Today’s Beautifully You story comes from Lisa:
As a little girl, I always envisioned myself young and married. I don’t know why, but finding love young was one of the things I always looked forward to.
When I was 15 I began traveling with a ministry on trips during the summer. We would go to different states and nations, loving on people and sharing Jesus. It was on these trips as a teenager that I met my first husband.
Everything seemed right. We were in ministry together, we loved the Lord, we had the same interests and passions, it was exactly what I had always imagined … and at twenty-one we were married.
Sadly, it was shortly into our marriage where I realized that I had married into the unexpected, and for me, unimaginable. If you’re married or have been, then you know that marriage itself brings elements that we don’t understand or expect, but this was very different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I almost immediately knew that something was definitely not right.
Fast-forward three years, and I found myself living in a nightmare… and I was broken. To say that my husband had been unfaithful was an understatement.
Through different situations it was uncovered that my spouse had been going outside the marriage for years.
My dreams were crushed, my adolescence stolen from me, and I literally thought my life was over. I had given my all to this marriage, and I was broken.
I wanted out. I wanted to give up. I had more than enough reason to separate myself from this marriage, and after a period of time of waiting before the Lord to see if reconciliation would be part of our story, it was incredibly apparent that it would not. And so it was, with the support of so many people in my life, and with the grace of God, I was released from my marriage.
But that wasn’t where my story ended.
Divorce isn’t the end of a process. In a lot of ways it’s the beginning. After everything was finalized I found myself walking through a season of deep loneliness, heartbreak, devastation and regret. I was angry and bitter with a mountain of un forgiveness sitting in my heart.
As I sought God concerning my life, and wanting to move forward, I found myself not less angry, but more. I felt like I would sit down to pray and that my words would bounce off the walls. It was like God was gone, or at least so distant, and no matter what I did I didn’t feel like I could get back to Him.
But my feelings didn’t keep me from trying.
I remember one day in prayer as I again expressed my frustrations to the Lord, I finally heard Him speak. “Forgive him”, “really forgive him”. It was the most painful answer I could have heard.
The truth was that I had forgiven so many times before, and always I would end up even more hurt. I thought to myself in that moment, “if I forgive, God will definitely want me to go back to this marriage.” And that was something I was not willing to do.
But I was wrong.
The Lord began to minister to my heart. Forgiveness didn’t have anything to do with my ex-husband. It had everything to do with me. He showed me how my un forgiveness towards someone who wasn’t asking for it and didn’t deserve it, had actually turned into resentment that was holding me at bay. Holding me back from my future and from intimacy with God.
Matthew 6:14-15New International Version (NIV) 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
This is just one of the ways I encountered God in a deep way, while going through the most difficult time of my life. Since then, He has fully restored my life with a spouse, a little girl, and another on the way. And I can say that letting God teach me about forgiveness in that moment is what released me into the life I’m experiencing today. And today if you’re reading this knowing that this is where you are too, I pray these words would minister to your heart and release you as well.
God really is good, He really is working it out, and He really can be trusted.