“June 10th, 2005 was the day I said ‘I do’ to my soul mate. I thought it was the happiest day of my life, and while, at that moment it was, there were so many more days that trumped it. The birth of our babies, buying our home, all of it — JOY.
There were trials and fire and heartache. On June 10th, I stood face to face with my soon to be husband, carrying a lifetime of heartache from the sexual abuse I was preparing to place in his hands… so I thought.
You see, sometimes when we go through the season of dating and marriage, we can have these false thoughts that marrying the right person will make all that heartache disappear or maybe marrying someone who isn’t healed from that lifetime of heartache will give us the chance to help heal them.
Soon after Eric and I married, the Lord impressed me so strongly to call the man who had spent years of my childhood sexually and emotionally abusing me. He spent years instilling fear deep down into places of my heart I didn’t even know could store it.
God was calling ME to forgiveness.
Me? Why do I have to be the one to make the call? This man did unimaginable things to me. The things nightmares are made of.
I did it, sitting on the cold bathroom floor, tears welling up in my eyes. My husband’s comforting hand over my shoulder, loving me through every painful moment.
I dialed the number and he answered. And I simply said this: ‘This is Kari. The one you sexually abused. And I’m calling you because, in order to move forward with my life and to truly be able to love my husband, I needed to tell you this. I forgive you. I forgive you because I need to, for me.’
That was it. 4 minutes. The most gut-wrenching, scary, heart palpitating 4 minutes of my life. Yet, there was peace. That peace passed every single bit of understanding. I had no idea the incredible transformation God would do in my mind after that. The weight, the burden, the baggage I was carrying for 15 years slowly dissipating. It took time and it took grace.
Sometimes, forgiveness simply brings us closure. It’s choosing to ‘let go’ of our need for vengeance and release us from carrying the weight and burden of hurt. It’s placing it back in the hands of a loving God who fights those battles for us.
Forgiving someone does not mean you no longer feel the pain of their offense.
In most cases, the only way you can stop hurting is to stop feeling.
It is NOT a one-time event. Sometimes, it’s choosing it every day when those thoughts of heartache and mistreatment come roaring back in our minds.
It always leads to restoration — maybe not in a relationship, but it will always restore you. Restoration is not the final stop. God will strengthen and grow you in the very area He is healing you in.
Forgiveness is not condoning the action or pretending it never happened. It is releasing yourself from the bars of bondage that unforgiveness forces on us.
I would encourage you today, if the Lord is leading you on this same journey, be obedient to what He is asking. The rewards of forgiveness in our hearts will always be greater than the pain and heartache that spent years dwelling there.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kari Boyer. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Kari here:
‘Pray for the kind of man that will lay next to your 13-year-old, on the bathroom floor, because she can’t keep a drop of water down.’: Woman encourages others ‘Do. Not. Settle.’ when it comes to finding the perfect soulmate
‘We expect them to sit and be quiet for 3 hours. We expect them to just ‘get over it’, when people hurt their feelings.’: Mom on having ‘strong willed, SUPER energetic, exhausting kids’ under your roof
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