Each month at equipHER, women of all ages and backgrounds come together in community to follow Jesus. We are invited and challenged each month by a new discipline. In the month of May, we were invited and challenged to examine any offense and unforgiveness in our lives and walk through the steps of forgiveness together. Struggling through the hurts, the pain. and the pride, we have victoriously come through to stand in the freedom and peace of forgiveness. In today’s blog, you will be encouraged by the depth of work God can do in your life when you make a choice to accept the invitation and step into the challenge of change.
Thank you Allie Espinoza for your transparency, vulnerability and brave leadership!
It wasn’t long ago I struggled with unforgiveness, letting go and giving to God what I held onto for more than a year.
The infection of unforgivness plagued me day and night. Each time I heard the name of the one who hurt me, my stomach turned upside down. I didn’t want anything good for them nor did I want them to be blessed and go further in Christ. I wanted justification for the way I felt.
I felt hurt, robbed in my spirit, and forced to bow down under the pressure of an individual.
I didn’t want to be living under this pressure- because I have a precious gift God has given me , so great to give away right in the palm of my hands. Giving me a purpose only to have it to be thwarted and taken away by back handed actions and lies. This made me feel overwhelmed and caused such hurt in me. I felt the very person I am called to be was being put under the glass ceiling. You could see your destiny right before your eyes as God has called me forth into being, but the grasp of who I was and grabbing onto that destiny was so far from my reach. I fought to keep it alive, but to find myself in this whirlwind of hurt feelings and no longer being stable in myself threw me off course.
Resentment and bitterness built up within me causing me to judge the person I was offended by.
The actions of this person was undeniable. All the facts were there of pretentious actions. I cried out to God “Why are you not justifying me? I don’t understand. The facts are laid out right before you. Why are you not defending me and lifting me up out of this situations?”
All the questions flooded my mind and did not understand the reasoning behind God not doing anything about the actions done against me the were so apparent.
Through the process I stopped coming around and started on my own path, in a different direction than what I knew. I was glad to go on my own journey through the wilderness. The journey was one of cleansing for myself and re-positioning myself before the Lord.
Through that year I learned a lot about inner healing. Healing hurts through trauma and what others have placed on me throughout the years.
I delved into learning what this healing is all about. Because of my own woundedness and not understanding why the events that had unfolded with this person were so traumatic for me.I came to understand the very person I am inside and the woman God has called me to be was being snuffed and buried by one person.
I wanted justification. I was justified by not coming around anymore and going on about my life as the other person had done as well. Low and behold did this take us both on a journey of self-discovery.
I am not sure about the other person’ s process of self-discovery. I can only take responsibility for mine.
As I said, I went to a total of 8 weekends (yes, EIGHT) of inner healing classes and a weekend of trauma class, of course these classes were in the hopes to help others, thinking I was just fine. I was lying to myself.
The hurt of trauma, betrayals, lies, and whatever else that plagues our world keeps us from entering into forgiveness and self healing, I wanted that for someone else, because I know what it is like to feel these ways.
As much as I wanted this for others I received the healing within my life to come to a place of forgiveness. To be cleansed of my own stuff to give into the lives God places on my path through the journey I had walked and what I was walking out.
You see, I wanted to put the dependence on the one who offended me to apologize and to recognize the wrong this person had done in order for me to come to the place of forgiveness. I was not ready to forgive until that person came to their senses and acknowledge their doing. The year was nothing but striving in my ministry. No words would come to my mind when I was trying to write.The love of what I do was still there, but hindered from my own tainted glasses, looking through a broken lens.I could not see beyond myself, my hurt, and the self justification. Reasoning with myself why I am not willing to forgive until that person was going to make it all better. I was still determined to do it my way. My husband and close friend kept saying the whole year, “You have to be the bigger person. What does the Bible say about forgiveness?” I said, the person that hurt me should be the bigger person! They are the ones who did the offense , therefore I was justified in not forgiving. I don’t know how many conversations I had in my mind with this person going back and forth. Should I write an email or tell this person face to face. The email sounded really good in my head, “I’ m going to tell the person what I thought and how I felt about what they did to me!”
At the same time mind you, I am going to these inner healing classes so I could pray for other people’s wounding. All the while I needed healing in my heart. I was in denial of my own healing. My mind set was, if I could fix or help someone else that would heal me from the pain I had experienced. When going to the Inner Healing classes there is a time that each participant is to receive prayer ministry from our peers. Taking turns one being the prayer minister and the other being the one receiving. I was so fortunate, in my group each one felt they needed prayer more than I did.Needless to say, I was GLAD to pray for them, Because I was in denial that I was in need of healing. If I could fix someone else I was helping myself. I didn’t have to deal with any of my feelings. I was not ready to give my hurt up. I still wanted man to justify me.
It was hard for me to be vulnerable with my feelings because I am a leader. I have to have all my ducks in a row and look as though I have every thing under control. Well… that too is what made me feel better, but certainly a lie I was believing.
As the days, weeks, and months had passed God was imploring on me, “When are you going to surrender?” He spoke through others as well.
God delt with me tenderly and with much grace, because He knew how much hurt I have gone through, throughout my life time.
See, what I have discovered going through my process, I was so damaged from my past and this person just added to the frailty of my heart.
God began to break down barricades in my life that I put up due to the great and mighty waters that had crushed my spirit throughout my lifetime. In the events of my life I made vows that no one was ever going to hurt me again. This had caused me to judge people unrighteously, because I looked through the lenses of hurt and resentment to the ones who had violated me in the past, which caused me to see wrongly in the present.
God was telling me to give Him my burdens.
He sees everything you go through and what people do. Vengeance is Gods. All these things went through my mind as God was speaking, but I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t understand His ways. What did it looked like to give these things over to God?
I Surrendered my will. As I let go and felt the feelings of betrayal and the numbness to what I had gone through and the hurt I felt with this person was hard. It stirred up the other hurt I had from other hurtful and trying experiences that was laying dormant from my past coming up to the surface . Through this time my roots began to come alive. I was beginning to feel again. To love again. To make clean what the enemy was muddying up more and more through each traumatic experience . So when I walked the waters’s they were stirred and cloudy so I could live in my own defeat. God was washing clean as He started to penetrate my heart is such a tangible way I can hardly explain. It’s one of those things that happens, but unable to find the words to the experience.
As I began to forgive the walls of hate, bitterness, and unforgivness began to crumble. As I went through this process the decaying walls began to fall and the healing began causing my heart to live again and pump life giving blood through my arteries and veins.
After the healing came about in my life I did finally speak to the person who I had bitterness towards. The very one who I felt has nailed the glass ceiling in place. Neither of us knew what to expect. A year had passed and nothing but the feelings we felt at the time was subsided, but still needed to deal with the actions that transpired which caused the hurt. We started off with who was going to buy who coffee and we sat down both very nervous by what the other was going to say.
I started the conversation and told my truth. It was all about me and my perception from the tainted glasses I was wearing and the “great wall of China” that was in my heart which God crumbled as I surrendered.
You see, as God was dealing with me, helping me through the healing process God was working in the other person’s life as well.
After a year of feeling completely unsettled and undone, the conversation came down to: I forgive you. The forgiveness was mutual, to my surprise. I was surprised by the loving and warm spirit I was not accustomed to from the person who caused me so much hurt.
God made a symphony out of the catastrophe that took place in the past.
Coming to terms with the actions and facing the one who made my life difficult brought about blessing and peace. Should I have gone to the inner healing classes? Would I have a amended the path I did if I had not been offended? I believe this was the last straw within me to say NO MORE! No more feeling defiled when my God brings peace and love. I wanted to experience all that God says in the Bible. What is this feeling of love? What is it to be transparent? I didn’t know how to state my truths. Stating my truths made me vulnerable. I felt being vulnerable was a weakness, which I recognize now is a strength.
I could just imagine the cacophonous whirlwind I would have done upon myself if I had taken action in my own way. Today the relationship with the person who offended me as well as being at peace forgiving and blessing all the ones who hurt me in the past has brought love and comfort in my heart.
The art of forgiveness may not be a road that is frequently traveled. It is one of surrender and sacrifice. Sacrifice of ones fleshly feelings to make possible a journey with God that changes one’s life forever.
I know I am changed. I love this person with all my heart. I now want the best for the person and want them to flourish higher than I could imagine God could take them.
All things in our relationship are restored. We both have forgiveness and restoration. My heart is full and so happy to have had the journey I had this last year with God in such a tangible way. God walked with me hand in hand through the ups and downs of my heart, but restored to life.
By: Allie Espinoza
Allie has been in women’s leadership for over 11 years. She serves as the historian on the Bonner County Canopy of Prayer, Woman of Worship area leader, and area woman’s leader for North Idaho for the Northwest Ministry Network Women’s Department. Allie also leads an equipHER group and is a speaker who has a huge passion to build women up and help equip them to fulfill their full potential in God. She is currently working on domestic violence and sex trafficking issues in Sandpoint by advocating and bringing women and children to safety, as well as being certified in mental health first aid.
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