By Trudy W.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
Lewis B. Smedes
I received the story below from one of our readers and am thankful for her permission to share this with you as an example of how powerful and healing it can be to know we are not alone in our pain and suffering. That we are not alone in our healing. Nor are we alone in our victory. This is why we tell our story.
My prayer for you, Reader, is that you experience a similar victory.
The author’s words jumped off the page and grabbed me by the throat! I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see straight. My head swirled. I felt feint. The assault was unexpected, unwanted. I grabbed hold of the table in front of me to avoid falling onto the floor. This was followed by much wailing and gnashing of teeth, all mine.
It wasn’t her experience I related to as much as her words, her feelings, her outpouring of emotions. I empathized with her “insecure self only just tolerating His touch.” I related to her convulsing “with the kind of shuddering that only deep confusion, pain, and healing can do when combined in full blast.”
Her feelings welled up from deep within me, leaving me raw and vulnerable. All I felt was PAIN, and I spent the next few hours exploring my rising surge of hostility and anger.
What is this? Where is this coming from? How many years has it been? I thought I had dealt with this!
I soon realized I was still grieving a personal loss from 30 years ago. I, too, had suffered a trauma in need of God’s healing touch and my resentment was a cancer eating away at my soul. I thought it had been treated years ago. Perhaps it had only gone into remission, not really cured. Regardless, her story was the catalyst that reignited my anger and triggered my illness.
I searched my heart and that “F” word came up… AGAIN!
Yes, I needed to, once again, forgive the offender:
• For the relationships that ended abruptly
• For the bonds that had been violently trespassed upon
• For the severed lifelines and lost dreams, never to be recovered
I still held onto grudges and ill feelings, the kind that leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth and grow into gigantic proportions of animosity. Forgiveness is a funny thing. It runs deep, and has many layers.
Only, I was the one needing forgiveness. And I wept.
My husband came home from work to my soft whimpers and listened gently as I told him about reading her story, and I confessed my pain, my insult, my injury. And in admitting to myself, God, and another human being, I continued the process of forgiving.
I decided to forgive myself, knowing I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. And I decided to receive and welcome God’s grace and love, the glowing light of which chased away the darkness and cruelty of my unforgiveness.
That evening, I slept. No tossing. No turning. No worrisome moments.
The next morning presented another “F” word – Freedom. The memories of days gone by had lost their sting. I could admit my part in my trauma without judgment, criticism, or self-loathing. I breathed more easily and even caught myself humming a happy tune later that day.
Forgiveness had given me the Freedom needed to move on with the rest of my life.
I hadn’t realized how deep that wound was, not until reading this author’s story, and I am forever grateful. I’m grateful for her courage, her insight, and her willingness to share of herself so transparently, so completely. It was as if she stood outside, peeking into the windows of my soul, sharing her own pain and suffering just so I would be comforted.
And, I was.
Trudy W. has requested to remain anonymous, but enjoys great forgiveness and freedom.