One of the hardest people to forgive is you. Over the years, I’ve had to forgive myself for a lot of wrong doings. I forgave myself for the times I abused prescription drugs. I forgave myself for the years I drank too much. I forgave myself for using illegal drugs. I even forgave myself for the years of self-harm. If the good Lord could forgive me, then I could forgive me. But, there was still one sin I was holding on to. There was still this guilt that I was carrying.
My oldest daughter was born was I was 18 years old. I was a baby having a baby. Her father and I weren’t married and we never would be. We separated when my daughter was just 9 days old. Our relationship ended with a PFA and a custody agreement. My daughter was 2 when I married her step-father, Cameron.
Cameron and I have been married for over 5 years now. My oldest is 7 and my youngest is 2. Technically, my girls are half sisters. But, we don’t tell them that. They’re being raised in the same home, they have two parents that love them, and they love each other: they’re sisters. There really aren’t any problems in our home. The girls get along. My husband never has treated my oldest any different than my youngest. But, it has always bothered me that I have a blended family. While I know it’s all in my head, there were times it just felt like we weren’t a real family.
This idea usually got put in my head when I was around other couples. I’d see them in church or out in public: the couples that did things the way they were supposed to. They got married then they had babies. They didn’t have blended families. They didn’t have to explain why one of their kids has a different last name. I hated it. I wanted what they had. Every time I’d see these “normal families” I was just consumed with jealousy and guilt. Until one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
A few months ago, I was sitting on my bed, doing my nightly devotions. I began reading, and then I stopped. I needed to talk with God before I went any further. I said, “God…I am…”
That is when the tears just fell freely. Within about 3 seconds, I was in a good, deep cry. It was the kind of cry where your face is as red as a tomato and you can’t breathe. I just poured my heart out. I remember crying out to God, “I am so sorry for everything I have done. I am so sorry I didn’t wait until I was married to have a baby. I sinned and I’m sorry. I messed up. God, I’m just so sorry.” Tears are still streaming down my face. I’m sobbing into my bed. I went on, “I can’t keep living like this. I can’t keep comparing myself to others. I can’t hold on to the guilt.” This was the first time I was genuinely repentant of what I had done.
Then, I was quiet. I was at peace. A verse of the Bible came to mind. Romans 8:1-2 which says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” I thought of Jesus’ last words before He gave up His spirit. “It is finished.” These words were often stamped on legal documents. They meant “paid in full”. My debt is paid. I’m free. I’m no longer guilty. Jesus paid it all.
In that moment, I swear, it was like that weight of the entire world was lifted from my shoulders. Every burden I had been carrying was left at the cross. I was free. I was forgiven. My debt has been paid. And that, my friends, is what Christ has done for me.
To wrap all this up, I ask you, what guilt are you still carrying? What burdens are still weighing heavy on your heart? What do you need to leave at the cross? What do you need to forgive yourself of? Your debt has been paid, so why are you still living in guilt? Freedom is yours. Live by faith and repent of your sins, and you can experience the freedom that I’ve found. Let go of your guilt and shame. Live in freedom.