it was something just between me and God. I was the same way when it came to baptism. I didn't want a big deal made about it so my parents didn't even know. It was a surprise to them (of course I made sure they were going to be there that night). At a very young age, I made a vow to myself, to God, and to my family and friends that I would remain a virgin until my wedding night. I took that vow very seriously. I had a "worth the wait" ring that I never took off. My first serious relationship, he understood that and sometimes was stronger than I was. Though he was bad for me in so many other ways, he respected me as far as not forcing me or pushing me to do anything I didn't want to do. I was 18 at this time. However, this was not always the case in my relationships.
I will not mention names, time frames, places, etc in this part of my blog. It's under the blood, I've forgiven and moved on and honestly, have even forgotten the last name of the one that "wronged" me. I will say this, he was someone I met in Church and trusted. We had been dating for a few months and we were supposed to go out one night. Because of his circumstances at the time, I was driving so I went to his place to pick him up. He seemed bothered. He was acting unusual that night. He asked me to come in and when I did, he locked the door behind me. He told me to sit down, he wanted to show me something so I did. He went and pulled a gun out from under his bed. All I remember thinking was, "why on earth does he have this and why is he showing it to me??" He said he felt he needed it for protection but didn't elaborate at all. I got up and said, "well, let's get out of here but that isn't coming in my car." He packs it back up and slides it back under his bed. I start walking towards the door and he comes and stands between me and the door and started kissing me....no big deal, we'd been dating for a few months now and had even talked marriage so it wasn't too unexpected but I still had a bit of an uneasy feeling. He walks me to the bed and pushes me down on it. I told him no. I'm not ready for that and would rather wait until we are married. I stand up and he pushes me back down. This happened a couple of times and I finally froze in fear. I knew he wasn't relenting. He KNEW my values and morals and were I stood when it came to that kind of thing so I was a bit hurt, confused, afraid. I told him \no a few times but he kept moving things forward. Here's the part I have trouble with. I froze up so much in fear that I stopped fighting. The gun kept flashing through my mind, the fact that he was stronger than me and had me pinned down ran through my mind and for some crazy reason, I felt my outcome would be better if I did stop fighting. He did finally grow a conscience and with tears in his eyes apologized and said he was sorry but it was too late. He'd already stolen from me my most prized possession. The one thing I valued more than anything else. My purity. For some reason, forgiving him was so much easier (though was definitely not immediate) than forgiving myself. Even to this day I struggle with that at times. I used to replay that night over and over in my head and wonder, if I fought harder would he have stopped? Or would I be dead? What did I do to bring this on? What could I have done differently?? Did I do or say something to make him think that is what I wanted? Over and over again, I justify the situation for him and lay all the blame on me. Did I press charges? No. A girl who feels she's at fault will not press charges. After all, he WAS my boyfriend and we had talked about getting married and the shame it would bring to me and my family. His family, our Church. But most of all, it was shame for myself I felt the most. I still can't answer why. I just know I felt used, tarnished, dirty, impure, unworthy, I could keep going on and on with adjectives to describe how I felt but I think you get the picture.
Why did I rip the scab off that wound and share it? Because it's too big of a burden to keep pinned up inside. Because SOMEONE needed to know that no matter what wrong someone has done to them, they are not unworthy, dirty, shameful, or used goods! God has been working on me and self worth a lot lately and it all stems back from that one horrible night. That was the night I stopped caring. About me anyway. That was the night my vow went out the window because after all, it had been stolen from me, ripped up and put back in my lap. Not literally but figuratively. It wasn't long after that my dad passed away so you can imagine the emotions stacked one on top of another. It lead to some stupid decisions, a few mistakes but in the end, God is always there! When you feel worthless, He covered that with his blood. When you feel guilt, He bore that on the cross. When you feel dirty, He washed that away and made you white as snow! It has taken me all these years, a lot of prayer, and finally laying it down and not picking it back up to be able to say, I AM WORTHY!!! No one ruined me! He may have stole something from me but my God restored what he took 10 times over. I wasn't supposed to be able to have children. God gave me and my hubby 3 beautiful miracles. Olivia could have died during child birth but he protected her. Caleb was supposed to have been a miscarriage, but he's a live and well. I was supposed to need fertility drugs to get pregnant with Madi but it happened naturally and immediately. For every bad relationship I ever had, God has given me almost 10 years of an amazingly beautiful marriage and a wonderful God fearing man that loves me just the way I am.
So, you may ask, is forgiveness necessary? ABSOLUTELY!!! you can not grow if you are stuck in your past. You can't move forward if you keep stepping back to old circumstances but most importantly, forgiveness is a must for us to enter into heaven. The word tells us,