Do you remember the day you "grew up?" I do. I’m not talking about becoming a specific age. I’m referring to the day I let go of the past. For forty years I lived life emotionally as a frightened six-year-old girl.
As an adult who was molested as a child, I tended to be emotionally suspended. I reacted to various circumstances as a six-year-old would, especially when a man would raise his voice in anger or if I felt cornered. Darkness would surround me, and I would begin looking for an escape route. If possible, I would leave the situation physically, but if not, I would emotionally check-out. I felt justified in reacting this way, and it became my way of dealing with a life forced on me. I was a victim, and I hid well behind that word. I allowed it to fit me like a well-tailored suit.
I suppressed what happened to me for about twelve years. The night I realized my daydreams were reality, I told my mother. She wanted to help me, but in her own way denied it even happened because it took place on her watch. I never blamed her though, and she knew that. The only person to blame was the molester. I would plot against him, wanting to see the day of his demise. He deserved to feel pain, shame, and guilt. I deserved to live life free of those things. However, I adapted to living with them quite comfortably. They became like family to me. When you live with anguish most of your life, it is hard to leave it behind.
But God was working to free me from my “family members” of shame, guilt, and pain. He wanted to unleash the emotionally arrested six-year-old into an adult woman who saw her molester as Christ sees him; a human being. God showed me that He loved him just as much as He loved me. At first this concept was very foreign. How could God love someone that depraved? But Jesus hung and died on a cross for this man to be freed from his shackles of sin too; just as He died for me.
My sin was manifested through an unforgiving spirit, holding on to the haunting past of my childhood. God helped me see that it was time to grow up. I had to let it go for good. I knew I had to forgive my abuser if I was ever to become the woman God created me to be. I had to let go of the frightened six-year-old me who was stuck inside a painful past.
I did forgive. That’s the day I grew up.
Did forgiving my abuser mean he did not have to face the consequences of his actions? By no means! But even if he had not been arrested and served 3 ½ years in prison, my decision to forgive was vital to my journey towards healing.
I am now living in the freedom Christ offers through forgiveness. He has forgiven me and I can forgive others. Don’t wait decades like I did to forgive those who’ve wronged you. The only person your unforgiving spirit hurts is you. You can begin your healing journey today with God’s help. Just ask Him. You too can live in the light of God’s glory and grace.
Originally published in 2009.
passion is connecting people. She not only connects people in her current job as a Field Operations Program Manager at Colonial Life, but she connects kids and families within the ministry of her church. Murfi especially loves seeing people connect with the Lord Jesus Christ and discovering their own unique passions and purpose. She enjoys traveling with her five best buds; always ready for the next adventure.