I have been a master at holding grudges and seeking revenge. I am happy to say that those days are long gone and I have moved forward to practicing forgiveness.
When I was younger and much more foolish I thought that getting even was the only way to excel over an enemy. I would relish when one of my enemies lost their job or when a girl I was jealous of would have her boyfriend break up with her. I don’t think I was much different than a lot of people.
I am confident that insecurity and lack of knowing Jesus put me in this mindset not to mention Satan planting thoughts in my mind. This mindset was something that I would say lived a span of grade school until just a few years ago. I remember being jealous as early as first grade. There was a little girl in my class named Kristy Whitaker that had beautiful olive skin, huge brown eyes and long brown hair. She was liked by everyone and I felt inadequate next to her. I was a little chunky girl with very short strawberry blonde hair and wore glasses. My mom would tell me I was pretty but that what moms are supposed to do right? I was vengeful towards small Kristy.
My first husband was one of the people that really received my mindful vengeance after we separated. I hated that he ruined my life with a bad marriage not giving me the fairy tale life I wanted. He chose other women, alcohol and drugs over me and our beautiful daughter. Curse him! I held extreme disappointment and hatred for him wanting only the worst to happen to him. I was going to show him how we didn’t need him! Wow as I write this I feel the emotions coming back up. I now understand how damaging these thoughts are.
One day a blinding realization came to me. I guess I should say the Holy Spirit stirred in me reminding me of this Bible verse.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
“Oh no!” I thought, if I don’t forgive then my Father won’t forgive me and I always need forgiveness. I began to think about this deeply and wondered how I could forgive all these people from my past? I know how, I need to find good in them and release the hurt. I was sure this wouldn’t be easy.
I turned to Ephesians 4:31-32 and read it over and over.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
This rang over in over in my mind, “forgiving one another, forgiving one another…..”.
I needed to start with Kristy, the small petite girl from first grade. This was my first memory of being hateful. I turned the appearance and facial beauty into the things I was going to celebrate instead of cursing. Her eyes were beautiful. They were big, round and a light chocolate brown surrounded by lush dark eye lashes. Her olive skin was perfect as I looked back. Perfect with one little beauty mark located in just the right place at the right corner of her mouth. Lastly her thick brown hair always had the pretties big bow tied onto he ponytail. God made this beautiful little girl to be in my class so I could realize her beauty later in life. Thank you Kristy and God!
Now forgiving my ex-husband really was challenging because I was so wounded and damaged. This wound was deep and still hemorrhaging. I took several deep breaths and said, “Father if you can get me through forgiving this one I will always know that forgiveness is possible.” I needed to find qualities in my ex-husband that could move my heart to forgive him and permanently be in a peaceful place with him.
My ex-husband when I married him was a wonderful man. He worked 10 hour days, 6 days a week. Devoting himself to working so we could buy a house and a better car. I remember him high up on a roof waving down to me as I brought him lunch or an afternoon jug of water. He always smiled and was happy to see me. I etched that memory in my mind.
He also was a neat freak. He always wanted the house clean and I was not one to spend idle time on cleaning. I loved doing laundry so I let him clean. He was great, it only took him about 45 minutes a week and then he did add on things like cleaning the refrigerator or washing windows. I recognized that he was keeping himself busy to keep his demons away that would show up later in our marriage. Most women would like to have a a spouse or roommate that likes to clean. What a great quality!
Lastly I remember the sparkle in his blue eyes when he would play with Lexie. He would lay on the floor with her and help her with her blocks or tickle her little tummy. She would laugh until she cried. His love for her was remarkable. He was so proud to be her daddy and showed her off constantly. He would always want to be the one to carry her into a restaurant proudly boosting her high up on his 6’5″ frame. She truly was his trophy in life. I really believe she was the only one thing he truly treasured until the end.
You know I made peace in my heart with my first husband about 3 years ago. Remembering why I initially loved him and moving past the hurt while defining his good qualities helped me to forgive. He died two years ago and I asked God to please take him into heaven to be with Him always. I want to see my child’s father in a perfect heaven someday with all of us living a beautiful eternal life together.
As I write this blog, tears are streaming down my face. I know that it’s because the Holy Spirit in my heart has shown me how to forgive and let go and has given me a more peaceful and beautiful life. I want that same life for you. My love-LoLo
“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD” ~ Jeremiah 30:17
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