This post is one of a series devoted to The Respect Dare. I joined with several other bloggers in using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide. I share my journey here with you.
I’ve had very powerful prayer experiences in my life—most of them within the past four months. Over the past weeks, I’ve felt God’s presence more and more. But I never expected this, right in the middle of writing in my journal and getting ready to write this blog post.
From my journal:
Interesting. I have memories of inappropriate touching—from a family friend and not sexual in nature. And the thought of him still makes me feel in my bones the way I used to when I found out he would be coming to visit. Yet somehow, I’ve realized I’ve forgiven him, even though I don’t know for certain what I’m forgiving him for. And there are some things with my own parents that I now see I have forgiven. For me, forgiveness comes most easily with understanding. Once I can understand from another person’s point of view, I can let go. I have forgiven my husband for his actions and words that hurt me earlier in our marriage. I see that he was hurting, too. Neither of us had good communication tools that could have helped us in the moment. We did what we did, and we’ve learned to do better. Forgiveness.
Will I ever face a situation where I need to forgive without truly understanding? I don’t know. Or maybe the process of understanding—and therefore, forgiving—takes years.
The only person I haven’t truly been able to forgive is myself. My youthful promiscuity haunts me. I sometimes wonder if that person is my natural inner self, with everything else in my life a façade built over top of that self over a period of decades. It has become a part of how I identify myself in my mind—and forgiving that self is a way of losing self. And even when I don’t like that version of myself, stepping outside that woman and leaving her behind is hard . . .
I was sitting here, writing in my journal. As I wrote “stepping outside that woman and leaving her behind is hard,” I was about to write “and I don’t know how.” Before I could write that, my mind’s eye was flooded with an image from God:
I see an image of that inner self, standing uncertainly in her Flashdance-style ripped t-shirt and jeans, wondering who will ever love her. And I know she is me. I see God in front of me. He says, “Come here, child.” I unzip that inner self I have and realize that it is just a skin, an outer shell. Inside that skin is someone else, a woman who is shining and is larger than the skin she just stepped out of. I shed the skin of that old self, leaving it discarded on the ground. I take a step forward. Light is exploding out of me as I reach toward the even brighter light in front of me. And I climb into God’s lap and feel His arms around me, welcoming me home.
Oh, my. I’m home.
And now I know . . . this is why I needed to do the Respect Dare. This one Dare made it all worthwhile.
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)