Would you like to have more PEACE and JOY in 2022? God wants you to leave some things behind in 2021 so you can experience this peace, joy, and His healing and freedom. 

Crystal shares a testimony of how God set her free from unforgiveness and hurt in this last episode of 2021. 

Welcome back to Renewed and Redeemed, where we share stories of how God has renewed and redeemed everyday people’s lives. This is episode 17. 

 This is the last podcast episode of 2021. And when I was thinking about planning this one, I really wanted something upbeat and positive to kind of end the year off in a happy joyful manner

 But then I really felt like God was leading me in a different direction. Not that this is not joyful or happy because in a long-term way it is. But This is a very difficult topic, and It is one that I believe is filled with hope. But it also is something that maybe if you’re listening to this with your children, you might want to wait to listen to on your own, as it does touch on some sensitive topics. 

 I really want to focus, not so much on the story and exactly what happened and all that, but I really feel like that’s not as important as to what happened after and the journey that God brought me on. As a young child, I was sexually abused. Throughout my years those events were very traumatic, and the impact was very long lasting. And it didn’t just affect me, but it affected those around me. And affected my parents, having to walk through that with me and deal with that. It has affected my relationship with my husband. It also has affected my relationship with my children and how I parent. And I’m not saying that it’s all bad stuff, but some of it’s actually good, I think, but it has had an impact. 

For years when I was a child and even when I was an adult, I used to get physically sick whenever I heard about any kind of abuse or even thought about it, I would just feel so ill and. Just get really upset. 

I went to a counselor as a child and even as a young adult trying to work through this issue. And I can’t say that I think it really had a lot of profound impact for me because I don’t think I was ready at the time to really deal with it head-on. I just was trying to, I think, deal with all of the affects that it had on me. And not really dealing with the root. Just dealing with all of the things that were like spinning out of control in my life that a lot of times I think rooted in the abuse. 

Throughout my entire life, since this whole situation happened, I’ve been thinking about, and people encouraging me to forgive and, I think that in my mind, I always like, oh yeah, I know. I forgive this person. 

Oh, no, I forgive them, but I think it was just kind of like I was not dealing with it forgiveness. Like I’m not gonna deal with it. Forgiveness. But deep down, it was still really impacting me and I really hadn’t forgiven. It really wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood the amount that I had been forgiven by Jesus. 

And as a result, the amount that I needed to forgive. 

It wasn’t until I began to grasp even a little bit about how much I was loved by God, despite my sin. That I realized that God also loved the person that did this to me, despite their sin. And that I needed to understand that God loves them. Just like, He loved me, despite all of my misgivings, all of my failings, all of my sin. He loved that person. 

And I knew that I really had to in a deep way, really forgive. And really let go. And I can’t say that this was like a one-time I prayed a special prayer and all of a sudden it was like all forgiven and I was completely better. It’s been a process and it’s been a difficult road, honestly. I had to pray over and over again. I’ve had to pray. 

And it’s like a continuous prayer have help me forgive this person. I feel like now I’ve actually come to the place where I have actually forgiven the person and I feel so much freedom. And 

So much healing from that. And I believe that that was just something that happened over time of God walking through this with me and me continuously asking to forgive this person. 

It wasn’t really until one time when someone from a church I was going to was kind of bashing a new list that came out of sex offenders. 

And they were just saying how disgusting they were and just totally going off about how horrible these people were. And it was the strangest thing because. Like this anger, rose up inside of me. And I got really upset. And not at the sex offenders. I got mad at this person at the church. 

Like, how could they! Because God loves those people and they’re just pouring more shame and guilt. And all the stuff on these sex offenders. And yeah, I mean, What they did is not right. But God still loves those people and Jesus still died for those people and He will forgive them. If they ask for his forgiveness and if they turn away from their sin, 

And I just realized that instead of just bashing these people and just helping them dig their holes deeper and into all of the things that brought them to that place, where they even did those things, because we know that hurt people, hurt people. Right. And most likely something had happened to them that caused them to do the acts that they did. 

But that God wanted to save them. He wanted to heal them. He wanted to set them free. And who were we? To put all that judgment and just to bury them deeper. And I just, I was so overwhelmed with this. I was crying. Just. Tears of sadness for these people. Now did I want to go out and have coffee with each one of them and invite them into my home? 

No. 

But I did want to not just pour more hate on them. I had a compassion for them, and I know that the only way that that was even possible. Was because of God and what He had done in my own life. 

And then there was another time that it was at a later date and I feel like this was kind of like one of the final things that really kind of sealed the deal that I knew that I had forgiven, not only this person, but also, I don’t think I even realized that I was kind of upset at God for allowing this to happen. But I was just driving in my car, not thinking about the situation or anything to do with this. I was worshiping. 

And all of a sudden, I had a picture of one of the situations with this person and it was very vivid and I was just driving. It was like, I dunno, it was just so strange why it popped in my head. And I was just saw Jesus standing there and I saw this person kind of coming towards me and all of a sudden, Jesus just stepped in front of me, like to block this person to protect me. I had to pull over. Y’all I had to pull over into the parking lot and I was just balling. 

And you know, all this time, I thought to myself, I kind of felt like maybe God abandoned me in that situation. But it was so vivid that He was there the whole time. And I still don’t know why, you know, This thing happened and why He didn’t step in front of more times that the situation was going on. But I do know that He never left me. He never abandoned me in that situation, and He didn’t create puppets. People have free will and they do bad things because we live in a fallen world. 

But He was there with me. He didn’t leave me. And I fully believe that if He wasn’t there and didn’t step in front of me at different times, I just saw the one-time. That things could have been a lot worse. But He did love me and protect me through a lot of that. 

 I just felt so much love from Him. And I know that He loves them also. And through this whole thing, He’s really set me free. And I think there’s some things that are still maybe a little bit of lasting impact because they’ve become habit that I don’t even realize just from walking in this for so long. Slowly He peels back these layers and I see more and more things that He needs to heal. 

I think just keeping an open heart and allowing Him to mold me like clay, allows Him to do that more and more. But through this whole situation. I know that I’ve gained some good things. I’ve gained. Compassion. Not only for people that have been victims of this, but for people that are the victimizers. 

And just for people going through other hard times. I also have so much hope because I know God has healed me from so much from going through this. And just the freedom that He’s given me. Through walking through this with Him. Wow. I just want others to experience it. He’s given me strength. 

That, when times were just so hard, I knew. I could push through it because He was there with me and I have. I have faith. I know He heals. I know He wants to heal. I know that He wants us to be set free. And really, I felt like this was what He was telling me. Why He wanted me to share this message. 

On the last episode of this podcast for the year 2021. Friends. He wants you to leave behind all of that hurt. And the unforgiveness and bitterness. He wants you to leave it behind in 2021. He doesn’t want you bringing it into 2022. And today He is inviting you. 

On a journey with Him, let Him heal. You. Let Him help you forgive. He’s not asking you to do it all yourself. It’s not possible. But if you just take that first step and say, I surrender this to you, Lord. I’m giving this to you. I don’t want to be bitter anymore. I don’t want to be hurt anymore. I don’t want to be a victim anymore. I don’t want to be bound by this anymore. 

I’m giving it to you and I’m leaving it behind. Lord help me. 

Help me forgive that person. Help me have your love for that person. 

Help me love others. God. Not put. Barriers up in my heart. Help me break down those walls. 

Help me see where you were in the situation. Cause I know you were there. God. He wants to do that for you today. I felt like that was the invitation that He wanted me to extend to you. Leave behind. The hurt. The anger, the bitterness. In 2021 and enter. 2022. With peace. With joy. 

 Every year, at the end of the year, I always ask God, what verse do you have for me for this upcoming year? I felt like this year, He gave me the word peace. And Isaiah 55. And I just want to read that right now. 

Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink. Even if you have no money. Come take your choice of wine or milk. It’s all free. Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest foods. 

Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen and, you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promise to David. See how I use him to display my power among the peoples. I made him a leader among the nations. You also will command nations you do not know. And people’s unknown to you. will come running to obey because I, the Lord, your God, the Holy one of Israel have made you glorious. Seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near. Let the wicked changed their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that He may have mercy on them. 

Yes, turn to our God for He will forgive, generously. My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts says the Lord and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth. So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts, the rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow producing the seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 

 It is the same with my word. I will send it out and it always produces fruit. I will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper, everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and Hills will burst into song and the trees of the field will clap their hands. 

Where once there were thorns, Cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout. These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name. They will be an everlasting sign of His power and His love. Amen

God, I thank you. You are so faithful. 

You are there with help in the time of need. You’re close to the broken hearted. God. You heal us God. And you protect us and your ways are higher than ours and we can’t comprehend them. But we can have faith and trust you still. 

God, I ask you that anyone that’s listening today that has something in their life that needs healing that needs your touch. God. That needs help in forgiving someone, God, that you will just be close to them. 

That they will just call out to you today. God. And they will leave this behind. They will leave it at your feet. And that you will strengthen them and that you’ll guide them. And you will lead them, and you will love them. You’ll bring them peace. And joy. And freedom. 

God, I just thank you that all we have to do is submit it to you and walk in obedience to you and your word. 

We don’t have to do this on our own. You are with us. Emmanuel God is with us. 

God, I ask that you give the listeners boldness. 

And the strength to do the things that you’re calling them to do. 

I ask that you break down any walls that have been built up around their heart. 

I ask that they experience your freedom. They taste your goodness. Today God. We praise you. We thank you. Amen. 

Toby: Thank you for joining us today and please consider subscribing to our podcast and sharing with your friends.  For more information on Renewed and Redeemed and to check out our Bible study, blog, and shop, please visit us at www.renew-redeem.com. We’d love to hear from you if you need prayer, have a question, would like to share a testimony or give your life to Jesus.