Freedom from the Pain of the Past

This is the third story in our “Freedom From…” Series, an 8-week series featuring women who have faced adversity and found freedom in the process. Our story today is from Linda, as told to Kendra Roehl. Linda is a wife, mother, and grandmother.

The greatest challenge of Linda’s life began at her youngest daughter’s wedding during what was supposed to be a happy occasion, when a man walked over to her oldest daughter and asked if she knew that her father – Linda’s husband – was having an affair with his wife. Worse, the woman was Linda’s best friend.

Reeling, Linda and her oldest daughter’s husband quickly defused the situation, but her outward composure proved to be the calm before the storm.

As they left the wedding, Linda refused her husband Russ’s assistance getting into the car, kicking the door shut. When he came around the side of the car and sat in the driver’s seat, the emotions she had suppressed came boiling to the surface. Overcome with anger, she threw a hot cup of coffee in his face.

In the year leading up to the confrontation at the wedding, she had begun to question things. She had wondered about the nights he would stay up late and be on the phone in their office, but he always brushed off her concerns. And between their busy schedule and her exhaustion from being a daycare provider, she didn’t have the energy or inclination to pursue it further.

“I think we were too busy,” Linda says now. “We weren’t making time for each other; we were in the world, striving in the world too much.”

For Linda, starting over in her marriage meant reorganizing their priorities as a couple. Instead of focusing solely on their children and grandchildren, they began to make more time for each other.

“Russ and I needed something in our marriage to wake us up and to show us how important we are to each other – not the kids, not your job, not the church – and I could never get Russ there, but God had a plan,” she said.

Through it all, she trusted and claimed the words to Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

“I stood on that verse. God knew it was going to happen, he was going to make me strong and now I see all the ways he was preparing me,” she said. “It has drawn our marriage very close. I don’t know what else would have done that.”

Starting over also meant putting God first, giving her a deeper, richer walk with Christ.

“For so long, I felt like I had God, but I always relied on Russ and my kids for my happiness,” she said. “I always relied on Russ for everything and it was like God was saying, ‘No, you need to rely on me. I am your comforter, your friend – your best friend. I am here for you.’”

Looking back, Linda admits that even though the experience was difficult and the journey to trust and forgiveness took years to accomplish, she is now able to see God’s hand throughout their circumstances.

“It changed me a lot. There’s no one like my God. There’s nobody, there’s nothing I want more than him. There’s nothing. I could get rid of everything we own – I don’t want any of it; nothing means anything to me. I don’t need anybody but him. I love my daughters; I love my grandkids,” she said, pausing. “But my children sometimes disappoint me, my husband sometimes disappoints me, my extended family sometimes disappoints me, I disappoint me – but [God] never does, and he never closes the door on me. I can’t imagine my life without him.”

We caught up with Linda to ask her for advice on how to overcome unforgiveness and distrust.

What are some practical ways to trust someone who’s hurt you?

Step 1: Trust God alone. I just had to let go and let God have full control of my life!

Step 2: Forgive them. To build back trust, I really had to learn to forgive those who hurt me, so I researched a lot of scriptures on forgiveness and did some reading and praying. God showed me how to truly forgive and trust.

Step 3: Pray for them. I also began to pray for those who had hurt me and lost my trust; that was hard at first because it still hurt so bad. But for me to heal inside, I had to FORGIVE.

Other resources:

Bible verses that may help:

  • “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:2)
  • “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13 NIV)
  • “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV)

Websites:

Focus on the Family

Books:

Healing The Hurt in Your Marriage

Unfaithful: Hope and Healing After Infidelity

If you missed the first two weeks in our series, you can read them here: Freedom from Fear and Insecurity and Freedom from Expectations.

Kendra Egeland Roehl

Author Kendra Egeland Roehl

Kendra received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work and has worked for hospice programs, low-income housing, and the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A mother of four, she and her husband are both foster and adoptive parents. She is a speaker and writer about topics such as marriage, motherhood, foster care, adoption, and social justice at The Ruth Experience.

More posts by Kendra Egeland Roehl

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