Friday Reader Feature: Forgiveness - Elisabeth Klein

This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.  -Elisabeth

I started this post weeks ago. I wanted to write about forgiveness, but I when I sat down to write, I couldn’t. I took a step back to do some self-examination and pinpoint why I wasn’t able to gather my thoughts.  Was there unfinished business here?  The answer? Yes.

When you go through a separation, forgiveness usually applies to the estranged spouse. And yes, recent events have tested my ability to forgive.  But, my unfinished business isn’t with him. It’s with the woman he had an affair with.

It’s been almost two years since I learned of my husband’s infidelity.  Living through something like that is like living through the death of a loved one and experiencing all the stages of grief.  In the middle of my grief, however, I made the choice to stay.  We decided we would work together (with a marriage counselor) to try to rebuild our marriage. Despite forgiving my husband, I struggled with sorting through my feelings. Not towards him, but towards her. When I first found out about her I tried to get in touch so we could talk.  She wouldn’t answer my calls or texts. Two days later I drove to her work and forced her to talk to me.  I figured the least she could do after wrecking my marriage was to face me, woman to woman, and allow me the chance to ask questions.

I asked her intentions towards my husband and whether she planned on leaving him alone. I asked about the threatening voicemail she left just as he was confessing his infidelity.  I asked if she understood the gravity of her actions.  I asked about her “Christianity” since she kept referencing God and His “calling” on her life. I just wanted to know why. Strangely I wasn’t angry with her. I was angry with him. In between talking I cried, she cried.  She apologized, I forgave her.  I hugged her, I left.

I realize now I was only fooling myself.

Two years later, now that we’re separated (for problems unrelated to his affair), I think of her a lot.  In journaling I realized that choosing to stay together made me feel like I’d won the battle against her.  Once we weren’t together anymore, I felt she had won. Issues I thought I’d gotten closure on started to re-surface and I found myself writing a lot about what I wish I could say to her. I wrote and emailed a letter telling her of the unresolved anger I was feeling.  I wrote of the things I didn’t say then, but wanted her to know now. She never responded.

In my small group, this week’s assignment was to “make a list of people you need to forgive and prayerfully consider how to forgive those listed and erase the debt for whatever wrong they may have done to you.  Continue to pray for each person listed every day this week and ask for God’s blessing on their lives.” She was my list. Praying about forgiving her wasn’t the hard part, I know my heart needs it.  But to pray blessings on her life?  I’m just not there yet. I want to be, though. I know I can’t have the life that God is calling me to live while still dragging around the weight of un-forgiveness. I don’t want to live that way.  Most importantly, what I realize is this–I need to be okay with never getting an apology. That’s the unfinished business God’s going to get me through.  I welcome You, Lord. Until then, I’ll write all about it.

If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:

If you would like to join my closed Facebook group called Hope & Healing, you can find it here.
If you’d like to receive my free e s-book, You’re Going to Make It Through, you can get it here.
If you need a nudge in your healing, I would love to work with you! Join me for one of my coaching courses.
If in a difficult marriage: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
If separated/divorced: Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom: Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available in paperback/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books

-AB