My journey to where I am today would shock many of my friends. For a long time I had been able to push away memories of being verbally and sexually abused by my parents. I wore a mask of happiness so that no one would know the truth about my painful past. I had hidden it so well that my husband didn’t know until we had been married for almost a year. I was estranged from my parents for years and they were not a part of our children’s lives. So imagine my surprise when at age 42, my anger and emotions re-surfaced as I began to struggle with the idea of forgiving my parents. I had heard our pastor speak about forgiveness before, but on a Sunday in April, I felt a spotlight on me as he spoke about the importance of forgiving others. I didn’t understand why I should forgive them for all the pain they had caused me. I met with my pastor and reluctantly told him about my messy past. After all this time, I didn’t know how I was supposed to forgive my parents. We made a plan and I mailed my parents a letter explaining that I needed to forgive them so that I could move on with my life. I was fortunate enough to have a few close friends who loved me and helped me through the process of forgiving my parents and healing. What I learned in the process was that by forgiving them, I was able to move past me past and feel free from all the anger that I had. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse the person or the behavior, but allows us to move towards love.
As a victim of child abuse, I frequently questioned why God had allowed my parents to treat me as they did. I often thought about all the what if’s that could have happened along my life, and I am thankful for trusting God and allowing Him to lead me to my current path. I was able to step back and realize that I have persevered despite the physical and emotional pain I have experienced. The fact that I have turned out to be a well-educated, happily married mother of four amazing sons is proof that God had a purpose and a plan for my life.
When my father died just six months after I chose to forgive my parents, the images and memories from my past that I had repressed (but not forgotten) emerged, and I was no longer able to shake them off. I felt the memories and emotions boiling up inside of me and had no idea how I was going to handle all this alone. I turned to a Christian counselor for help and perspective. I had been estranged from my parents for years and was now responsible for caring for mother, who was a stroke victim. As an only child, I faced the financial decisions alone. I found myself looking to my Bible for truth and wisdom, and I came to believe more than ever that God has a purpose and a path for everyone, including myself.
My mother and I are now reconnected and she is part of my life again. I am thankful for the second chance that we have been given and although it’s still tough at times, I know that I am an example of His grace. I hope that my sons and others can see Jesus’ example in my actions.
I feel called to share my story so that others who are struggling with hurt, forgiveness, anger, self-doubt or their current life path will find the hope that I have encountered. I believe that He offers compassion in the midst of unjust situations and uses everyone and everything to display His wisdom. I hope I can do the same through my writing and speaking, because I know it was God who gave me the courage to get to where I am today, and I am glad I took the risk to trust Him.
We all have to start somewhere, and the good news is that we don’t need anything but our heavenly Father and His Word at work in our lives. The combination of God’s Word and our own experiences becomes our personal testimony to the rest of the world. I hope and pray that my story will demonstrate that we cannot be defeated by suffering if we depend on Christ.
Tracey is a passionate speaker and writer ready to shine a light for Jesus. She shines that light through encouraging words as a blogger, speaker, and writer to help others who may be suffering or doubting themselves on their current path in life. After a childhood with an alcoholic mother and abusive father, her love for the Lord helped rise above her past. She describes this in her book, “Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness After Child Abuse.” She is happily married and in the midst of raising four wonderful sons. Tracey has a background in Special Education, has taught History in public high school for eight years, and has been a missionary in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Learn more about Tracey and her book at her website www.traceycasciano.com, on her blog http://Ephesians2v8.wordpress.com, twitter @TraceyCasciano, and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TMCasciano/).
In July we will be doing an ongoing series – More Than A Conqueror Blogging Series
We are looking for writers to join us and share their stories.
Please watch the following video for more information and if you are interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org