At its center, every creative act requires vulnerability. And I am flat-out-on-the-floor humbled that today’s guest post writer allowed this simple blog and the invitation to express her creativity to become the vehicle to share a story so vulnerable, so powerful, so raw and real. She says, “God has been prompting me to write my story in some capacity for years, and I’ve never had the courage to do it before. If someone can be reached, changed, moved to obey and, God willing, to forgive, then my sharing will be worth it.” Friends, I pray you will read this story with sensitivity, and that you will be en-Couraged to forgive, to say YES to God in the hardest parts of life’s darkness, allowing Him to turn them to light.
Create Challenge #13: Karyn Bergen
The story I am about to share with you is a story of how I forgave someone when they weren’t asking for forgiveness. Sit with that for a second. Ponder what it would be like to truly forgive someone who doesn’t think what they did was wrong. How does a person get to the point of forgiving another when the forgiveness isn’t being sought after? The answer to that question in one word is obedience.
My purpose in sharing my story is so I can reveal to you what was created through my obedience To God’s prompting.
As a child I was sexually abused. The “by whom” doesn’t matter other than for you to understand that this isn’t a person I could rid from my life with ease. He was and still is intertwined whether I liked it or not. The abuse went on from the time I was about 5 or 6 years old to 12 years old. It was ongoing and consistent. It was normal until the day I figured out that it wasn’t everyone’s normal. That was the day it stopped. That was the day I never spoke of or thought of it again until I was a freshman in college.
To this day, as a 43-year-old woman, when I allow myself to look back it is often those memories that come to the forefront of my mind first. The abuse is ingrained in me. I live with the memories of it. Over the top of the memories, like an umbrella shielding me from a heavy rainstorm, is the knowledge that Christ is with me and if I remain obedient to Him He will lead me through my days.
When I was 34 years old I confronted my abuser. It was the first time we had ever spoken of what happened. I had convinced myself that a similar type of abuse must have happened to him otherwise why would he have done it to me? I was desperate for justification, I suppose. I needed to find a reason so it would make some sense.
It turned out that he hadn’t suffered as I had. It also turned out that he “didn’t think it was that big of a deal.” I marched on with the knowledge that he simply chose to abuse me and felt no remorse. To me, that was the worst case scenario of a truly horrible situation.
Fast forward. I was now nearly 40 years old. I received a text message from my abuser. He said he was suffering from residual effects of too many years of alcohol and drug abuse.
“Could you take me to the doctor because I don’t think I can drive myself?”
Here I was being asked to help the person who did nothing but hurt me. Why am I being put in this situation? As the text progressed into a phone conversation, I heard God whisper to me, “Just one time. Help him just one time.” The whisper was so gentle, yet so clear. It was a whisper I had heard a handful of other times in my life and had never regretted being obedient to the direction. I heard myself say to my abuser, “Yes, I will help. One time.”
I arrived to a gravely ill person who had been consuming nothing but handle-sized bottles of vodka for three weeks straight. His whites of his eyes and his skin were yellow. His apartment was unmentionable. I felt badly for him. His choices had led him to such darkness. My choice at this point, in this situation, was to remain obedient “just one time.”
My choice to remain obedient to God’s prompting led me to a place where I saw a broken person rather than my abuser. He could no longer hurt me. In fact, this time, I was in charge. This time, I was calling the shots. In all honesty, my abuser is darn lucky God was with me. I am human after all and I commit sins and act upon my free will. If it had been up to me I wouldn’t have helped him….not once, not ever. I point this out so you fully understand that what was created was not from me.
I chose to remain obedient “just one time” and as a result of that choice, I saw a person who wasn’t scary anymore. My heart broke open for him. My heart wished for good things to happen in his life. My heart felt towards him as I would anyone else who I held close and, dare I say, love. I was in awe of the healing that God brought to me as a result of the obedience. I forgave an atrocity when forgiveness wasn’t being sought after. I was freed from the confines of my own thoughts and memories.
To this very day, the forgiveness remains. He is no longer my abuser. He is a person whom I can say I care very much about. He is someone we see from time to time….not too often and never will my children be alone with him. However, the decision to protect my children isn’t fueled by resentment and fear. It’s simply smart parenting. Through obedience, forgiveness was created. God breathed. God’s will. My healing.
2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Karyn also recommends this song:
Karyn is a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, and believer in Jesus Christ. She resides in Alamo, California, with her husband and three kids. After many years spent as a stay-at-home-mom, Karyn now works as a teacher’s aid and substitute teacher at her children’s school, Alamo Elementary. She’s an avid runner who feels closest to God when her feet are hitting the pavement.
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