My first marriage was an abusive one. The relationship was brief, thankfully, and I rarely think about what I experienced at his hands. One memory, however, troubles me from time to time, a night of one of his unexpected explosions.
In case you didn’t know it already,
unforgiveness is a sneaky evil.
We lived in a house that had been made into four apartments, two downstairs, two upstairs. This particular night, the yelling, hitting, and kicking went into the wee hours of the morning until he finally fell asleep. I don’t remember if I slept at all. When he woke up a few hours later, he took my car and went to the store, leaving me a few minutes to escape. I didn’t have a phone, so I ran to my upstairs neighbor to call someone to come and get me. She wouldn’t let me in. I knocked and knocked…and begged.
She later told a mutual friend she was afraid to let me in, even though she knew he was gone. She had heard everything the night before, every person in that quad-plexed house heard it. No one called the police…
When I find myself thinking about that night, I find the one I haven’t forgiven is the girl upstairs. Not my tormentor. Her. I’ve had to forgive her many times over the years.
Then there are times like my morning drive to work, when I realize that I just wasted precious God time dwelling on bad experiences. Yesterday, it was my first-grade teacher, who made my introduction to school a nightmare. Though she died years ago, she is another person I’ve had to forgive many times over the years. These days, I really don’t know if I’m just remembering, or still harboring resentment; either way, when these moments happen, I ask God to forgive me, and I say “I forgive you, Mrs. Moore.”
Other people have treated me worse than these two women, and I can’t explain why these two experiences still rear their ugly heads these many years later while other bad memories never bother me. Just as people have offended me, I am certain that I’ve offended others. And just as my two antagonists never thought of me again after our brief encounters, I’m sure I don’t remember every person I’ve hurt.
Unforgiveness stops me from moving forward…
to forgiving my present.
I never took the time to map out my life. I’ve made no plans to accomplish some great feat by the time I reached a certain age, or within so many years. Except to lose weight; that’s always been my goal. I call it “Living in the Future” because my planning has always been centered around “Next summer, when I lose “this much” weight, I will…” but such a next summer never arrived.
With my Christian walk, I’m sad to admit that I can’t say I’m 100% sure what God’s plans for me are. I think it’s writing until I sit down to write but find mind is too unfocused, and I convince myself that no one wants to read what I write. I think maybe He wants me to tell others about freedom, until I realize I’m not yet free. (I will be, in Jesus’ name.) I think my calling is teaching until someone actually asks me to teach one little ladies class, and my immediate response is, “Nooo!”
It’s easy to fall into a trap of unforgiveness toward myself for being everything I don’t want to be and nothing that I dream of being. In order to move into the future He has planned for me (Psalm 139:16), I have to come to a place of acceptance of where I am today…I’m not quite there yet! I have to forgive my inabilities and remember that He doesn’t expect perfection of me! I am so thankful that His mercies are new each day.
It doesn’t matter what I’ve never been.
Lord, mold me into what You want me to be.