Our Pastor talked about forgiveness this morning on our live streaming church service. Those who know me know I even wrote a book on the topic, often quipping that I had become an expert on forgiveness because I had to do so much of it.
I found myself, long ago, as a young women with deep conflicts and pain that I dared not say out loud. I was told I was exceptionally bright and talented, but I knew I had irredeemable faults that I didn't know how they were born or how to overcome them.
Let me share the basics, hoping the power of forgiveness can illustrate how even one such as me can be restored by its power.
I knew something major was wrong with me. I knew because my mother and grandmother told me, and my dad didn't contradict. He was mild and kind and helped me with my school projects, made me things like desks, and helped me with algebra homework, but there was a problem. Mother told me repeatedly she almost died when she had me, and daddy was sorry he made her pregnant. That's how the story of my life began, as a potential mother killer and a regret in my father's heart. Her beatings of me with yard sticks that broke with the strength of her blows and her red hand print upon my face verified over and over how I was essentially a hated problem and at best a nuisance. There were also the many dramas when she locked herself in the bathroom, my dad coming to me, "your mother is locked in the bathroom, crying, saying you hurt her feelings. Come apologize." I always said and believed I didn't know what I'd done, but there was something terribly wrong with me, that had been established. So, there I was, again, apologizing to the bathroom door for some unnamed awful thing.
Her mother, my grandmother underscored it all in so many ways. She once cornered me in the laundry room, held a knife to my throat and threatened me. The 8 year old me managed to trip her and lock myself in the garage till someone came home. But she remained for sometime in my bedroom until my father built her a room and bath on the back of the house. She told me awful bedtime stories like the man in Pittsburgh who chopped a bad little girl up into inch cubes and was coming for me. She sometimes would rock in the wicker rocker, digging in her fingernails, face turning purple as she screamed she was dying and I was killing her, and I would burn forever in hell. I cried at her feet. I didn't know what awful thing I'd done and certainly didn't want to burn in hell, even though the adults in my life seemed to think it was a given.
I think you got the picture. I was extremely insecure, filled with heart ache. I tried to figure it out and get out from the heavy burden of being me. I read and read and read my little New Testament, underlining with colored pencils until it looked something like a rainbow. I still have that little treasure of a book, some of the colors dripping from tears long past.
I began the long journey of forgiveness. It took some years before I was able to make significant progress. I had no one to talk to about it. It was too horrible. But I soon was able to function so that I did well in school and was able to have friends over (after my grandmother moved out when I was in high school, she could no longer shout out the window at my playmates that we were plotting against her).
I did a deep dive into psychology, philosophy, history, metaphysics, new physics, etc. I absorbed mountains of information. Step by step I found freedom and self acceptance. So, I wrote a book to leave a trail of hope and action so that others were not alone on their journey of forgiveness. If you are on that journey, I hope you'll go to Amazon and consider my ebook, "The Key, Forgiveness and Beyond."
Always remember God loves you, and so do I.