Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
TITLE: The Valley of Forgiveness
By Joan Scott
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At the age of sixteen I received an invitation for my two sisters and I to visit dad and go to a Christmas party. I thought “Why see him now?” We hadn’t seen each other for years. My boyfriend Roger agreed to accompany my sisters and I to the Christmas party.
The meeting with dad was strange. I hadn’t seen him since I was a little girl, and he acted as though we had just seen each other yesterday. When we got ready to leave his home he gave my sisters and I a hug and said we’d get together soon. It would be four years until I saw him again.
When I graduated from high school my dad showed up unexpectedly at my graduation party. There were no apologies given for the loss of time, no remorse for not seeing me. A flood of emotions surged within me. Where was he when I needed him? I felt cheated and outraged!
Before he left, he hugged me and said we would get together later. I was glad to see him leave! My heart was filled with bitterness and hatred toward him. I vowed I would never see him again.
Two months later I married Roger. I walked down the aisle without my dad on my arm. He was not invited to my wedding.
I remained angry and bitter toward dad for many years. Then God began to work deeply in my heart.
The Father’s love I desired came from God Himself. He poured in my heart love, forgiveness and compassion like I’d never experienced before. I was in the valley of forgiveness. The love I was hungering for all those years entered my soul.
Two years later God told me I needed to find my dad and ask his forgiveness. At first I rebelled against God’s urgings. My dad should ask me to forgive him. He was the one who neglected and rejected me! He didn’t love me and he hasn’t acknowledged that he has done anything wrong. So why should I forgive him?
Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven you! Do you want to be forgiven when you do wrong?” I said, “Yes Lord, I want to be forgiven!” He told me “Then you must forgive those who hurt you. This won’t be easy, however you can do it.”
In obedience to God’s urgings, I searched for dad’s phone number. It had been thirteen years since I saw him or talked with him. What would I say?
I found his number and called. I was so nervous and scared. Dad wasn’t there so I left a message to call his daughter Joan. I was shocked when he called me a day later.
As we talked my stomach became calm and I was excited to be talking with dad! For the first time in years I felt peace toward him. I was now able to do what seemed impossible before. I asked him to forgive me. We put the past behind us and started over.
A month later my family and I met my dad for dinner. Our seeing each other was awkward at first however the conversation began to just flow. We had a great time together.
That was a day of beginnings concerning dad and I. In a journal I gave him, I poured out my heart to him of how I missed him and looked forward to our relationship growing.
I have learned forgiveness can be tough, but worth whatever it will cost. Forgiveness has brought blessings into my life. I can’t change the past, however I can choose to forgive and look forward to the present. On the journey to forgiveness there are mountain highs and valley lows. I continue to grow as I walk through the valley of forgiveness.
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