Forgiveness, the Film-Worthy Kind
This is not a film or a movie, but it is real life.
You see, twenty-six years ago I was able to remove myself from an abusive marriage; a marriage that was toxic, filled with alcoholism, addiction, lies, an alternative lifestyle, embezzlement, and more.
And while I could write about all of those salacious things, I choose to write about forgiveness.
Twenty-six years ago, right now I was navigating how to consider living as a single mom of two beautiful daughters on an income of $11 an hour. I was trying to figure out how we would survive; how we would eat; how we would pay for health insurance; how we would pay rent; and how we would find transportation because the family that was now splitting up only relied on one car.
The marriage that was a covenant with God was ending. And not on good terms. It was a marriage that was wrought with deceit and abuse. It was a marriage that was to others, especially those in our church, perfect. We were the perfect little family. But God knew differently.
The time came that allowed my escape. “Thankful” did not even begin to describe the feeling of being able to remove myself and my girls from the most toxic and dangerous of relationships. But years would prove that even separation cannot eliminate the feeling of guilt, shame, and inadequacies as a parent for making a decision that would turn out to be so painful for my children. Yet that decision, to marry the first man who paid physical attention to me as an 18-year old, would prove to be a curse and a blessing all at the same time.
This marriage was toxic, yes. It was dangerous, yes. But it gave me the two greatest loves of my life, my daughters. This marriage also gave me the gift of witnessing to others in similar circumstances. It gave me a passion for women that has inspired a level of service to those in similar circumstances. It has given me relationships with organizations and women that I would not have otherwise had.
Then there is the forgiveness component. God has given me a peace in my heart for a man that I should have contempt for. God has a way of softening sharp edges, replacing bad memories with good, moving mountains, and allowing forgiveness into our hearts that once were hardened to a person or situation. God has given me a peace and a compassion that otherwise would have been stone-cold ignorance to a person who is suffering; suffering a fate, illness, and shortened life due to the ravages of cancer. God has given me a gift; a gift of recognizing that the person who caused so much pain has also caused so much joy in my life.
This kind of forgiveness is the film-worthy kind, but only in my mind. I will save this film for my lifetime. The film stars my girls, their families, and shows the love and the lives that we have had as a result of this forgiveness. My prayer is that each and every one that reads this considers this type of forgiveness in their own lives. It is what God calls us to do. It will provide peace. It will set you free from the bondage of grudges, anger, bitterness, and the trappings that we put ourselves in when we don’t forgive. You see, lack of forgiveness only hurts us. Forgiveness doesn’t pardon, but it sets you free. You don’t need to make a movie to know it is true. It is real life. It is forgiveness. It is releasing the trappings of what binds us to negative thoughts, negative energy, and ill will. Humans deserve more. They deserve love and forgiveness. That is my life's movie.
What is yours?