[Guest Post by Mara Rose – I always love it when I meet new friends through other sites I write for. Please let me introduce you to a beautiful soul with a beautiful story. Be encouraged.]
“I need you to know that I forgive you. I forgive you for allowing this baggage to carry over into my marriage and mental health. I won’t let our past dictate my future–a future that is so much brighter without a man like you.”
These were the words that I wrote in a “no-send letter” to a verbally abusive ex-boyfriend, as recommended by my biblical counselor.
It took me 8 years to realize that I was still carrying around his hurtful words and actions. I hate that it took me this long, but I’m ready to begin a new journey and free myself from the burden of a past relationship.
To move forward, we need to love what is ahead by loving what has come before.
I was 17 when I met Jeremy (changed for privacy). He made me feel special, loved and desired. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t date me until I could meet his expectations of “maturity”.
After my high school graduation Jeremy finally felt comfortable with my “level of maturity” and we officially started dating. The first few months were amazing. We were inseparable and despite the long distance during college semesters, we were somehow able to make it work.
It didn’t take very long for Jeremy to show his true self. He began to shamelessly degrade me in front of our friends and my family. Gradually over time his remarks began to tear away small pieces of my confidence and self-esteem.
Over the next 2 years of our broken, yet functioning relationship Jeremy continued to break me down. Worst of all, I started to believe his hurtful words.
He questioned everything that I said and did, even my choice of clothing and make-up. Jeremy would tell me that I was stupid and tell me not to talk unless I had something smart to say.
“I won’t be surprised if you break up with me after turning 21,” Jeremy would frequently say, “You’ll just go back to being the slut you were before me.”
When someone tells you something long enough, no matter how false it might be, you’ve been conditioned to believe it.
The problem was that I allowed him to say terrible things because I didn’t know how to defend myself yet. I was never able to truly be myself with Jeremy, because in his mind I was supposed look and act like someone else. I wanted to be with someone that valued me, my personal beliefs and treated me with respect.
Our relationship left me feeling worthless.
Jeremy was right, I did break up with him after my 21st birthday, but not for the reasons he made up in his delusional mind. The night of our break-up marked the first time that I finally stood up for myself and told him exactly how I felt.
The most important lesson that I have learned since our break-up is that Jeremy’s attitude and verbal abuse was not my fault. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve had regrets of my own, but no one deserves that kind of treatment.
Without the pain and hurt from the past, then we couldn’t understand joy.
The heartbreak and frustration actually led me to go back to church.
I met my husband, Jonathan, 4 years after breaking up with my ex. Jon was exactly the kind of man I had been looking for without even knowing he’s what I wanted. He treats me with respect and appreciation. I’ve never felt so much love for one person and love him more every day.
Happiness is a human right.
It took me years to realize that no matter what you’ve said and done in the past–God still loves and forgives us.
Today, I choose to forgive Jeremy because it releases me from anger and bitterness.
I choose to forgive just as Christ has forgiven me.
Mara Rose is an up-and-coming author and Christian writer. She has endured years of chronic pain and strives to be a light for Jesus even on the darkest days. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Jonathan, who serves in the military and is an OIF Veteran. You can read more from Mara on her blog, wordsbymara.com, or on Twitter @MsMaraRose.
[Picture: Miss Stash Would, Flickr]