We all have at least one person whose name or actions bring out the worst in us. We attempt again and again to forgive, yet find ourselves continually battling this repeated negative reaction to their presence in our lives. Certa author Dana Goodrum has walked this journey and found victory on the other side and gives us a peek into the process in this excerpt of her book Open with Your Broken:
My daughter is nine. She is a beautiful, amazing, brilliant, sassy creation of our King, and I am blessed to call myself her mom. Her dad has been non-existent most of her life after struggling with drug addiction since she was eight months old. I spent two years making a substantial effort to create some type of consistent, safe, and healthy relationship for them but after numerous broken promises, question-filled evenings, and a tear-streaked little girl, I stopped, and thus so did any type of relationship.
The simple thought of him filled me with rage. Over the next three years, I received random inebriated phone calls claiming sobriety or transformation, each one filled with more lies than the one before. I would spew the most hateful, venomous words that even I didn’t know I was capable of saying. I shook with anger and whatever forgiveness I had told myself I had given him since the last phone call was long gone. I would hang up the phone and every time feel defeated. Battle lost, he had won, and not her father, I knew it was the enemy. How do you forgive someone who continues to cause pain? Who is not even sorry? How do you forgive that?
Well, although I had thought I had given it to God before, I think I took it back quite a few times. This time I truly gave it to God; I was exhausted, overly consumed, and tired of being angry. I wanted to forgive Him because I didn’t want to carry it, not because I felt he deserved it. I am blessed to have a great Pastor friend who often helps me navigate through some of the tougher avenues of faith. I reached out to him through this struggle, and his advice through this battle was this… “Forgiveness is not always a one-time shot. There are going to be times that you may have to forgive and wake up tomorrow and forgive again.”
That was new to me. I guess I hadn’t really ever thought about forgiveness as a process but more as an action. I would love to get to a place where I can simply forgive, and it boom, be an action, done. It’s just this pasty stuff that covers my body. God calls it flesh, and yea, I struggle with it. So, still I was concerned and replied, “But what if I don’t even want to forgive him? I only know that I am supposed to forgive him.” And He said to me, “Then start praying to God to prepare your heart to want to forgive him. Baby steps, Dana, sometimes we have to get there through baby steps, and forgiveness is not exempt from that.” God is so merciful that He knows we are not, well Him. The desire in our hearts should be to reflect Him as closely as possible. God knows you aren’t going to be able to forgive every situation with as much ease as He forgives us when we seek it. If you desire a heart of forgiveness, you know God will transform that in you. It is within His will, that’s an easy one!
So, I started to talk to God about it in the most transparent conversation I think I’ve ever had. I was honest with my feelings, with my anger, with my fears. I knew God knew all of it, He had witnessed everything that had been done, but talking to Him about it was a different release for me. I asked Him to help prepare my heart, so I could eventually want to forgive her dad. Now, I am not going to tell you that I woke up the next morning and wanted to forgive him, because I didn’t. I had to continue praying for this preparation and it took quite a few months. Over time, I started gaining compassion for him, not justifying his actions, but I honestly started seeing her dad through the eyes of Jesus. I saw him as a lost son of Christ, and my anger turned to sadness.
Through the forgiveness process, the journaling, searching my soul, digging up stuff, and working on making a challenged offering a task with more ease, God was preparing my heart. He was conditioning it, helping me to understand in a very small way a sliver of the mercy we are given through Jesus and what He did for us on the Cross.
Do you want to hear more of Dana’s journey to forgiveness? We highly recommend her book, Open With Your Broken, in which she shares about her experiences with unplanned pregnancy, abusive relationships and a rocky childhood.
Dana Goodrum, a woman of God, published Christian author and bold public speaker, is ever boasting of God’s amazing transformation! After nearly a decade hiatus away from God, she is well versed in the trials, attacks, and tribulations associated with making peace with your past. In Open With Your Broken, she unveils a decade of difficulties, hardships, and struggle—and her eventual triumph over her past.
Open With Your Broken walks readers through a journey of transparency like never before! Unveiling the schemes of the enemy, while explaining how shame and guilt can keep you from fully achieving God’s purpose in your life, Dana Goodrum teaches readers awareness and effective strategies for victorious living.
Dana was recently featured on the 700 Club: