My personal journey led to me to actively search out Forgiveness. I knew that this boiling animosity for my husband would never dissipate without it and it would directly influence my children and affect my ability to be an example to my little girls. I had to get this Forgiveness thing under control, yet every time I searched scriptures, articles and other books I kept running across the same cliché phrases I have heard all my life. “Give it to God” or “just forgive” or “forgiveness and trust are not the same thing”. This didn’t help me understand Forgiveness any better and left me even more agitated than before. What does this mean?!
It was during my frustrated search for forgiveness that I found an opportunity to attend Education Week at the BYU campus in Provo, Utah. I left my two little girls with grandma for a week during which they all three had a blast! I had an entire week to ponder, reflect, study and rejuvenate. Each morning I had a selection of over 1,000 classes and workshops to choose from. Some were religious, some not and the variety extended from financial planning, history, literature, parenting, marriage, divorce and much more.
One of the classes that had really helped me was called “Life After Divorce” by Steven Eastmond, LCSW. This class literally changed my entire perspective on Forgiveness. From his personal experience he shared his process of trying to recover from his divorce. He had gone through the same struggle of learning to forgive. For the first time forgiveness had a process and made sense. He explained that by not forgiving we are taking justice into our own hands and trying to ensure that we see that our ex paid for the way they hurt us. By not forgiving we not only prevent ourselves from healing but we are not trusting the Lord to take care of us. Furthermore we tend to forget the entire second half of the process of using the atonement for forgiving. The process is not complete without mercy for the party that was wronged. Again we are not trusting the Lord loves us enough to bless us with great things comparable to the bad we had experienced.
Suddenly all of those cliche phrases made sense. Even though these phrases are so overused they have lost all meaning and I don’t care to use them, but I finally got it. It may sound cheesy and unbelievable that it took me this long to understand forgiveness but it truly changed my perspective. By understanding forgiveness I was finally able to see my husband in the same way the Lord sees him. He is a flawed individual, like all of us, who is far from perfect and still needs to learn a lot of life’s lessons through natural consequences the Lord has provided all the while still being the best person he knows how to be. Too often we tent to associate perfect attributes as the only way to be good. With forgiveness there is a higher power to repair human error and turn it into a good and valuable experience making us better than we were before. Trusting is indeed completely different. Forgiveness simply allows for me to no longer be filled with hatred and hurt for the past and instead be uplifted with peace and hope for the future.
On my way home from Utah during a pit-stop at Little America I received a text from my husband asking for a chance to peacefully sit down and talk about our future…