Today Tracey Casciano shares how she began to forgive and overcome a past full of hurt and shame. Tracey blogs at http://ephesians2v8.wordpress.com and her book “Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness After Child Abuse” will be released later this year.
One Spring day I was sitting in church and the pastor started speaking about forgiveness. This immediately made me uncomfortable. You see, I had been estranged from my parents for over 16 years. I didn’t like our relationship, but didn’t know what to do. As the pastor began speaking, I felt as though a spotlight was on me. Nothing else was in focus. The pastor was talking directly to me. He read out a Scripture passage:
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you (Matthew 6:14 NLT).”
I began to fidget and move around in my seat. After years of carrying my burden and hurt from a life with an alcoholic mother and sexually abusive father, I didn’t want to forgive them. I felt that would be letting them off too easily.
As I wrestled with this for the next few days, I decided to talk to my pastor. I learned that by forgiving them, I wasn’t excusing their behavior, I was freeing myself from the years of pain and guilt that I had held on to. So I wrote my parents a letter. Even though it sounded easy enough, I must have started, stopped, and reworded my letter thirty times. In the letter, I explained that my dad and my mom didn’t deserve my forgiveness, but that I was tired of suffering from their actions. I emphasized that I didn’t expect anything to change between us. I referenced the Bible and made it clear that the real reason I was choosing to forgive them was because I needed to put my past behind me.
I felt that the burden of my past was finally released. As days and weeks passed by, I never received a response from my letter to my parents. I am amazed by God’s knowledge that I needed to surrender to the message of forgiveness at that time, as just six months later my father died. I am humbled by my own obedience and am confident to this day that I made the right choice by sending the letter. I can’t imagine the potential result that I could’ve experienced from carrying unforgiveness any longer.
Tracey is a passionate speaker and writer shining a light for Jesus. She shines that light through encouraging words as a blogger, speaker, and writer to help others who may be suffering or doubting themselves on their current path in life. After a childhood with an alcoholic mother and abusive father, her love for the Lord helped rise above her past. She is happily married and in the midst of raising four wonderful sons. Tracey has a background in Special Education, has been a missionary in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Her first book, “Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness after Child Abuse” will be published in early 2016. Join her blog at http://ephesians2v8.wordpress.com