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Testimony Spring of 2007

“Forgive.” That’s what the Holy Spirit Whispered in my ear twice one week in the early spring of 2007. “But who, and what for?” I asked God.


A few days later I met my friend Emily for a coffee date. The conversation turned to the subject of a relationship with a male friend I was struggling with. Although he was a perfect gentleman, I had canceled our second date and ignored him completely when he tried to maintain our friendship. I confessed that I struggled in almost all my relationships with men – in relating with them and trusting them.

 

I began to talk about how I didn’t trust my father. He had betrayed my trust several times through laughing at me in emotionally vulnerable moments, and as a child, he spanked me excessively.

That’s when Emily, a Christian counselor for years, hit the nail on the head. “That’s it, Elizabeth,” she said. “It’s your relationship with your dad. You need to forgive him.” She looked at me with kind eyes. “I’ll go through the steps of forgiveness with you when you’re ready.”

I knew immediately that what Emily said was the truth. God had prepared me and confirmed in my heart that I needed to forgive my father. “Let’s do it now,” I said. The two of us went back to Emily’s place and went over the steps of forgiveness for two particular incidents that had bothered me for years.

On a sheet of paper, I wrote down my Dad’s name at the top. Then in columns I wrote what he did that hurt me, how I felt about it, how his actions affected me in the different areas of my life, and finally, how I reacted in the flesh. When all was down on the paper, Emily guided me to pray out loud, stating what happened and reading each emotion and reaction of mine. Then I confessed my part of the sin reacting in the flesh through guarding myself against men and judging my dad. I released my father and his actions to the right judgment of the Lord.


It may sound incredulous, but after I prayed, I felt a hollow place open in my heart. I took a deep breath. It was as if light and oxygen were coming into a place that had been dark and closed for a very long time. I looked at Emily and smiled. “You already look better,” Emily said as she studied my face.

I felt better too. I took the forgiveness materials home, and over the next several weeks, continued to forgive my Dad for other incidents. But I didn’t stop there. I wrote down the name of every boy or man whom I ever felt hurt by, and forgave them too.


Around this time, a male acquaintance from Bible study offered to let me do my taxes with the software on his computer. At first, I thanked him and said I would let him know if I could do that. Then, I realized how foolish I was. I had just prayed that God would help me get my taxes done.


I said, “Yes, I will take you up on that.” So that Saturday, I showed up at his house with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. We visited as I entered my tax information on his computer. After talking for much of the afternoon, I thanked him and said I would see him at a church event that evening.


As I drove away from his house, I felt another part of my heart opening, taking in light and air. It felt so strange and wonderful. I continue to forgive offenses that arise with men. I am growing in the area of letting men get to know the real me. My prayer is that God will continue to transform my selfish, self-protecting love into a love that is selfless, forgiving, and always believes the best.