7 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
    instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
    they shall have everlasting joy. -Isaiah 61:7 ESV

Sharing my testimony publicly was so hard. For me, it meant opening a door that I have closed a thousand times before. It meant showing my most vulnerable moments, and the darkest portion of my life. Though it was hard, I felt an overwhelming sense of empowerment. For the first time, my past didn’t control me—fear had me not. I am thankful for that. So in this next portion, I would like to share with you how I found healing through this experience.

When I met my husband, I felt the tangible love that God has for me. God used a physical man to show me the love he has for his church. Though, at the time, I didn’t even realize it. I just knew I loved this man, and he, undoubtedly, was created for me. Aaron and I both had vowed to God that we would remain sexually pure until we were married. In a culture that glorifies sex, this was tough. When friends all around you are sexually active, you quickly become an outcast—even in the church. But it didn’t matter to me. There were times when my girlfriends would ask if I would reject a man if he were not sexually pure. I never knew how to respond to that. I just knew, deep in my heart, that God would honor my choice to do so. He knew my heart’s desire was to receive the same gift that I was preserving. He was faithful and rewarded me with an amazing man who shared my heart as well. Being able to exchange this gift with my husband created the most amazing foundation for our life. It’s unexplainable.

Aaron was the first person I trusted with every piece of me—the first person who reached the depth of my heart. It wasn’t easy for him. He quickly picked up on times when I just wanted to shut down. Rather than becoming offended, he held my hand and loved me through it all. He was just what I needed. He was gentle, patient, gracious, and strong—even when I wasn’t. There were many nights when I was struggling to sleep that he would read from Psalms until I fell asleep.

Early on in our marriage, we decided to start our family. We tried for nearly two years, and then decided to see my doctor. After much screening, my doctor informed me that the chances were near impossible for us to conceive. If by chance we did, the pregnancy would end early. She said my uterine lining was just too thin to withstand pregnancy. As you can imagine, we were devastated.

During this time, God was dealing with my heart on forgiveness. I needed to forgive, but just didn’t want to let go yet. You know, holding on to it became somewhat of a crutch for me. I wanted a baby so I could raise him or her opposite of what I had seen. What a terrible reason to want a child, but it was true. Instead, I needed to focus on raising a child to become a world-changer. This thought changed my heart. I HAD to forgive. I decided that day, I would forgive the wrongdoings. I would move forward with my life, and I did. I found a peace that day, unlike any other. I found freedom and healing. Forgiveness releases these things into your life. I tell you what, if you are holding on to any hurt, any pain—no matter the reason, forgive. I have the life I do now, because I forgave.

Shortly after, restoration came. The Lord restored everything the enemy had stolen from me, and then some. Today, I have two very healthy boys. God healed my body and gave me a double portion. He was faithful. By forgiving, I gave God full control over my life. My mother has become my very best friend and my brother has been drug-free for almost three years now. We are faithful friends. When I lifted my own hands off of my past, God launched me to my future. I want to encourage you today, to find forgiveness, release forgiveness, and gain restoration.

So this is why I live the perfect life I live now. I take a thousand pictures a day of my hilarious kids, because God gave them to me. They are precious and worth celebrating. I honor my husband publicly, because he loved me privately. I don’t complain about things, because he has brought me out of darkness. Our life is amazing, and I give God all the glory.

Do we go through storms? Absolutely. Have our hearts been broken? Yes, even recently with our first miscarriage. Does this change who God is to us? Never. His love never fails, and never gives up. His word changes not, and will never return void.

I will leave you with this:

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
-2 Corinthians 13:11

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Photo by gleesang via Flickr