I’ve said before, and I’m sure I will again, that I am an advocate of forgiveness. I am also a huge proponent of healing, and have found through out my own journey, that the two go hand in hand. Today, I feel that it is time for me to explain why I feel so passionately about this subject. Why I want to encourage all I come in contact with to move past the place of brokenness, and find that place of freedom and forgiveness. Taking hold of a life lived in sweet surrender and healing as a result.
My place of brokenness began long before I was capable of remembering it. I was wounded at the hands of someone who SHOULD have been my most trusted confidant, hero, protector and friend. My biological father made a choice to give in to the dark desires within, and as a result, opened the deepest wound within my soul one could imagine. Making peace with that decision of his, would prove to be my greatest of challenges.
I have strong opinions now, since becoming a mother, about what a child should have to endure. While children are resilient, adaptable, and the epitome of sheer joy through hardships…they are not capable of shouldering adult issues. Nor are their minds able to process the understanding that what is happening to them is not their fault. They are the embodiment of innocence, and that innocence should be maintained as long as possible. I realize that that is a high expectation in this world, but if we work at it, it is achievable. My father did not work towards that, nor did he act with any care of concern for the deep emotional scars he was causing with his actions. He acted with no regard for the way that his actions would cause more than two decades of pain and anguish in my life.
I was a fairly good child until the tender age of 14, when my woundedness began to manifest itself in my life. Up until that age, I was keenly aware of the Creator, and the fact that He had placed a calling on my life. How quickly supernatural things take a back seat when rebellion takes hold. That was the age, that I began high school, and my need to find acceptance and love in all the wrong places reared it’s ugly head. I didn’t understand then that I was plagued endlessly with feelings of lessened self worth, and abandonment. And, as I’ve stated before, abandonment can touch on so many other emotions that it creates the perfect storm of anger, hatred, rage, rebellion, and anguish. Add just a smidge of self loathing and you have Sara at 14, 15, 16, and 17!! I wish that I could say that it stopped when I became pregnant, and married, but as I explained in my post on marriage…it did not. I wanted to “protect” my daughters from being hurt. Even though their father would die before he hurt them. I wanted to be in control, because I felt out of control as a child and giving my husband control made me feel weak and inferior. I attempted to exert my “authority” at every anger filled turn, because I couldn’t do that when I was a child and take charge of the abusive situation and say “STOP!” So, my husband took the brunt of that for the first 9 years of our marriage.
It wasn’t until 2007 that I began my final journey towards forgiveness, and healing. I was at a very vulnerable place, realizing that I could not go on the way I had been…and that while I had given up the booze and drugs that I used to self medicate during those teenage years when I became my husbands wife, I had not been healed from the root causes of those behaviors, and allowed them to fuel my uncontrollable anger daily. I was tired. Broken. Bitter. And while I seemed happy to most of the world around me, my husband knew better. We had glorious anger filled fights, and he was tired too. I was becoming keenly aware that I was raising future wives, and the thought that I was teaching them that this was how a wife treats her husband broke my heart. I take it seriously the responsibility we shoulder as parents; to help mold and shape our children into the adults that they had become. It was during the “Days of Awe” (the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) that year that my Creator took me by the hand and gave me the strength to see beyond the pain of my childhood for the very first time.
He reminded me of the words I had heard a pastor say 4 years earlier that: “Forgiveness is when you can think about something, and it does not hurt any more.” I still remember how completely ludicrous that sounded to me at the time, and even then when Father was reminding me of it! I couldn’t comprehend how that would ever be possible. It was in that place of disbelief, that He began to show me the desires of His heart for me. He showed me that I had been using anger as my “protector”. Fully believing that it was my ability to fly off the handle that kept anyone from getting close enough to hurt me. That my “I don’t take no crap from nobody!” attitude was nothing more than my wounded inner child lashing out at anything that made me feel even remotely threatened. The facade of “strength” I had built around myself began to crumble, and I recognized…for the first time ever…that all though I was being supernaturally guided toward healing…..it was still going to be a choice. That now that I realized the root of all of these unhealthy behaviors…it was still going to be my job to CHOOSE healing. That was the scariest part for me. The thought of changing all of my “defense mechanisms”, and choosing to make myself vulnerable filled me with a fear I had not experienced before.
Now, before I go on, I feel compelled to mention, that I am simply sharing my journey. I fully recognize that there are those out there that do not have a faith in the Creator, or even a belief in His existence. I want to reiterate, that I want my story to resonate to all who read it. While my journey has been one that has lead me back to the arms of my one and only true loving Father….I believe healing can be achieved by all who seek it. It must be sought after, worked for, and chosen. It must be desired and given every opportunity to bare fruit. Forgiveness is not for them, it is for us. And as cliche as that sounds…my life is a testament to the truth of that statement.
Forgiveness finally came for me at the end of the Days of Av in 2007, when I wrote my Father a letter of final release. It was the culmination of years of heart ache, and woundedness, and amazingly enough, by the time I sat down to write it…I did not shed a tear. I was not over come with the anger, frustration, sadness, or pain as I had been every other time before when I had attempted to write the same letter. The words flowed from me as if they had been waiting there for a 100 years pleading to be set free. I shared the truth of my sadness at his choices. The anger I had felt for so long because I felt that I wasn’t “good enough” to just be his daughter. That he had taken the most sacred of relationships, and abolished any possibility of us having a positive, flourishing relationship because of his own selfish desires. I shared with him that I had mourned….not for what he did…..but for the Daddy that he should have been. And finally, but most importantly to me…I shared with him, that I had finally, after all these years, come to a place where I was actually grateful for what took place. Why?!?! You ask? Because all though his actions were selfish, fleshly, disgusting, and inexcusable….they had caused me develop an inner strength unparalleled. Because part of the reason I am who I am today, is because I endured, survived, and had the opportunity to CHOOSE healing. That because of his actions, I had learned what TRUE, PURE, UNADULTERATED forgiveness was, and going forward in my life, there would be no offense greater than his, therefore there would be nothing I could not forgive ever again.
My life beyond forgiveness is one full of joy. Not a perfect one. Or even one to envy. But it is MY life. Not his to keep captive by the memories and pain. But mine. To do with and give to whom I choose. I have chosen to give my life as a living sacrifice to my Creator and to my family. Committed to sharing with all who will listen…my journey and story. It is not a life without pain, or disappointment, challenges, or frustrations. But it is a life lived outside of bondage and shadows of the past. It is a life….lived in sweet surrender. And a happy life at that.