"We're still married!"
This is what I said to hubby this morning when he wished me a happy anniversary. Yep, today is our 16th wedding anniversary and it is only by the grace of God that we are still married.
I know we wouldn't have a thing to celebrate today if we had not shared the gift of forgiveness with each other.
A few years ago while at church, a guest preacher challenged everyone to search their heart regarding forgiveness. He mentioned harboring unforgiveness breaks our fellowship with God. There is nothing worse in my book than hindering my relationship with God, so I searched my heart with great humility. No person came to mind except my husband who was at home. I can't remember what was going on between us, but we were definitely going through a serious storm. I don't even think we were speaking. I hate living in tension, but we are both stubborn people, so we were waiting on each other to make a move.
I remember driving home and crying so hard I could hardly see. I didn't want to ask for forgiveness or give forgiveness, but I needed to do both. I didn't think I had anything to ask for forgiveness about, but I had to suffocate Miss Flesh who was overflowing with pride and false holiness.
Hubby was in the bed when I got home, so I was relieved. Good, I don't have to do this tonight.
I then remembered the preacher said to forgive TONIGHT and not let another day pass. Sigh...
I mustered up some nerves, prayed, and walked into our bedroom and told hubby I had something to say. He answered in a way that let me know he wasn't asleep anyway.
Well, I told him what happened in church and how I felt the need to ask for forgiveness and to offer forgiveness for everything that has ever happened in our marriage - known and unknown acts. It was short and sweet and not as painful as I thought it would be and Hubby graciously accepted the unexpected gift of forgiveness.
Minutes later, hubby and the boys and I were in the kitchen talking and laughing like nothing ever happened. I promise you, not only was our marriage restored, but the entire family was restored - suddenly.
That night of forgiveness in our home was like a night of breaking down steel walls. Did we ever have to forgive again? Of course, but this night showed me the awesome power of forgiveness in a way I had never experienced. Not only did it free hubby, but it freed me - to live in peace. It also showed me how God can move mountains if I move my prideful, judgemental, selfish ways out of His way. Ouuuuch, that hurts!
Love really does conquer all and forgiveness is one of the greatest acts of love.