“He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 5:9).
My sister Kim has had several miracles as well, and I asked her to share:
Seven years into my marriage with Ken I received a miracle – this is one I wasn’t even asking for at the moment. I had left the request on a back burner a long time ago. I was raised in the church my whole life and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior when I was nine years old. I wasn’t perfect and still not perfect but God and church was and is my life. When I decided to get a divorce (from my first husband) it was a very difficult decision. What came afterwards shook me to the very core of my being. It was my church friends who began and spread rumors, who never once came to talk with me, never asked if what they were saying was true and never asked if I was hurting ….. they caused me the deepest pain and anger that I ever experienced. By now you are probably thinking – yep, that’s what those church people do all the time. Maybe it has also happened to you.
During this time (for seven years) I continued to serve the Lord, married Ken, moved to PA, found good churches to be involved in and made new friends who lived a Christian life as great role models for us and our children. Trust came back; however, unforgiveness for those who caused such hurt and pain was there in the background, stealing some of the joy of hometown visits, always dreading running into them when I visited WV.
I was given the miracle of a peace that passes all understanding. I can’t tell you the day it happened but I claim it as a miracle. I had allowed forgiveness to happen and I was freed of the weight that bitterness and resentment had once occupied. Those who hurt me never apologized – probably never knew the pain they caused, but I relate it to being like “grace” – something you don’t deserve but is freely given. Forgiveness is a choice – choose today to let go of your past hurts – it will equal a miracle of unspeakable joy. (Psalms 86:5 – “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” (End of Kim’s testimony)
Reading this this morning made me wonder if I should continue with this topic one more week – not sure why, but maybe someone just needs it. The story I started this forgiveness series on was my first HUGE lesson in forgiveness, and as I said before, it was followed less than a year later by a revelation from one of my then-husband’s employees that my husband was having an affair with a new girl he had recently hired and that he supervised. This girl was a little younger than we were (and I was only 21 or so). What do you do with information like this? Is there an etiquette book on these things? I had no clue how to handle it, so I drove to her house. She asked me in, and as we sat in her living room, she tells me that yes, it is true, she is sleeping with my husband. Wow. There I sit in her living room, having been raised to be polite and courteous, so I thanked her for talking to me, got in my car and drove home, not even crying, feeling nothing but numbness, incredible numbness. My husband was working out of town, so he wasn’t even home to confront, so it had to be done on the telephone. What followed was a lot of lying on his part, a lot of twisting of truth, a lot of getting others to intervene and beg, then the girl calling me and saying she was lying when she told me that – it just went on and on and on. But at the root of it all was the fact that I was crazy about my husband, and I believed in our love, I believed in our marriage, and I believed that Christ was bigger than all these things, and if we BOTH served and committed ourselves to Him, He would bless our marriage and we could get through this.
I’m sure all of you know the end of the story – after two children and twelve years of marriage and much forgiveness being extended, I just couldn’t do it anymore. That does not mean I hold unforgiveness – because amazingly, I don’t. I came out of my marriage with incredible children who bless my life daily, who are both serving the Lord, and I learned much about myself and about my Lord, the full realm of His love and forgiveness and grace and mercy. In fact, one of the other times I KNOW God spoke to me was when I had finally decided I had to be done with this, and I was praying and crying and saying, “Lord, is this your plan for me? Is it really? Why did I go all through all this and forgive and forgive if I’m still getting a divorce? This wasn’t my plan, wasn’t my dream, this wasn’t how I thought my life would end up.” As clear as an audible voice, God says to me, “I know, I know, but just know this: I am looking at a timeline of your life, and you are right here in the middle, but I see all the way to the end of this line, and I will be by your side the whole way, and it WILL work out, it WILL. What satan intends for destruction, I can make it good.”
I could see it – like a ruler sort of, and His finger moving down the ruler to the end, with a little dot in the middle where I was huddled, weeping and broken. But His strength showed me that I was NOT at the end, I was only on my way, and I WOULD make it, and my children WOULD make it, and HE would be with me through the end…..oh, praise His name, praise His name, He is faithful to the end.
Wednesday night in church, we had an incredible spirit there, and at one point in the service, we were holding hands and softly singing one of the old wonderful hymns, and as I looked up, both of my children were on the platform with the praise team, and Tyler was sitting at the drums holding Talia’s hand, as she is one of the singers, and it brought tears to my eyes that I am so so blessed to have my children serving the Lord, to have them working together to make music for the Lord, something they started when they were very small. Oh, do I wish things had turned out differently and that my family was not broken? You bet I do. I hate for my children that they were a product of divorce, a broken family, not the way God intended it to be. But if I spend my time in regret, I use energy that could be better used, so I just do not go there. It is futile and counterproductive. I want to use my lips for praise, my mind for worship, my body for service.
I wonder, has this talk about forgiveness stirred up something in you? Something you thought you had forgiven but maybe haven’t really? It has gotten me thinking also, as it seems forgiveness is something that isn’t one of those “I’ve conquered this!” but it is more of a daily and weekly and monthly thing, that choice to “Let it go, just LET IT GO!” I have friends that seem like every little thing someone says bothers them and they dwell on it and “Can you believe she said this to me, how dare her,” on and on. My advice always is, “Just let it go, let it go – what does it really matter?” People can have such power over us through their words, can’t they? But you know what? We have that same power! We can use our words to build and not tear down; we can use our words to offer love in the face of hate or indifference or scorn; we can use our words to accept other people for who and what they are and move on.
If you call yourself a Christian and you truly believe you are a follower of Jesus Christ, forgiveness has to be front and center of your life. If it isn’t, start praying for that gift of release. I use so much energy during the day just getting what I have to get done accomplished; I just don’t have energy to maintain grudges and hate and unforgiveness. Do you? Lay it down – then you will see the fullness that Christ has for you!
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.