Beauty For Ashes
A Story of Forgiveness
Crunching metal and shattering glass were the last things Linda heard before she blacked out. When she opened her eyes, paramedics and police were hovering over her.
“Where’s my baby? Where are my boys?” Through the fog of regaining consciousness, the painful reality slowly sunk in. Though Linda and her two older boys had miraculously survived the head-on collision, her two-year-old son had been killed instantly.
Just weeks before, Linda had discovered her husband’s affair. She was devastated to realize it had been going on for years.
“Why, God? Why did You take my baby from me, why did my husband cheat on me? Are You punishing me?”
Free From the Arrow of Depression
For the next several years she went through the motions of caring for her boys, learning how to be a single mom in the aftermath of her husband leaving. It was as if her heart had died that day of the head-on collision.
Years went by. Years of numbness and a deep ache that never went away. Then came the day when she got the news that her ex-husband was in critical condition in the hospital. Though Linda knew her boys had a right to visit their father, she didn’t want to see him or talk to him. She dropped them off at the hospital and waited in the car for them to come out.
That night in the quietness of her bedroom, Linda raged at God. “Why should I care what happens to him? After all he’s done for me, I don’t care if he dies.” Waves of hurt and painful memories came crashing over her again.
Forgive him. The thought came quietly, unexpectedly, after the storm of tears. “What? Forgive him? How can I? He’s never apologized! He’s hurt me so much!”
Forgive him. The message was gentle, persistent. “No! Never! I can’t ever forgive him for what he’s done! It’s too painful!”
Forgive him. Finally, in desperation, Linda quietly surrendered. “OK, Lord. Because YOU have forgiven me, I will forgive my ex-husband. But You have to help me! I don’t want to do it, but I will do it because You ask me to.”
Inexplicably, a deep sense of peace settled in Linda’s heart. The raging inner battle was over. Free to Forgive. It was in God’s hands now. And there was such sweet release – as if a huge weight had been lifted off her chest.
Freedom through Forgiveness
As Linda told my friend and I her story, she pulled out a small photo from her wallet.
“This was me fifteen years ago, after my husband left and my son was killed.” She pointed to a picture of a woman with deep lines in her face and great heaviness in her eyes. I couldn’t believe it. She looked fifteen years OLDER in that picture than she did now! I wouldn’t have even recognized her as the same person.
“God has given me back my joy!” Linda smiled, her face radiant. “When I forgave my husband and released the pain of the loss of my son to Him, He gave me such peace and freedom.”
Our Heavenly Father wants to do the same for you! Will you give your hurt to Him today, in exchange for His grace and peace? Only He can transform the deep pain of loss into a story of forgiveness, healing, and inexplicable joy! He is the only One who can give “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3, NIV).