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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Forgiveness: A Bitter Pill - (An Open Letter to People I Left Behind)

I had not planned to write a blog on forgiveness, but an ex-best friend of mine inspired me to write this blog. Even though I've cut her out of my life almost a year ago she tries so hard to keep hurting me. And, yet I forgive her. 

I also write this blog in honor of my amazing Aunt Doris. I had no idea the rifts the hurt, and betrayal that she felt from the people she loved most in the last years of her life. She handled it with such grace and discretion. And, even though it pained her that her flesh and blood hurt her so deeply, she forgave...each and every one of them. 

I thought about forgiveness a lot last night when I was writing this blog, and I had an incredible dream about my Aunt Doris. We met on plane and when I told her I was finally happy again. She smiled, and said, "That is what forgiveness does it sets you free to make room for the happy again."Before she died, Aunt Doris asked me to keep living, keep dreaming, and keeping chasing God's love. So a jagged a little pill like forgiveness isn't going to get in the way of honoring that request. I plan to love and live Aunt Doris wildly, madly, deeply.
Our last picture together.
Rest in heaven Aunt

Like you Aunt Doris, I have am forgiving my family, my friends, the people who walked away when I needed them most.  Our relationships will never be the same, but I am set from from the bondage bitterness brings. 

This blog is also for everyone I am learning to forgive and move on from. Every moment I do not return my hurt with an angry response, every moment I remember the good in our relationships and not the bad, every moment I continue to grow in spite of the hurt you caused me --- I FORGIVE!

Since my blog took a more intimate turn last year (blogging about my mental health, leaving my t.v. career, the rifts in my family, my homelessness, my pain) I've endured a lot of  hurt and consequentially had to cut off a lot of people in my life.  Now that I am finally in a place of peace I can write this letter to every single person I've had to let go of. 

To The People I Had to Leave,

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things pills we HAVE swallow in life. It's completely against human nature. We live in a world where there are consequences for actions, where we expect justice to be served, wrongs to be righted. But, forgiveness doesn't work that way. A wise cousin once told me, "Faith is not fair." I don't believe forgiveness is either.

In earthly terms forgiveness, doesn't make sense. I like so many others I too struggle with forgiving those who have wronged me. My brains says, "These people who hurt you should feel your pain! BE pissed! Be mad! You are entitled to it." But, because I know a graceful God I will always move to a place of forgiveness. ALWAYS. Last year, I hit rock bottom in ways I never imagined, and the people I needed were the greatest sources of my pain. Even now I look back on that time and I can't believe the things I endured at the hands of people I loved the most. There were hard lessons about how man can fail you. So many days I sat around bitter, crying, wounded, and abandoned.

That hurt burned me so bad. I will never understand why those you said the things you said, why you threw away years of friendship, why you denied your kin. I know now it is not for me to understand. I forgive you for everything. I am letting it all go. I can't hold it anymore. Some days are harder than others. I've lashed out in anger and pain. But I believe forgiveness is something we do daily. Every time I respond to your hurt with love I am practicing forgiveness. I am slowly getting better at that. I am practice forgiveness because in the valley that has been my life, God has shown me everyday how graceful and merciful He is to me. 

It is because of the love God has shown me I can NEVER harbor anger toward any of you. If my merciful God can forgive me with my mistakes, my brokeness, and my sin I must extend the same favor to you. If Jesus tells His children to try to walk in his image, I have to forgive you. Because, the world hated Jesus, and all He did was meet them love.

 Reading the book of John brought me so much peace, and introduced me to Christ in a way I never knew Him. The story of the woman at the well brought me so much hope, peace, and salvation. A woman that everyone judged, and torn down Jesus met with love. It didn't matter what she did prior to meeting Jesus at that well. He still presented her with everlasting water, a love that knew no condition. It comforted me in a way no one ever has. 

Also, it is because I am learning what love, honor, and respect looks like in Christ is why I can not continue on this journey of life with you. The words says we are supposed to sharpen one another, build each other up, and if I left you last year it is because our relationship didn't foster the kind of sharpening I need in life. 

God teaches us that forgiveness is necessary to free our hearts of anger, but that doesn't mean we have to be walking doormats for toxic people. Sometimes we outgrow people, sometimes the offenses don't stop, and then it's simply time to move on. I am moving on. I am sad sometimes that I couldn't take certain people or certain relationships with me in this new season of my life, but I'll never regret the time we shared. Thank you.

Some of the deepest wounds have come from my family. While I no longer feel it's beneficial to have them in my life; I will never regret the family God placed me. There was once a time we knew real love. We are different people, with different views on what real love means now. And, I sincerely wish each of you well. Now that the anger is gone, I am praying for God to take the pain away. And, I pray in time you find peace too.

Love You, Love God More

Lauren Hope

For anyone reading this blog, struggling with forgiveness.
Trust me, the forgiveness is for you. This is easier said than done. Forgiveness burns. Our flesh wants to hold onto the hurt it feels it deserves to own, the justice it feels it was denied. I only reached my place of forgiveness, because of God. For days I begged to Him to help me understand why people hurt me, I asked Him to comfort me in my abandonment. And just like His word said, "Joy came in the morning." (Psalms 30:5) I also woke up feeling some relief. And, each day it got easier and easier. 

I am more free than I have ever been because I'm letting go of the pain inflicted on me. Forgiveness did not fix the relationships. It was not like a magic wand, but over time it changed something in me. I asked God to soften the hearts of my enemies, and I found my heart softening as well. And, some miraculous things have happened in some of those broken relationships. I found strength over pain, and joy over heartache. It is hard in the beginning, but the more you let it go, the more God blesses you. For ever person I had to walk away from last year God brought someone EVEN MORE AMAZING; people who have loved me when I had no money, no home, and nothing to offer. Forgiveness sets you free, and opens you up to peace, love, and happiness. I know this to be true.

While life isn't perfect I'm finally in a really good happy, healthy place. I know in my heart God's restoration is going to be amazing. He is already sent me so many beautiful angels to love me through this valley. It is with their love and God's grace I AM

OVERCOMING abandonment, betrayal, jealously, anger, all those ugly things that make forgiveness so hard. God has  restored my faith in friendship and restored my faith in myself. He has sent amazing prayer warriors, strangers, and new friends to love me through this valley. And, I grateful for all of you especially Shirley, Shantee, Constance, Dennis.. my new roomies.. thank you

When I think of the past year and moving toward forgiveness I think of two amazing Christina Aguilera songs "Fighter" & "Singing My Song. And that girl has seen some hurt in her day. ( a broken home and a abusive dad but found peace in forgiveness. I hear you sista)

"I never wanna dwell on the pain again. There is no use is reliving the hell from back then...." Here's to singing my song this new year ...."