My husband had run off with another woman. He left me with two confused, hurting sons and a great deal of anger and unforgiveness. As an ever growing Christian wife to a non-Christian husband (I was born again after we were married), I did the best I could, but above all, faithfulness and loyalty were the virtues I most revered. So of course, my incredible fury, hurt and unforgiveness knew no bounds when I discovered his adultery.
Four months later, my baby boy lost all the house and car keys. After searching for a day and night, the next morning I got down on my knees and cried, “Please, Lord, show me where the keys are.”
Straight away I heard very clearly, “Kath, the keys of the kingdom of heaven will not belong to you until you forgive your husband.”
“But, Lord, I only asked for the keys of my house and car! And, Lord, what are the keys to heaven anyway?” I heard God’s answer in my heart, “My relationship with you can go no further until you begin to forgive your husband.”
Then began a terrible eternity of screaming, “No! No! No! Please, Lord! Ask me anything else but not this. I can’t forgive him. I died inside when he did this to me. Lord, I can’t. I can’t!”
God waited patiently and firmly until my “can’ts” became “won’ts”, until He finally got me to the point of, “But How?”
He showed me a ladder and I saw that it was called, ‘Forgiveness’. The Lord asked me to reach up with one arm and touch the ladder. I still struggled inside, but soon I was ready to try, so the Lord put His hand beneath my elbow and pushed my arm upwards. As my fingers curled around the bottom rung, I felt God say, “Tell him that you forgive him.”
“Could you give me a picture of him, Lord?” I prayed. Immediately in my mind’s eye I saw my husband before me and in his hands he jangled my keys! I whispered, “I forgive you.” God said “Louder!” Each time I grew more certain that I could actually say it, until finally waves of grief rolled over me as I sobbed, “I forgive you, I forgive you.”
After some time of weeping my heart out before my Father, I dried my face and tried to take in the enormity of what the Lord had dealt within me. Five years down the track, I have never forgotten God’s healing work in me that day.
Do you harbour unforgiveness? It will keep you from the solace and comfort you may so desperately need and which only the Lord can provide in these situations.
Kath Fenby, Brisbane, QLD.
(By the way, Kath did find her keys some time later in a pile of rubble.)
When I was born my mother already had a brain tumour and my father was in bed with pneumonia. He didn’t know of my birth for 3 days, but I always felt his delight might have been lost at the news I was a girl. He had always wanted a son and I realized I was not the long awaited event he had hoped for. I spent a life time trying to please the one I wanted so much to love me.
Up until my mother died when I was 7 years old, my sisters and I were separated and in and out of institutions.
As life went on, I spent time with this one and that one. I remember little continuity with my father and sisters as we drifted in and out of each other’s lives. When I was 12 years old and away at boarding school, my dad met another woman. That woman went on to be my step-mother and suddenly I had a new family – a mother, another older sister and at last for Dad, a boy, my age.
What mixed up swirling emotions I had. Where on earth did I slot into the picture? More than ever I felt pushed aside. There had never been anyone to kiss and cuddle me as I grew up or teach me how to relate to being part of a family. I didn’t know what was expected of me. The pressure of trying to please so many people and cope with my low self esteem caused me to deal with it the only way I know how – to withdraw to my room.
My dad seemed caught up in his new family. The year before I had been sent off somewhere for Christmas with no money for presents. This year, he gave me a whole ten shillings to spend on my step-brother! I couldn’t understand this and at 13 years of age, it hurt deeply. To my little mind, my new family became “the enemy”.
To cut off the pain, I put up a wall around me. I left home the day I left college, but as I moved to London hoping to escape the hopelessness I felt about my life, it wasn’t long before it caught up with me. I was rarely contacted and decided I would hurt them in return. I moved and for a whole year didn’t tell them where I was, but when renewing contact, it wasn’t even brought up.
Life continued, dragging my hurts and rejections around with me. I wanted so much to be loved, but it was the thing I feared most.
Some time later, I met the Lord Jesus Christ and asked Him to take over my life. He began cleaning up the mess I was in.
One day I was talking to the Lord about my Family, about how they had done this and done that, claiming my rights of course. Then the Lord spoke to my heart – “You have bitterness and unforgiveness. You need to say sorry to your step-mother.”
I was sure God was confused! I mean, didn’t He know what had happened? I bemoaned my situation and pleaded self righteously, “Why me?” Then the Lord not only exposed my sins, but revealed to me the effects they had on my life and even other lives I had affected. He told me I was the one who had put up the barrier, and as much as I complained that my step-mother didn’t love me or want me, by putting up the barrier, I had been the one to block her loving me.
When I confessed what God had shown me, He set me free from years of rejection and pain. But now I had to bring forth fruit meet for repentance.
God made a way for me to return to England and on the particular day, my step-mother and I was alone in the lounge. She was knitting and I was squirming. I felt like I had hot coals under me, but didn’t have the nerve to do as God had told me. However, in obedience, I took the plunge.
I simply said, “I would like to apologise for the way I’ve treated you all these years,” and quite unrehearsed or even thought of and for the first time in 17 years I exclaimed, “I love you.” And I did!
I had done what He told me, but He blessed me more than I thought possible. In the instance I said those words, God sealed my heart with the love of a real mother. Mum’s change towards me too was incredible. The content of her letters changed. She came and stayed with my husband and me in Australia. Over the last 6 years our love for each other has blossomed.
God showed me that if I was willing to deal with my sins, He was able to heal and restore.
Ann Newson, WA