By Lori Ubowski
He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ~Colossians 1:13-14
Forgiveness is a tough word to chew on sometimes. When I hear the word forgiveness, I sometimes find myself cringing as a pang of guilt tugs at my conscience, reminding me that I’m not great at forgiving others or myself. For me, the process of forgiveness feels like folding laundry or preparing taxes. These tasks can be so unpleasant. I don’t want to do them, and they take forever. However, they have to be done, and when they are done, I usually feel so freed (and relieved)!
The Hurt That Holds
Almost two years ago, I was hurt deeply by someone who played a significant role in my life and whose actions thrust me into probably the lowest point of my life. Have you heard the saying, “Kicking you when you’re down?” The wounds were so deep and far-reaching at a time when I was trying to put back the pieces of my family’s life after Hurricane Michael devastated our home, church, and community that there was no corner of my world that was not affected. Until very recently, not a day had gone by that I hadn’t felt held captive by the overwhelming hurt and anger I was feeling from these wounds.
Are You Ready
During this difficult time, a good friend checked in on me frequently, and we had many intense conversations where she would listen to me cry, yell, and feel quite literally ALL of the feels. After I’d let it all out, she’d gently but resolvedly say to me, “Are you ready to forgive?” and my answer was a consistent—Nope, Never. I just couldn’t. I wasn’t ready, and I definitely could not imagine myself sitting here today writing about my experience. Yet amid my refusal to forgive, I felt conflicted, knowing that even though I couldn’t muster the forgiveness I needed, eventually, I would have to.
Not Moving On, Moving Forward
I would honestly say it’s a combination of the prayers of my family and friends, a nudging from the Holy Spirit, my competitive nature (with myself), and my exhaustion from being angry. Once my heart was ready, I kept trying to develop the perfect scenario, attempting to form the best words in my mind, but it never seemed quite right. That’s when God essentially threw me into the “deep end of the pool,” and a situation presented itself that forced me to have the conversation I’d been dreading. It was quite possibly the most vulnerable I’ve ever been, but there were many fruitful blessings from that powerful moment of forgiveness God gave me the courage to embrace.
Moving forward, I felt more at peace and freed from pain, but it is an experience I will always carry with me in some way because it left me forever changed. I spent so much time letting hurt and anger overwhelm me, and it taught me to be more aware of others around me who are hurting, too. It taught me compassion, and it taught me to expect that I will get hurt again and feel let down. I know I will have to forgive again, but I’ve learned that I really can do it, and it will get easier.
May the Lord continue to chip away at the hurt and anger in your life, as He did in mine. Stay steadfast in prayer, trust in the Lord’s timing, be patient with yourself, and surround yourself with a community that will help you heal. God is waiting to free you and lift you from the hurt that binds you.
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