In Chapter Six (Starting Fresh) of The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness, I shared that before I could fully tell my story, I needed to look at the entire story.
As I looked at my mom’s story, I discovered a beautiful young girl who was pregnant, married to a boy in the Navy who abandoned her, who had affairs, and who abused her.
My mom gave birth to her first child when she was 16.
Two years later she gave birth again.
She lost her first child at 18 months to a genetic disease.
This 18-year-old woman’s life had become one of physical need, survival, abuse, fighting, and no one to care. She fled to find a safe place.
He found her.
Assaulted her. That resulted in the birth of yet another child, and that child was me.
Seeing the whole story brought another camera angle in to my story. It allowed me to see the tools, or lack thereof, brought into the relationship between my mom and her children. It allowed me to have compassion for the young girl, for the young woman, for the mom of five she eventually became.
That compassion lifted me from a lens that only saw the past through my perspective, but to see how we all arrived there. I was looking back as an adult, not a child.
Compassion clears the clutter when you’re looking back.
As my mom changed and grew in her own faith, I could have held her tight to the confines of our past, and missed the miracles taking place in her life.
But I could also miss my shortcomings.
The times I fell short. The time I snapped at her at a holiday event when she was trying her best, and my emotions were still tied to a long-ago childhood. The times she tried to apologize in the way she knew how, and I rejected those overtures.
I would have missed the little things. Like the fact that she bought things at a local thrift store that she thought I would love, her daughter’s name on her heart as she found something she hoped would make me smile.
What I later realized was that I was waiting for her to say she was sorry even though she had expressed it a thousand times over. Just in different ways than I thought it should look like.
This one shift in perspective allowed me to move from the past to the present. That bloomed into a friendship with my mom, and then to a deep mother/daughter bond that I treasure today.
Are we perfect?
No, because there is no such thing. But I love this woman with all my heart and feel blessed to call her mom.
There isn’t a mom reading this, no matter how hard you tried, that wants her imperfections shared with the world. I have fallen short as a mom at times, and I can only imagine what it would be like for you to glimpse those through the pen of my child.
And yet she gave permission.
What about my relationships, Suzie? I will never have what you have with your mom.
Then the fresh start begins in you.
Kaphar forgiveness means to cover, to make attonement, to reconcile. And sometimes, like in the case of my bio dad, it means that the burden of unforgiveness is released even after their death or if they’ve continued in their behavior, or if you’ve had to shut the door to a relationship to stay safe or keep your babies safe, so we can live in the present.
Reconciliation doesn’t always mean a one-to-one personal encounter.
It can mean “coming to an understanding”, even if no one else signs up.
It means that we begin to live free, no matter whether anyone else signs up or not.
Maybe your story is still painful. You can share it with God. You can share it with godly counselors, those who are licensed and can give you tools as well as faith-based encouragement. You can share it in your journal.
In these places, you are free to share your rawest emotions. Y
Sort through what is feeling or emotions.
Maybe you’ve never shared your story in this very private way. It’s on the inside of you, but you haven’t let it out. Today, take a page in your journal. Write it out.
If you need someone to read it and pray for you, send it. I’ll pray for you, and then quietly put it away, because once you’ve shared it — all of it — you can begin to open your heart to God’s next step for you.
I have been struggling for many years with forgiveness. Holding others accountable for things I can’t release from my own past. I held that forgiveness from others when I was the one who really needed it most. I tried many times over the years, often feeling like, “there I am done with THAT, no need to keep thinking about the past.” But it came back over and over because I didn’t really believe that God would forgive me. I kept forgetting He was God. He is not human and will not hold a grudge and he will delight in my freedom from the past.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful Christian tools we have. Great focus, Suzie!
Forgiveness does keep us weighed down. Its something I have been struggling with for years and once God truly came into my life, the day I became a Christian, I felt a big weight come off my shoulder. But the enemy keeps attacking with those bad feelings and they can be such a burden to keep playing back and back in my mind. All I can do is keep praying to God for forgiveness. I know HE has and I must learn to forgive myself as well as others. I must let the past go and look forward to my future and what God has for me. I have overcome so far with HIM. HE will never fail me!