[Guest Post by Amanda Espinoza – I can’t say thanks enough to those who are willing to share about something so deeply personal and painful. I want to personally thank Laura, the first person to share her story of rape on my blog. You can read her story here. Also, my friend Carla who shared her story of rape, and you can read her story here. If any of you are struggling on this topic I encourage you to reach out and get help. Jesus cares and He wants to help you process this painful event.]
It is easy to forgive someone when they sincerely apologize and ask for that forgiveness.
But what do you do when the person who has wronged you isn’t asking for forgiveness? That is a question I have had to battle with multiple times for one single event.
At the age of 18, I was a rebellious teenager who thought I knew right from wrong. I had been a “straight A” student through high school and stayed on the straight and narrow path.
October 31, 2003 is a night I will never forget.
It was a supposed to be a night of fun and costumes.
Instead I was left stripped of my virginity and left to pick up the pieces.
I didn’t speak about it to anyone for more than a month. But when I did, that is when the real pain soaked in.
I praise God I had a family who knew how to support me. My grandmother offered to pay for a counseling session with a woman I don’t remember, but her words of Godly wisdom are forever imprinted in my mind.
I went through four sessions with her.
I truly wanted to be there; I needed to hear her; I needed to find healing in my soul. I had no control over my emotions, I felt violated, confused, and rejected. How could God allow one of his own children to go through this pain?
She helped me see that the focus should not be on questioning God, but to allow Him to mend my broken heart and soul.
She told me to forgive him.
It was as if that would be the simplest thing to do. Forgiving my rapist was far from easy. How could I forgive someone who wasn’t even sorry? He took the only thing that I didn’t want to lose.
And now I am supposed to just forgive him?
The counselor told me that should I chose not to forgive him, which I did have that choice, I would be harboring resentment and anger in my heart. That it would eventually consume me! I was already forever changed from an innocent teenager to a broken woman, but if I chose not to forgive then my heart would begin to turn into darkness.
Growing up in the Christian faith, I knew how important it was to forgive others.
So I listened to her very intently. What she gave me was the gift of understanding that there is always a bigger picture. God will always use me for His glory, as long as I let Him.
Like clockwork, that event crossed into my path every few years as my life changed and grew. I came to different levels of maturity and new ways of understanding. Every time I remembered the pain I had to forgive–again.
Now, I am preparing to get married.
Currently I find myself wondering if this event will affect my marriage and if it will affect my future children. But these questions do not need to be asked. All God asks of me is to forgive that man again, and lean on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
He has asked me to be open and honest on my path of life.
He has given me the strength to share my story with every woman and young adult I meet.
I don’t know how my story has impacted other lives, but I know God will use me for His glory.
See, sometimes I think we try to figure life out. We try to find the big picture. But all God asked of me, was to forgive that man of his wrongdoing.
“Forgive [him] father, [he] knows not what he did” (Luke 23:34).
Ultimately, we must trust God enough to lean on Him so He can guide our next steps.
Amanda Espinoza is an Independent Beauty Consultant and lives to not only help women feel beautiful on the outside, but to see the inner beauty that is within her; giving each woman the skills to let her beauty shine. Through each consultation she is able to show the servants heart of Jesus Christ.