I now stood out of the boat that day after I told my abuser I forgave him. That day I saw the waves and started freaking out.
The day after I talked to my abuser I wanted to tell my parents and Patrick’s, but the timing didn’t work out. We had to wait a day. The day between, a heavy burden for my abuser overwhelmed me.
I felt horrible for him knowing he suffered abuse. He told us no one else knew, not even his wife. Oh, the weight he carried for so many years. I wanted to help, I wanted to fix him. I wanted to rush out and get a counselor for him.
I knew I couldn’t carry the burden, it would crush me. Instead I prayed. The next time I saw him I gave him the number for a counselor. God told me I did not need to carry his burden. God would do that when my abuser was ready to give it to his Savior.
Anyway, the waves were crashing all around me. I left a random message on my parents answering machine and told them Patrick and I would be over the next morning to talk to them about something. I assured them no one was dying, or pregnant or getting a divorce, I knew my dad would think those things immediately.
The next morning we dropped the kids off with my sister and drove to my parents house.
We gathered around the kitchen table, I grabbed a box of tissue.
We began our story. I told them I was abused and who did it and that I didn’t want them to be angry at the person. I forgave him and they should too.
I also told my dad that his words hurt me growing up. Honestly, I did wimp out here and didn’t say everything I wanted to, but my dad isn’t that man anymore. I have let go.
Mom cried, Dad didn’t. That surprised me. My dad is pretty emotional but he didn’t get emotional over our story. When we were done he even quickly changed the subject like he didn’t even want to talk about it. I wanted them to ask questions or something but dad didn’t. I am sure mom would have said more but before I knew it we were talking about the weather or something.
I think it was easier for my dad to check out rather than really deal with the truth. I believe that has happened in my life more than I even know.
Next we drove to Patrick’s parents. He was concerned his mom might not be so forgiving, he had me totally stressed about it. As a mom myself I can understand. Just yesterday my daughter told me some boys were teasing her and my momma bear claws were ready to come out. Moms protect their young, I would understand if Patricks mom had a tough time forgiving me.
We arrive and sit around their kitchen table. We begin our story.
Toward the end of us sharing I looked at Patrick’s parents and said, “I am so sorry for hurting your son.”
After I spoke those words I thought how many times have I needed to say those words to God. We have all hurt His Son, we sent Him to the cross.
We are so sorry for hurting your Son.
But just as our Heavenly Father forgives us, Patrick’s dad took my hand and said, “I forgive you.”
My body shook as I cried. Forgiveness, lived out in man. To see forgiveness given to me again and again by people, how much sweeter is the forgiveness of God. Forgiveness, so undeserved but freely lavished on me.
Patrick’s mom said something neither of us will ever forget. She said, “When Pat came home and told me he meet his future wife, I took that very seriously. I believe God has chosen someone for everyone. You belong together.”
I sobbed, of course.
My fears melted away in the warmth of her words.
I got out of the boat, I saw the storm, I became overwhelmed, I cried out to my Savior, He reached out His hand and rescued me.
Everyday He rescues me, I am forever grateful.
Freedom is sweet.
For my parents and Patrick’s parents to know me, completely, all my failures, all my flaws and still love me, utterly amazes me.
My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God is good. He has the power to break your chains. What chains are you holding on to?
I’ll say it again…..freedom is sweet.
But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew 14:30-31 NLT
Why do we doubt God? He never lets us down. What do you need to trust God with right now in your life? Please share, I would love to pray for you.
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