The Journey of Forgiveness
I responded to a discussion post on LinkedIn regarding the topic of forgiveness. The author had an interesting Youtube video called 'Freedom Talk ' that discussed obtaining freedom and power through forgiveness in order to “not block your blessing". I really enjoyed the post and it got me to thinking about forgiveness and my journey to forgive my abuser...and myself. I responded to the post saying I admit I am highly blessed now but know I am limiting my blessings by not having forgiven my abuser. I realize even more blessings could flow if I would release and forgive. I emphasized that I am not bitter or hate him, but I know that I have not truly forgiven him either.
Finding forgiveness has its challenges because each story is unique..its never just black and white (that would be too easy)! There are so many mitigating factors involved. When I think of forgiving someone, it’s usually following an event or action that has already occurred- past tense; not future or current acts.
Currently, I am still waiting to testify in the jury trial ( one year, three months & fourteen+ continuances & four motions). You see, my abuser has tried and pulled every legal trick to delay the process of trial. These attempts which include, but are not limited to: firing his attorney the day of jury selection, filing motions, lying stating I was drinking/taking drugs the night of he attempted to kill me, in addition to being mentally unstable with anger issues. Of course, none of this is true and the judge denied their motion attempts. In addition to the roller coaster of the trial moving forward, I have had other inconveniences affect my life. For instance: losing time off work for multiple plastic surgeries and follow-up up doctor visit; requiring armed officer’s walk me to/from my car at work; needing a panic alarm at my desk; carrying a weapon with me (even to my mail box) while at home! As you can imagine, it is hard to be able to say, “I forgive him” when the transgressions are sill being played out in my day-to-day life. Ultimately, he is still inflicting pain by not taking accountability for his actions.
Only a person that has stood in my shoes can truly understand the magnitude of the situation and my journey of forgiveness. Despite all the challenges, the amazing “silver lining” is I have found closure emotionally, regardless of the outcome of the trial/sentencing. I'm not waiting to find closure at the end of the trial or sentencing, I've found it in myself. I know that God is ultimately the Judge and the jury, so whatever the outcome of the judicial process, I have already won and his sentence with God can never be eluded. Knowing that, and being content in my spirit means there is peace in my soul, spirit, and life in general. This journey has brought me so much clarity and it was necessary to go through all the mess to emerge with a clearer vision. Despite all the distractions the devil has used to disrupt my journey, I am staying the course God has for me. It was not my ideal situation, and it’s not what I wanted, but what I needed! I don’t hate what God brought me through because I know it was all part of the process in order for me to find the peace I have now.
"One event does not tell the story. You cannot look at one piece of the puzzle and see the picture. The pieces must be put together, then the pieces that were a mess make sense."
My pieces are still being put together…literally. I want survivors to know there is no time limit on forgiveness. Don't pressure yourself; forgiveness is part of the healing process you learn along the along the way. We all know that you cannot get to step twelve…without going through steps one through eleven. People believe they must hurry up and forgive so they can move on, but it wouldn't be genuine. God knows our hearts and there is no fooling him...even if you're trying to fool yourself. When it comes to the journey of forgiveness, there is so much healing and reconciliation that needs to be done along the way...there is no bypassing it.
"What happened to you is not the core. The core is all the things that lead up to that moment. You have to go deep inside yourself to look at the ALL of it, that is where the journey of forgiveness begins...in the core."
Honestly, the person I (and many other survivors), work hard to forgive, is OURSELVES for allowing the emotional/physical abuse and subjecting our children to it; for me personally, that is my core. I have to go back to the very beginning of the relationship and acknowledge all the things he did. Everything, from the manipulation & control; breaking my spirit/confidence, always second guessing myself, emotionally punishing me, lying, the arguments etc. Most importantly I have to forgive myself for the part I played by allowing myself to accept his behavior for eight years & taking him back after beating me to the point of my brain hemorrhaging and splitting my head/skull open.
It's all part of the puzzle that will make sense in the full picture later. I will not find forgiveness for him or myself, without acknowledging all the feeling and emotions contained in the core and handing them over to God; as only he can lift that heavy burden that weighs my shoulders. Reconciling all those feelings will lead me to accepting that God has forgiven me, will lead me to forgive my abuser.
It’s important to sit down and talk to God and be honest with him and myself, give him all the emotions and he will remove them from my heart and replace them with forgiveness. The funny thing is, that I have not fully found it [forgiveness] yet, but rest assured, I know the outcome and the true freedom of finding it! I'm working towards it every day. Admitting that it will take time is called having patience with myself and I'm okay with acknowledgment of that, it's part of the process! The journey continues.....