I had written a blog sometime last year that talks about me being brave – listening to the words of a song that says (and I am paraphrasing) God helps me be brave as we walk in troubled waters and as the waves crash over us – God makes me brave. At that time in my life Brave meant helping me face the despair and destruction of divorce and to forge a new life, a better one. And I was Brave, God did empower me to be brave. But it doesn’t stop there although I thought it did. I thought he would continue to make me Brave as I plugged along in my new found life and would be with me as I face new challenges. I never once thought there was more to my journey. I never once thought that he would give me courage and make be brave enough to do something that I did not in my heart want to do and certainly that which society is flippant about – FORGIVE. Extending forgiveness to those that hurt me. Those that destroyed what I fought so hard to keep together. Could I be brave enough to do that? I fought long and hard against that forgiveness, harboring what eventually wound up as hate and it was eating me alive and stealing my peace.
I recently was at my wits end and decided to fast and pray. My girlfriend told me that Mountains are Moved when you fast and pray. GOOD, I thought, I need God to move this mountain! My prayer during that fast was for GOD to change the heart of my ex-husband as we have been battling in court over many things and it has gotten nasty. The summer was horrible as the proverbial “Gloves had come off” and both of us were constantly on the defense. I wanted GOD to change him and to help me be Victorious in this court battle. After many months in limbo in the court system it was finally our turn, we could finally have this behind us. That was not to be – our case was continued for another 6 months. 6 months I cried and through my tears shook my fist and was mad at GOD. I needed this to be over so that I could go on with my life! Then I got over myself and thought Ok GOD your timing is always perfect. So this is what I thought – my internal conversation with myself – God’s maybe giving us more time to gather more evidence or maybe God is giving us more time so that my ex’s heart could be changed. All the while, my heart is full of unforgiveness. But surely GOD cannot expect me to forgive the wrongs that were done to me?! Nope I want my victory without forgiving and I dug my heels in. The harder I fought against the path God wanted me to walk down the harder God fought for it. Then, over the course of the next few days GOD spoke so clearly to me and here are some things I heard from the almighty himself :
– How can you come to ME and ask for forgiveness when you will not forgive. MY forgiveness is unconditional but you want to put conditions on your forgiveness with those that have hurt you. (WHOA – that was a lightbulb moment for me yet I didn’t take any action just pondered it )
– How do your big kids see you? Do they see the picture of grace, mercy and forgiveness? Have you set the example to them of what forgiveness looks like? (another WHOA and these were hard questions for me to answer)
– In all of our fighting it has been the little girls that suffer the most and we both were starting to see the effects on the girls. Did God allow me to bring those precious girls into my family only to riddle their childhood with bickering over things that don’t matter and cripple their development and potentially hinder them reaching their full potential and embracing their purpose on this earth? Did I really think GOD plucked those girls from obscurity to just exist on this earth in Southwest Louisiana surrounded by unforgiveness, blame and fighting? Was I not called to a higher purpose when he chose ME to be their MOM? Do I love them more than I hate my enemies? These questions and realizations were the game changers for me! Those 2 girls are destined for greatness and I love them and GOD enough to ensure that I do not impede what GOD has for them.
So there I stood, alone, looking around at the mess unforgiveness has created and I knew that I wanted something different. I knew I needed to forgive and try to bridge this divide and hopefully heal this family. I knew I wanted my kids (all 4) to look at me and be proud of how I handled this entire situation. Forgiveness is not easy folks. It is probably the hardest thing I have ever done and will ever do. Forgiveness isn’t a feeling that you have one day and all the hurt, bitterness and anger just float away to never never land. Nope, hurt, bitterness, anger they still remain – but I choose and will choose forgiveness. And its been minute by minute for me in this forgiveness journey I am on – and in those minutes where I don’t think I can and the anger creeps up and finds me – I envision the face of my daughters – that they are worth it – that again I love them more than I hate those that hurt me.
God’s word tells us to forgive 70×7 times – an infinite amount of times. It’s easy to forgive your child for breaking your favorite decorative candle holder or even your best friend for hurting your feelings. The true test of forgiveness is to forgive those that have really hurt you. That’s a daunting task but one that is not done alone (God always gives you the strength) and one that frees YOU and allows peace to reside in your soul.
I am hopeful for the future. I am humbled before the LORD that he never gives up on me and continues to push me in the direction I need to go. I am committed to being forgiving even to those that I may not feel deserve it – I am giving it anyway – because I get that same forgiveness every day from GOD. I am encouraged that my ex and I can put this derailed train back on the track and love our girls and the bigs together.
And my parting thoughts for this post….. Forgiveness is a true and authentic statement of God’s Love. The more I chose it, the more I experience it and can share it.