The Healing Power of Forgiveness

by Kim Howard
I was reading a few verses ahead in Romans during service last month, and when I saw Romans 12:20, it stilled my heart and mind. I felt convicted to share the impact this verse had on me during a very difficult time in my life. Before the service ended, Carlon encouraged us to share how the power of forgiveness transformed our lives. These two moments convicted me to share my testimony of the healing power of forgiveness.

In June of 2011, I was blissfully pregnant with twins after a difficult infertility journey. At the time, I believed infertility was the life struggle God used to draw me to Him. In truth, infertility was the training ground where I learned to trust God in all things. I was soon to learn what it means to struggle beyond my wildest imagination. At 13 weeks pregnant, I lost Baby B. Shortly thereafter, my husband (at the time), started an affair with a co-worker. A month later, he left me – informing me in an email.  

My world stopped spinning, I was unable to function on my own, and those closest to me had to remind me to breathe. I searched desperately for a ‘how-to’ manual to survive. My pastor’s wife encouraged me to post scripture all around me - in my work cubicle, inside desk drawers, on bathroom mirrors, etc.  I blasted K-love radio all day and night in my home, clinging to the truth that the Word of God will not return void. Five days a week, on my cubicle wall, I stared at the following verses multiple times throughout the day:  

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Romans 12:20

I lived in uncertainty for many months.  I was consumed by two things: (1) apprehension in delivering a baby by myself and (2) a fear of bitterness taking root. The two scriptures on my cubicle wall guided my thoughts and calmed my fears. As my thoughts spiraled out of control, I would pray these scriptures. As the communication with my estranged spouse became hard hearted and mean-spirited, I would pray these scriptures.  My actions, guided by Romans 12:20, were considered desperate attempts to win back my spouse by the world, but I was operating as I was led by the Holy Spirit.

Finally, God revealed a plan to me. I would temporarily move to Pennsylvania to be with my parents. At 30 weeks I made the move and immediately established care with a new doctor. At 32 weeks, I had an emergency C-section. The new doctor immediately noticed an irregular growth pattern and delivered a 2lb 5 oz. Cooper.  Cooper was diagnosed as IUGR- Intra Uterine Growth Restriction, combined with limited amniotic fluid. Without the early C-section there was almost complete certainty he would have been stillborn.  It wasn’t immediately obvious to me at first, but on one of the many drives to the NICU the Holy Spirit ministered to my soul, connecting the dots of why I was in PA.  

It would take an additional two years of intense therapy to truly reach a place of total forgiveness towards my ex-husband. Today, I think of him like you might think of that distant cousin you haven’t seen in 20 years. They hold a place in your memories, but not much emotion.  

The greatest blessing of all is that every prayer for family restoration was answered in ways unimaginable to me at the time. When I fully surrendered to God’s plan for our lives, Cooper and I were introduced to a wonderful widower who loved Jesus and had two kids of his own. Ultimately, we became The Howards and are living one big, beautiful, blended family life. God’s plan is so much greater than we could have dreamed up on our own.

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