Living in the Light of Forgiveness

Thank you for joining me here in my little corner of the world. I want to welcome those of you hopping over from today’s P31 Devotion where my friend Donna shared her story of forgiving her father’s abusive behaviors. Today, I asked Donna to share more with us.


I strained on my tip toes to peek through the curtains.  Fear and panic gripped me as I watched the car go round and round.  Spinning through one ditch then raging across the street, throwing dust and rocks into the air and barely missing a row of mail boxes. And finally, coming to a complete sudden stop as smoke billowed from the engine.

What started as a simple late night chore the night before ended in the chaos of Dad jumping in the front seat of Mom’s car the next afternoon and literally driving it to its’ death.

The night before mom had taken a late night trip to the laundry mat in my dad’s car. On our return trip home, my dad’s car overheated.  Mom had no way of getting in touch with my him so she kept driving – it was late and she was alone with her three little girls.

He was furious about the damage to his car, so the next day He sought revenge by ‘doing donuts’ in the ditches alongside our country home until Mom’s car died.

This was one of many explosions. But it was the one that sent my mom over the edge and led her to pack up and leave. A few days later, after Mom had sold all our furniture, we loaded onto a gigantic gray bus that took us to my uncle’s house. A few weeks later we moved in with my Granny.

The next forty plus years, my Dad walked in and out of my life just as he drove the car in and out of the ditches that afternoon so many years ago.  Broken promises.  Broken hearts.  Broken dreams. Broken girls. Broken family.  And yes, still a broken car.

Recently, my Dad was kicked out of his nursing home for the third time for his temper and was admitted to a mental hospital. I sent an email to my friend Stephanie asking her to pray. Her reply, “…have you forgiven your dad…just wondering…wanted to make sure you were set free from that before things may get even worse with him.”

As I processed her question, I was flooded with emotions and memories of the car spinning uncontrollably in the ditches so many years ago, but God also instantly flooded my heart with His words from Matthew 18: 21-22, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.

I was able to respond with a “YES”!  I had processed past hurts several months ago with Dad and intentionally went to see him after 15 years of absence.  As God walked me through the visit, He made it perfectly clear that I could not change Dad, I could not change my past BUT I did not have to let my past define me.

In her book, A Confident Heart, Renee shares her powerful journey of forgiveness and says this:“Confidence came as I followed God’s command to seek and offer forgiveness.” Her story has helped me see that it’s possible to forgive and worth the redemption God promises when we do. As I have sought to follow God’s command to seek and offer forgiveness, He has filled me with His confidence to make hard choices – the choice to accept Dad – the choice to pray for Dad – the choice to forgive Dad – the choice to live in God’s confident hope.

I wish I could tell you that it was a one-time act of forgiveness like the one we’ve received from Jesus; but it wasn’t.  It’s not. Forgiveness happens as current or past events surface. The key for me is to continue the forgiving – continue with the seventy times seven – to continue the circle God started so that He will complete it: “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in {me} will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6).

 Lord, thank You for Your gift of forgiveness.  Please help me to forgive those who have hurt me –just as you have forgiven me – especially when the memories of the past come flooding in.   Help me keep no record of wrongs.  Thank You for filling me with Your confidence.  Thank you for freeing me from my past and my pain and not allowing them to define me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Won’t you join me in living a life of freedom – freedom from your past – freedom from your hurts – freedom from your fears?


Today Donna and I wanted to share a “Living in the Light Giveaway” which includes a Willow Tree “Angel of Hope,” a Fall Yankee Candle and 3 signed copies of my book, A Confident Heart.

To enter to win, simply sharing your thoughts with us about Donna’s devotion or blog post here – or simply let us know how we can pray for YOU as you process Donna’s stories and God’s truths about forgiveness in your life.

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. Wow! I have no other words to say. I was blessed by the devotional and your blog. As with everything in life, forgiveness is a process.

    • Yes it is. It took me about 40 years to even think about it and now it’s a daily process for me. So blessed that God does not give up on me and that HE forgives us.

      • Thank you for sharing the power of forgiveness that is on going for me. I long to trust Him who is the Ultimate Forgiver I long to be more like. He only knows the outcome.

  2. Really appreciated this post today; it enabled me to truly check whether or not I have kept a “record of wrongs” and what forgiveness looks like going forward. Thank you Donna. I can only imagine how good your book is from this one post.

    • The best $15.00 I ever spent!! It will change your heart and your life. You will walk away a better person because of the message that God has given Renee to share with us. I know … God used Renee’s words to change my heart!

      • And if you don’t have $15, you can check it out from your local library. That’s what I did. I was so blessed I recommended it to my ladies bible study group. Now they are doing it together as a book study . The sad part is I’ve moved away, so they’re doing it without me. Nevertheless we’re all blessed!

  3. Thank you for this devotional. You motivated me to try to memorise this text this week: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

  4. Amanda Sligh says:

    Thank you for this. I have recently forgiven someone very close to me. Then it happened again. This reminds me that I will need to continually forgive them. Thank you again I truly needed to be reminded what forgiveness is. God Bless.

  5. Janet Axelson says:

    Completely understand your heart….I’ve been in this process for years, and acceptance of the past, and making the choice to trust God is the only way to let go of the past. How exciting that God will be the father you never had. Blessings, Janet

  6. I really appreciated your devotional and blog today. I love to hear others testimony of overcoming the hurts of their past. I believe I have forgiven the men in my past but I really struggle with giving 100% of myself to my husband and living in the joy of the Lord. Please pray for me to truely trust in the Lord. I am not sure why I struggle with this so much because God is always so good to me but I do. Thank you!

    • Lord, empty Melanie of herself and fill her to the brim with yourself. Fill her so full that she overflows into the lives of others – especially her husband. Give her your eyes and your heart to see her husband through. Restore the joy of your salvation to Melanie. Give her the strength and the boldness to obey you and to release your past hurts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  7. Thank you for the devotion on “Living in the Light.” I have struggled all of my life with my feelings for my dad. He was a good provider but he still did things that weren’t right. Because of that, I don’t want to ever be around him and I have struggled on how to really forgive him. Your devotion has given me hope and guidance. Thank you so much. May God bless you always in your ministry.

    • Lord, please walk with Robin as she learns to forgive her Dad as you forgive her. Open her heart to her dad and replace those feelings of untrust with love not only for her Dad but also for you. Guide and direct her as she seeks to forgive. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  8. Came over from today’s P31 devo. What a powerful testimony! Thank you for allowing God to use your past for His glory and to encourage others like me. It is so true that forgiveness is a continual process, not a one-time event. If you can forgive your father, I certainly can forgive the petty hurts in my life and accept others the way they are, too.

  9. The scripture to forgive seventy x was a great reminder. I’m in a place now where I’ve been hurt & trying to forgive and your story has helped.

  10. Thank you for the reminder to choose to keep forgiving moment by moment. I struggle with forgiving my own father as well.

  11. What a gift sharing your journey is to me and to others. Thank you for your transparency and for your courage. The Lord is using this, your pain, to bring His healing not only to you, but to me and other wounded ones. Thank you.

  12. Thank you for your encouragement to forgive. I have to forgive someone close to me for a lot of hurts. I have truly felt God’s peace and healing as I “let go” and let God do what needs to be done in that person’s life, instead of me wasting emotional energy on trying to fix the situation. God is my Hope and the example of a true “forgiver”!

    • Praying that God will fill you with His courage and His love and His forgiveness. It’s a tough process and one that I go through daily. Lean into Him and He will strengthen you and encourage you to forgive those who have hurt you.

  13. I too have done things that I know I should’t have, and have had to realize that althought the person I hurt (my husband) may not forgive me, I do have a father that is faithful to forgive no matter how bad I have been or what I have done. This really is helping me now as I struggle with possibly another divorce which would be number 4 and how to forgive myself for making such stupid choices and causing another failure in my life. Thank goodness Jesus loves me and forgives.

    • Lord, surround Donna with your presence. Fill her with a heart of forgiveness and transform her heart into a heart of confidence – a heart that contains only labels that you assign us like – chosen, loved, daughter of the King, royal priesthood, child of God. Take those negative labels and replace them with your love and your truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. My husband just left my four kids and I, with no explanation to why…we were married 18 years. I think your book would bless me.

    • Praying for God to come alongside you and your kids and surround you with His presence and His peace as you embark on this new leg of your journey. Praying for God to reveal Himself to you in new and exciting ways such as your Provider and Your Husband.

      • Thank you. I know God loves me, but I think I really need help remembering all His promises. Everything is so scary right now. I am afraid how this nasty experience will affect my 4 daughters. This is so NOT the way I thought life would be. 🙁

  15. Thank you for this timely encoursgement. It was what I needed to hear today as I have been processing Daddy hurts lately too. The yelling, the never good enough, the comments that you are stupid, the angry disapproving looks, the critical pickiness, the physical abuse, the mom that did not know her self worth enough to do anything sbout the situation. Those wounds run deep but Gods faithfulness and his truth never ceases. They are just as you said sometimes harder to believe on certsin days. But BELIEVE we csn throug His power May God bless your ministry. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but the powrs of darkness…ladies, walk in the glorious light! We ARE daughters of the King.

    • Praying for you as you process your Daddy hurts. Praying that God will walk you through them and comfort you and fill you with His love.

      And YES, praising Him that WE are his daughters!!

  16. Julielynn says:

    I too had an abusive father. He was handsome and tall…and so wonderful in front of other people. When we got home, he became a different person. He flew into rages. Once threw my dog and she landed in a heap. She did not die, but to my nine year old eyes, the picture plays and plays. We, my little brother and I lived on the tiny scraps of kindness he threw our way every once in a while. We worshipped him and feared him.
    He disappointed us again and again. My parents divorced when I was 12. I remember my little brother looking out the window with his suitcase in his hand for a father who never came. He was just a little guy, maybe, six, or so…he later threw up from anxiety, or grief. Promises broken.
    He did not walk me down the aisle at my wedding. We barely ever saw him again.
    So what do I do…I married a man exactly like him. Now I watch my sons, waiting for their father on his custody days…with fear in my heart.
    Forgiveness?…a process ongoing

    • So sorry that you had to experience abuse in your life too – both with your Dad and your Husband. Praying for God to come alongside you and help you and lead you with this whole forgiveness thing. It’s tough …. especially when you see the person that hurt you so badly on a regular basis.

      Praying for God to give you the strength to lay it at the cross and leave it there. Praying that God will protect you and your heart from bitterness. And yes … forgiveness is an ongoing process.

    • Father God, may Julielynn remember as a daughter of the King of Kings, as a believer in the finished work of Christ on the cross on her behalf, that “He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

  17. Tears are still streaming as I read this devotion. This could be my story, my life. It is an instant replay back in time as I watched the verbal, physical and emotional abuse that my father dealt us daily. Until broken and shattered my mother left. I loved my Daddy with all my heart, I miss him still. He was never there, he chooses drinking and prescription pain pills over his family. He would promise to come, call, and write you name it. I have the ONE letter that he sent the whole time he was gone. He is sick, I know, but I cannot understand why?? He showed up at my brother’s wedding and caused a horrible scene, when it was my time to get married, I choose to elope to keep the same scene from happening. I don’t know how to get over the hurt. I don’t know how to forgive. I say that I have, but have I truly? He has wonderful, sweet grandchildren that he chooses not to know. How can I subject them to him? How can I continue to put my heart on the line? I know that God is my father, but times, I would like to have one on Earth as well that would have held me and told me that he loved me.

    • Karissa, my heart aches and my eyes tear up for you. Would love to pray for you.


      I praise you and I thank you for Karissa. I thank you for how you have used my story to touch her heart. I would ask that you would walk alongside Karissa holding her hand and directing her heart to let go of the hurt and the pain. Direct her thoughts and direct her heart to begin the process of forgiveness. Loosen those chains and free her from the pain and the past hurt. Show her how to escape her pains of the past and how not to let her past and her pain define who she is. Reveal to her that she is loved unconditionally by you – her Abba Father that can love her like no other. Free the chains of bondage and show her how to walk away and practice forgiveness. Show her how to forgive. Show her how to love those that have hurt her through your eyes. Fill her with your peace and a love for you that is so strong. Let her fully understand that You have chosen her, your have redeemed her, that you love her and that she can forgive others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

    • 20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

      22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

      These verses are from Matthew. Jesus healed this women based on her faith!!! He also tells us that the faith of a mustard seed is all we need!!! I pray for Jesus’ healing for you!!! This verse has been a rock in my life. I too have many past hurts that harm the present. The process of forgiveness is a long road and can be lonely but Jesus’ healing is worth every step!!!

  18. Dawn Shpudejko says:

    This devotional was great. It really touched my heart! I too have a hard time with forgivenree. My brother, my only sibling, has hurt me emotionally so much this past year. We were once very close and now we haven’t talked in a years needed to be reminded that forgiveness is a continual process, ongoing for the rest of our lives.

  19. Wow. Thank you so much for such an honest, transparent devotion. For a moment, I thought you were telling my story. I have had an ongoing battle with forgiveness for my father my entire adult life. My mother passed away last year and her death resurrected many emotions toward my father that I thought I had overcome. Thank you for the reminder that forgiveness is a constant battle. Until I reconcile my feeling toward my earthly father, I will not be able to have a healthy understanding of my heavenly Father. I have been pondering reading your book for weeks now. I think this is definitely what my soul needs.

    • A Confident Heart was heart changing – life changing – attitude changing – perspective changing. It was through Renee’s words that God directed me to forgiving my father. And it’s still a work in progress for me. Praying for you.

  20. Thank you, for the devotion and this blog post. At 50+ years old, I am now beginning to realize that I will never be enough for my family. I want to work on accepting myself the way that God made me and to accept the fact that I will never measure up to my sister. I have been a Christian all my life and never once did I ever think to pray about this. Thank you for opening my heart.

  21. Donna, Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry you had to live a life with so much fear, betrayal, abandonment and feeling unloved. I had the same experience growing up and still struggle with the fear, abandonment, and being unworthy. I have forgiven him many, many times for the damage he has done to my life and will continue to forgive him.

    I know I am the daughter of the King of Kings and am loved unconditionally by my Heavenly Father. I am still trying to stop blocking the joy that I know God is trying to give me. I guess I just don’t feel I deserve it. Will continue to try to receive.

    Renee, thank you for writing for P31.

    • Jodie, you deserve because God tells you that you deserve to be loved! And you are loved….you are worthy…. you are chosen by a GOD who loves you like crazy! Beyond measure and beyond belief. Take the verse found at the top of the devotion on the P31 site and claim it as your own! Because it is! He wrote it specifically for you …. for me … and for so many more! Take it, claim it and live it!

      Praying for you!

      • But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) Claim this verse as your very own verse!!

  22. Blessed by this message today, as I work on forgiving my family daily. My father died years ago, and although I thought I forgave him the abuses and neglect, find that I still live many of the hurts from that past. This hurt and distrust has moved me to hurt my daughter tremendously as I tried to protect my grandsons from similiar abuses. Now I find also need the forgiveness and hope to rebuild that precious relationship. The thought of choosing to trust God in this had not occurred to me, though I trust Him in so many other areas. Thank you for your sincerity and openness.

  23. Angie Mills says:

    Wow!! This devotion really hit home with me this morning as I’m struggling with this very same issue….forgiving my dad! As Donna’s friend asked her the question, how would you feel if you dad died today, I had a friend ask me this very same question yesterday and I honestly don’t know how I would feel! I know God has been talking to me about forgiving my dad, especially this week, but it’s so hard. Just like Donna’s devotion started with words like Fearful, Betrayed, etc…my words are Rejection, Competition (I’ve always felt like I’ve had to compete for my Daddy’s love), and Unwanted. Please keep me in your prayers as I go through this journey of forgiveness with my Daddy!

  24. Thank you for sharing your story. I have recently reunited with my father, who has not in anyway been involved in my life for the greater part of 30 years. My dad’s neice contacted me on facebook and pleaded for him asking me to call him. I went into the call with absolutely no expectations of a relationship of any kind. God works in mysterious ways, and we have since began to build a relationship. My father was never abusive, only absent. I have always wondered how it would feel to have him in my life. I am learning slowly more about the situation as it was so many years ago when he and my mother decided to go their own ways. I have decided to leave the past in the past and pray that the future will allow us the time to get to know one another. Sometimes I do find myself thinking about the past and asking “why?”, but your story and guidance in the word will help me continue on this new journey with my dad. Thank you again.

    • Praying for you Candi as God leads you to restoration with your Dad. Rejoicing and praising God for the work that He is doing in your life and your Dad’s. Praying as you move forward one step at a time.

  25. I want to thank you and Donna for sharing your story about forgiving in the devotional Living in the Light of Forgiveness. I have struggled for over 15 years with my feeling for my dad. I have also felt abandoned, fearful, betrayed, and unwanted by my father’s actions and words. I have forgiven him but have not being able to let go of the past and hurt. Please pray for me that I will truly trust in the Lord and learn how to truly forgive and let go of the past. I do not to keep making my past define who I am or my kids.

    • Father God, empower and strengthen Jajaida to forgive her father. Replace those feelings of abandonment, fear, betrayal and unwanted with your amazing love and peace. Fill Jajaida up with your compassion as she she’s her dad and help her to trust again. In Jesus name. Amen.

  26. Wow – how powerful! I am really searching in God’s Word to find reassurance that I am worthy to receive God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. I grew up in a family where my mom was in control and manipulated my dad to always get her way. There were five children – and we were cared for, but the hugs were very scarce and the words, “I love you” rarely spoken. Unfortunately, I brought those same behaviors into my own marriage. Now after 22 years of marriage and only weeks after walking our oldest daughter down the aisle, I found out that my husband was having an affair. God used this devastating realization to show me that love, acceptance and forgiveness are verbs that I need to learn to show my husband and our children every day. While my husband and I have sought counsel from our pastor and made the choice to stay together and put God first in our marriage and lives, we still have a long way to go. I am trying each day to seek God’s will for our lives. I know we have a long road ahead of us. So we both could use prayers for our journey to learn how to love and commit to God and each other.

    • Paula,

      Not sure if you have a copy of A Confident Heart or not …. and if you don’t, I would recommend that you get one. Chapter 12 is loaded with God’s promises and His word that will answer all of your questions about worthiness, God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. Look up John 3: 16-17; Isaiah 43:4; 2 Corinthians 2:14.

      You are a Daughter of the King. He has chosen you. He has redeemed you and He loves you with an everlasting and unfailing love!

      Praying for you.

  27. This really spoke to me. I was abandoned by both my mom and dad at different times in my life. Thank God for a loving step-mom that stuck by me through the emotional turmoil. I struggled with addiction for many years but have since been sober for about 15 years. I still have not been able to move out of the shadows cast by my parents but I’m trying to get there. I have two wonderful children but I’m on my third marriage that is not doing so well right now. I don’t want to blame my parents but I did not have very good role models when it comes to maintains relationships. Please just pray for me in any area you see fit. I could use it.

  28. As I was reading my daily devotions in my email from Proverbs 31 Ministries today,God certainly had me where He wanted me this morning! (Thank you Jesus, for using Donna’s story here to pierce my heart and show me I have unforgiveness still pooling around in my Heart!!)
    Thank you Donna for sharing a part of your life with us all!! The Lord doesn’t waste anything! And He certainly used your story to help me realize I have still much forgiving to do with people in my life who have hurt me deeply and still do daily. The scripture you posted in Matthew 18:21-22 I have preached many a time to my children throughout their lives and I realize I need to practice more what I preach!! Geesh Denise!! 🙂
    The sharing of your life has touched me deeply today and refreshed me to Forgive as Christ calls us to Forgive, and that He Forgives me a sinner!!


    • Denise G,

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. So blessed that God can use my mixed up life to draw others closer to Him. It’s Him doing all the work and I praise Him and thank Him for that!


  29. Thanks for this giveaway – it makes me feel peaceful just looking at it! While my father wasn’t physically abusive, he was harsh and blunt with high expectations. He was hard to please and only when he was older did he show any soft side to his personality. Beside him, there are others in my life that I need to forgive and not allow to keep my from the best relationship I can have with God and His children. Amen!

  30. Thank you for sharing. I have been dealing with these same feelings only with my mother and am still struggling even though my mother passed away 15 years ago. God bless you.

  31. Kate Semer says:

    Thank you for this message, the continuing to forgive part is helpful to me. It seems we can initially forgive something but when those bad memories surface it is still too easy to get upset, angry, resentful all over again, forgive again and again, makes sense.

  32. As I read today’s devotional it felt like you were reading my heart and my biography. I too grew up with an alcoholic abusive father. I felt all of those things described and still struggle with those feelings everyday of my life. My dad, after becoming incarcerated for the sixth time, remained sober for 2 years. Six mos ago he started drinking again. Last weekend he chose to remind me how much he hated me and how awful he thinks I am. I have been struggling daily with those lies about my character and how and why my earthly father hates me, his own daughter. For years I blamed myself. I thought that there must be something wrong with me. Why else would so many people choose to hurt me? The more I grew in my faith I realized they are lost and broken ? I thought once I had forgiven them and chose to pray for them I would be released from my past for good but then last weekend the old anger and hurt came back. I questioned myself. Had I really forgiven him? Have I really been transformed by the Holy Spirit? Your devotional was Gods way of reminding me I am His beloved child and this is an ongoing process. I am continuing to heal, to grow, to become the woman God created me to be! Thank you! I am so blessed by your words! Many blessings to you for sharing! I know your book will be another piece of the healing puzzle in my life!

    • Praising God that He is working in and through you! And yep, we are all a work in progress as we journey to center of His heart. Thanking God for you and your amazing story. Praising Him for His redemption!

  33. I loved the devotion today. I have many hurts from the past too and it helped me remember that forgiveness is constant and not just one time. I might go days or even months and then it all resurfaces. My dad passed away 8 years ago and I struggle with the fact I can’t communicate with him, but maybe it is better that way and I am still working on forgiveness every day. Thanks again for sharing!

  34. I was moved by Donna’s story! Oh, sweet Donna, God is really good, isn’t He? I too have an “absentee” father. Mine basically made a choice to not be a father and was never in my life. I have no memory of him. But, I found out last Christmas that he had died back in 2005. He had lived a life of crime after he and my mom divorced, having been in and out of prison for both armed robbery and murder. I could not believe that man was my father! But, armed with this information, I chose to forgive and forget. I was fortunate enough to be raised by an amazing mother and grandparents. My mother remarried when I was 7 years old, and my stepfather’s family immediately accepted me as their own! I’m happy to report that my mother and stepfather have been married 29 years! Yes, God is so good! May he continue to bless you, Donna!

  35. Thank you for this devotional today and Donna for sharing how you are walking with God and your message of forgiveness.

  36. ” Forgiveness happens as current or past events surface. The key for me is to continue the forgiving – continue with the seventy times seven – to continue the circle God started so that He will complete it…” This is such a true statement! I have walked a path in the last few years that has allowed me to forgive my dad for things I thought he didn’t do while growing up. As I reflect back I see how my love toward him has changed as I serve him in his declining health. Serving someone changes the heart from one of ‘being obedient and doing a duty’ to one of ‘doing this because I love you and care about you’. Thank you.

  37. thank you again for the reminder that forgiveness is a process and not a one-time deal in many cases. God is allowing circumstances in my life that trigger those old feelings and as they emerge, I can bring the hurts to Him, pour my heart out, knowing when I call, He answers. It does take years in mnay cases to forgive those we should have been able to trust. The enemy does not want us to live in the light of God’s truth. Please pray as I continue to process the pain of my past and walk through the valley of the shadow of death, that I will remember whose I am. I praise my God and He says I belong to Him, His delight is in me. It’s a difficult journey from this prison to release. But I keep holding on to the hand of the One who created me to enjoy His beauty and to embrace this life, with all it’s trials and sorrows. I am my beloved and He is mine, His banner over me is love. He is love. His Spirit lives in me to guide me to all truth and that truth is given to me to set me free. I long to be free. Thank you.

  38. Thank you for this portion of your blog. As i read it, I was reminded almost immediately of someone who I needed to forgive-my mother, I did not have a bad childhood, in fact my parents raised me together and I rarely heard them disagree. I thought their marriage would last forever. When I was 15, they had another child, a little boy. You can imagine some adjustments there, but we fared well. Right before the beginning of my brother’s freshman year in high school my mother decided to leave my father. Now I know this occurs a lot in this society, but my dad had been ill and had just gotten out of the hospital when she left. not only did she leave my brother but my sick father, as well as, me and her granddaughter (whom she took care of during the day while I worked to support my daughter). If this was not bad enough she left my father for his nephew…..someone whom my father invited into his home and gave him a place to stay when everyone else turned their heads. He gave this man a ride to work and assisted him with fixing his car…….and the sad thing about this is that I am the one who discovered the affair! It turned my life into a spiral trying to understand why this happened…..FORGIVENESS is something I have struggled with for the past five years or so, I know it is the right thing to do and that God tells us to, but I felt as though if I forgive her its like saying what she did was ok. As of late, I have asked God to show me how I can forgive her. He has answered by song, example, and your blog. While I am not perfect, I know that in order for me to be able to heal and move on, i must forgive her as God forgave me. I am thankful that God lead me to this blog and thankful for your testimony. I am sure that God has used it to help others as He has for me. May God continue to bless you!!!!! Thanks!!!!

    • Praying for you Rita. Praying God will show you and lead you in your journey of forgiveness. Praying God goes before you and directs your heart as he transforms it into a heart like His.

  39. Good morning. Thank you Donna for sharing your story and reminding us in your devotion that sometimes forgiving is not a one-time thing, but a daily 24/7 thing. I can’t recall ever hearing that before and it comforts me to know that it’s okay if I have to continually forgive. The devil likes to whisper lies telling me I must have not really forgave if I’m doing it again. Those lies lead to lack of self-esteem and confidence and then doubt slips in. I would love to win Renee’s book. Thank you again, for opening yourself up…it encouraged me.
    Renee, I do not know why, but I have had you on my mind all week. I even dreamed about you night before last. I am praying for you!

    Love and blessings to you both!!!!!

    • Thank you Tammy. That means so much to me that you’re praying for me. My family and I are in a pretty challenging season at home and stretching season in ministry. I love that God has me on your heart. The best gift of all is prayer and words of encouragement. SO thank you for both!!

  40. About two years ago, I drove ten hours to see my dad whom I had not seen in quite a while. Similarly to your story, I had a very tumultous past filled with trauma, abuse, abandonment, pain, and shame. As I drove to see him, I felt God leading me and alongside me on that trip of forgiveness. At the time I laid down all of that pain. For about six months, I was doing great, accepting my dad for who he was and who he was not. I began letting go of all things past and present…and even my future wishes that may never come true. But somewhere in the midst of this healing/forgiveness process, I reverted back to my shame and pain, a stone wall rose up so high he could never penetrate it, and I replaced my clean heart with a hardened heart. My father’s addictions, blame games, and selfishness has been steadfast and constant; in great contrast to my ability to love and forgive him. Instead of keeping my eyes focused on how big my God is, once again I started looking and feeling down. I know that my Lord Jesus Christ is the Father to the Fatherless, and I do feel Him with me. His heart, I know, must be breaking because He wants me to live a life of freedom and of abundant joy, to rest in Him. But, it is I that is so weak. I fail to lean on His sweet Holy Spirit to weather each storm. I don’t know if my Dad will ever change, but I believe wholeheartedly that God is in control. I just need to live out forgiveness daily and be at peace like I was not so long ago. Thank you for sharing your story because it has made me look at this part of my life again, that I often try to ignore. Pray that I will have “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” God’s perfect Holy Spirit as He guides me back to that perfect peace that is only found in Him and pray that I will allow Him to fully keep me, and not take back the pain and shame of my hurtful past from Him this time.

    • Praying for all of the above and for the courage to obey. I constantly have to remind myself to do the next right thing – the next right thing that is right in the eyes of God. Praying for you as you continue this journey of forgiveness and to the center of His heart.

  41. KatherineJOY says:

    Hello Renee~ As I was reading I was thinkingthis book would be great to with group more then solo. As I was also reminded of my early days, how I had one life one each side of the front door to our home. Inside a high function alcoholic Dad, and ragolic Mom. Everyday when I came home I would walk in trying to sense what I was walking into that day. It hit me I am still on guard today. Thinking ahead for the “next”. I was just sharing with my dear husband, whom is not like my dad at all, thank you Jesus!! How went to my sons FIRST Preschool field trip, and I could NOT turn it off to just relax and enJOY!! Something broken in me robs my JOY… STILL !!! I dis-like VERY much how those early years of tremendously verbal abusive words spoken into me, still play havoc with me today… I’ve worked hard to be free, forgive, therapy, and draw closer to my Jesus… I’d say it been hard with a 4yr old. Not having my Jesus time as I did before my gift came along… I should say, get it out, that I know first hand that when I feel less-then, the enemy toys with me most… My self esteem is weak, didn’t get built up at all I was so neglected, I look for places to fill it, and still do today, gotta be honest. I need to know,really know as, as a Mom I don’t want my child tostruggle with that as I have and do… .Renee, I look forward to getting your book inbetween my hands, and letting you and Jesus do some deep mending to my heart… Balance, and praying up…

    • Praying for you. Praying that you will dig deep into God’s promises like his words in 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”. I love that we are His chosen people, we are His special possession! And the best yet … He loved us so much that He sent His son to die for me and you .I think of those words and my esteem goes through the roof …. he loved me so much that His son died for me!! and you!

  42. Renee and Donna, thank you for this powerful story today. I can see God speaking to me through Donna’s story. I am struggling to forgive some of my family members (including my own Mom) who have accused me of not “honoring my Mom as the Bible teaches” because I won’t let her control me anymore after 45 years. Making the “choice” to believe God and his promises and who He says He is really spoke to me. Thank you so much!

  43. Donna, thank you for sharing your story. Many of us who are the children of an alcoholic parent are ashamed to admit or to share our heartbreak and fear with others. My dad was a “mean drunk”, and in order to protect her children, my mom left him when I was 6 years of age. My brothers and I had no further contact with our father. He passed away at the age of 41 from cirrhosis, so there was never an opportunity to ask him why he chose the bottle over his family. There is a hole in my heart for the many things that have been lost. Even though he is no longer with us, I have prayed that GOD would give me the strength to understand why this happens to innocent children.
    May God continue to bless you and Renee as you share your story. I can’t wait to read “A Confident Heart”.

  44. Wow- thank you for sharing your story of brokenness and forgiveness. I am so looking forward to doing this study when Rene starts it up again. I would love to share it with others as well. Thank you ladies for being available to minister grace and truth through Christ by your transparency and graciousness.

  45. So thankful for the unconditional love and the promises of my Heavenly Father

  46. Jill Kuiper says:

    Thank you for your honesty and telling us your story of pain and forgiveness. We can all relate in some way or another whether we want to admit it or not. We need to get past our pain & realize that our Heavenly Father continues to forgive us our wrongs and we should do the same to others.

  47. This story brings to my mind this little quote that I use in my life when situations of forgiveness arise
    “If you cant forgive and forget, then forgive everytime you remember”

  48. Thanks for sharing your post. I know forgiveness is a continual process and I struggle with this daily. I have called myself forgiven my husband for a lot of things that occured in our marriage from the past. We even seperated for almost 2 years but now that were back togather I still see he has some of his old ways and habbits. I struggle with the fact of if I made a the right choice by agreeing to come back togaher and work on our issues. I also wonder if I truly have forgiven him.

  49. Thank you for this story and the point that forgiveness is a daily process. I was betrayed and hurt by my husband. He came to the Lord in the dark valley of our experience, and was transformed into a beautiful new Christian. The problem for me is the haunting memories of his affair and sexual addictions that shattered my marriage that try to flood back into my thoughts almost daily. It is absolutely true that it is a daily process and I have to come to the Lord and surrender to refocus on the new life we both have.

  50. “I wish I could tell you that it was a one-time act of forgiveness like the one we’ve received from Jesus; but it wasn’t. It’s not. Forgiveness happens as current or past events surface. The key for me is to continue the forgiving – continue with the seventy times seven – to continue the circle God started so that He will complete it: “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in {me} will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6).”
    YES!!!!! I needed these exact words! I have a hurtful past and I have forgiven that person but little memories sneak up and remind you what that person took from you. The bitterness starts to rise and I have wondered why this happens when I know I have forgiven and been healed. Those words forgiveness happens as littles things surface! Thank you for your encouragement!

  51. Thank you both so much for sharing Donna’s story of forgiveness. It is very encouraging to me and I will continue to seek God for ways to forgiving my father, which I should have sought a long time. My father was very absent from my life, not because of anything I did, but he chose to not be a part of my life. I was felt very unwanted by him, and his actions towards me seemed to tell me that whenever I was around him. I finally this past August started the forgiving process…through God…I will persevere! I admire your strength…and will become my own. Thanks again…your story means more than you know! God bless you! 🙂

  52. Tonya Ellison says:

    Wow, it amazes me to see how much hurt we hold on to. Speaking for myself forgiveness can be hard. When I chose not to forgive, I Did more harm to myself. Thank you for sharing!

  53. This is so sad and I can see where forgiveness could be so hard. With God all things are possible. I will be praying for you as I know you will also be praying for myself and everyone else.

  54. Thank you for this reminder of forgiveness.
    I was only challenged this last week Have i forgiven my husband.
    Really? I said to myself. i have to forgive my husband even though i am still living in the hurt, and he is still doing the things he is doing? your asking me to forgive him?
    you see i live in an abusive relationship. Not physically but verbally. and i am being crushed by his words time and time again. there is so much bitterness in my heart towards him and i just cant let go.
    It is now effecting my walk with God because i feel worthless and unlovable.
    Maybe it is time to start this forgiving process. How im not sure but i think it is time otherwise it is gonna consume me.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    • It sounds like you are going through the same thing I am. I have been doing a lot of studying on forgiveness and wondering how I can forgive someone that continues doing these things every day. This is the first time I have shared any of this. It helps to know that I am not the only one that is struggling with forgiveness. Maybe we can pray for each other.

      • we can certainly do that Misty
        It is a very lonely place to be and the shame of it make it worse because i feel i cant talk to anyone about it face to face.

        • Jenny and Misty, my heart is breaking for you both-I also know that lonely place, and the shame, and disbelief. I too am in a similar situation. Sometimes I feel I cannot bare the pain any longer. This cannot be my life. God has told me quite clearly that I am not to leave him-this is beyond my comprehension. I am currently unemployed so financially I can’t leave (God’s hand at work?). God has also been placing this verse in my path over and over-Ephesians 6:13 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the hevenly realms.”
          I have been lifting my husband up in prayer everyday, even though I don’t want to, and even though ‘I’ think he doesn’t deserve it, and though I have not seen any change yet, (in fact it seems worse right now), I have to place my faith in God…what else do I have?
          I am and will continue to pray for you both-

      • Misty, please see my comment below for you and Jenny-

  55. I really enjoyed this. I have been studying a lot on forgiveness.

    I have been struggling with forgiveness. This is an ongoing thing, so I think I am ready to forgive and then something else happens. I have been reading scripture and praying over this every day. In my heart I feel like I have forgiven this person, but then something else will happen and it makes it so difficult. I have seem some change in this person and believe that God is answering my prayers. Please pray for me that I will be able to forgive this person completely and let God handle the situation.

  56. Laura Wilson says:

    Thanks for sharing this part of your life-lots of people struggle with these same family or past issues and all need to know others struggle with the same things-God bless your ministry!
    Laura Wilson

  57. KAY PARRISH says:


  58. Donna,
    Such beauty shines through your brokenness. I just recently told God how tired I was of being angry all.the.time. His response: keep being willing to forgive. All day every day right now I tell God I’m willing to forgive yet, powerless to do so unless His Holy Spirit rises up within me constantly reminding me of the endless grace & forgiveness He’s given me. I can forgive those who wrong me, devalue me & damage my heart on a daily basis without becoming defined by the poor decisions of others.

    See you soon, sweet sister. My flight is delayed until 12. Tweet me a restaurant.

    Miss you, Renee!! Desperately want your perspective. Can’t get enough of A Confident Heart!!! xoxo

    • Miss you

      • Lisa, it was so great to see you Friday. Prayed for you knowing that God was going to use in His God sized ways to touch the hearts of those who heard you speak Saturday. I know that were amazing!! Can’t wait to catch up and hear how. So proud of you for sharing your story that God has given you to minister to others! Love ya!

  59. I love reading your blogs. Forgiveness is a process. I am thankful I have God in my life to get through those tough times of forgiving others who have wronged me. I am putting your book on my wishlist.

  60. Thank you so much for this. I have realized that I have been harboring anger and unforgiveness to the people who have hurt me but with God, I can give up the anger and I can forgive them. God will help me through this. I am planning to read your book and giving a copy to my niece and sister who could benefit from your article.

  61. Todays sharing really hit home. When i was 9 years old i ended up in foster care & after a few foster homes i had a family interested in adopting me, which it turned out would be the pivotal point in my life…but then my fostr dad had his preschool shut down the preschool they ran, as he was molesting some of the chlldrene there. At least thats what i found out when the workers came from the state. What i didnt tell them is that he was molesting me too. He had threatened my life if i said anything, he said he would come find me. I never trusted men again after that. it was my first real experience having any man in my life, therefore tainting any ideals i may have had. It has taken me until age 36 to keep going through the process of forgiving. To fight the enemies lies, to not be full of hate. Years later, this man died of cancer & pretty much alone…I used to pray that he would die…& then i felt horrible about that too. But when he did, it didnt heal things. I prayed the Lord forgive my heart & heal the pain. I really appreciate you opening your heart & sharing your story. <3

    • Im so sorry Meyana for all that you have been through. So very sorry. Im praying for you tonight. That Jesus will help you release the anger, the pain and anything else the enemy is using to tie you to the sin that was committed against you. I am praying for His healing power and the freedom He died to give you, the blood of the Lamb that was poured out – to be spilled into your wounds – to heal you from the inside out. Praying for His grace, mercy, love and freedom to wrap around your heart and soul more and more each day!!! You are loved by an Almighty GOd!!

      • Meyana, joining Renee in prayer for you. Praying that you will feel God’s loving arms embrace you and heal you. Praying for your tender heart as you walk through your forgiveness journey. Praying these words in Ephesians 3 over you as you seek His heart. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. In Jesus name. Amen.

  62. God has been working on this in my heart just this week. Thank you for your message!

  63. I remember my mother and father deciding to divorce when I was only 9. I remember it because I was happy. Years of them arguing, fighting and screaming left me with scars that would stay with me through my adult years. Yet it was still hard. I remember my father telling me that he did not like that my mother was not taking care of mine and my siblings needs. He said he was tired of seeing us with coats without buttons and shoes with holes in them as we walked the mile path to school each day. He said he wasn’t going to take it so he left. Years later, I asked him to tell me how did his leaving help us if he felt we were being neglected by my mother? He moved away and had little to do with us over the years. My siblings and I struggled through poverty and abuse and no one to help. Sadly, my childhood situation skewed my reasoning and I made many bad choices in life. Because I felt that everyone had let me down, I just assumbed that God had to. It would take years and years for God to get through to me that his love was always with me and that he never left me. That child within me is still in the process of being healed, but I have come far because of the love of Christ.

    • Praying for you and praising Him for the journey of healing that He has begun in you. I love the promise where he tells us that he will complete every good work in us that He has started.

  64. Thank you for this inspirational story. I too struggle with forgiveness of past hurts but i continue to pray everyday for the strength to do so. God bless.

  65. Thank you for this story. Both my parents have died & although I forgave my father of years of emotional & physical abuse of rage, I still have nightmares about him, my mom & the house I grew up in.

    I have had insecurities that because I had a dysfunctional relationship with my dad in my youth; that I wouldn’t be a good fit for a Godly man as a wife. My father was a pentacostal pastor, but his anger would have a life of its own. One time he stopped in the middle of service to beat my sister for wanting to leave church; right in the middle of the congregation! We had a small church funded by ourselves so there were no deacons or what not to rule my father out. Eventually we could not afford to keep up the rent on the small homemakers club we used as a church on Sundays.

    We went to several different Assembly of God churches where my mother & father were Missionette & Royal Ranger leaders. We went to church 3 times a week. Alot of people loved my father; he was very happy go lucky, but behind closed doors he could not control his anger or lashing out in verbal & sometimes physical abuse.

    My mother, who was an absolute saint in my eyes, died 2 days before her 44th birthday. I was 14 years old & had to be raised alone with a father that I feared so much. Dad & I had our good times & bad after mom died but I forgave him long before he died of Cancer at 65. He asked for forgiveness, we talked it out & I openly forgave him. I have peace about my father, but somehow the memories of my past are manifesting into nightmares in my adulthood. I am 35, unmarried & I have found myself staying in relationships with men who are more verbally abusive than my father was, and they were atheists! I am not in a relationship now, but I’m concerned that a normal, Godly man would not want me. That if he did, he may want to control me like my father did my mother (she wasn’t allowed to drive, work or barely leave the house).

    I go to therapy, have had a year of healing ministry, but still do not have peace that I will get married to a Godly man & have a happy homelife. I don’t want my dysfunctional past define my future. I don’t want a dysfunctional marriage, but I choose men that I am unequally yoked with to help them. It’s not right though. Please pray for me, that I find peace & forgive myself for not thinking I’m worthy to be married, because God says I am.

    There’s alot more to this story ( I was a miracle baby who survived a deadly hereditary rare blood disease).
    God has shown me many things & performed many miracles in my life!

    May God bless you Renee, for the work you are doing in His name.

    • Dear sweet Melissa,

      Praying right now for God to show you that your worthiness is in Him and Him alone and not an earthly man. God has redeemed you. God has redeemed your past with your father. God has redeemed you in your choices of abusive men. Praying that God will reveal Himself to you as the lover of your soul. The lifter of your eyes. Praying that you will find your worth and love in Him. Praying that he will show you that He will provide ALL that you need. He will be husband. You are Jesus’ bride. And He will always love you – with an unfailing and unconditional love. And I’m also praising Him for the miracles that He has done in your life and will continue to do in your life.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. I get it. But also please know that God gets it and loves you way more and way better than an earthly husband can or will.

      Blessings and more blessings.

  66. I just got your book in the mail, haven’t even started it yet. I have been getting your devotionals via email for a few weeks, and your 7 day doubt diet ! Its like you wrote it for me ! Just what I needed !

    I made copies of the Doubt Diet and gave it to a few friends. We would like to do it as a ladies group book study – so I am looking for FEW MORE COPIES ! AND i LOVE CANDLES AND ANGELS – so I am entering ! Thanks for all you do for us – women who love the Lord but are struggling with brokenness..

  67. Thank you for sharing your story. I was hurt many years ago by someone. And even though it was a long time ago, a memory will pop up or an emotion that I struggle with from those events will surface and I will find I have to forgive all over again. No new hurt has happened because that person isn’t part of my adult life, but I will still need to choose to forgive them regularly.

  68. This was a powerful reminder to me. I can so relate to this story. With so many hurts and offenses piled up I grew up believing I was unworthy- of anything! I still struggle with those old feelings from time to time and this was a good reminder to me that other people’s actions and words can only keep me broken and caged if I choose to allow it. Jesus gave me the keys and those cages lock from the inside. Forgiveness really is the antidote to that poison.
    Thank you so much.

  69. Thank you Lord for allowing Donna to share from her heart–the story of how Donna is forgiving and moving past her hurt has opened my eyes to areas of my heart where forgiveness needs to be given. Her story has truly blessed me! blessings to you and your family Sue

  70. I am so glad I was lead by a friend to this book and this page. I recently within the last two years formed a non-profit Organization for Children and Families that live with Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders. It has been the most challenging but personally and spiritually rewarding and the biggest blessing God has called for me to do. I am struggling right now due to issues in my past but also within the present.
    I called my friend one Saturday morning about a week ago in tears wanting to stop the pain and hurt and she told me about the Confident Heart suggested I read it.

    I have a hard time sometimes understanding how the ones closest to you and family can be the least supportive of something that is clearly ones passion and involves giving and serving others but more importantly serving God. It is hard to understand when ones father is a Physician all be it retired but lives very comfortably can not support something that clearly will bring need to those in the community or area which you live and reside. It’s amazing how they have much to say about what your doing but not willing to support you rather try to talk you out of it. I am reading this book in a way to form a healing process for me along with the work I am doing. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    If anyone out their reading this has or knows of a child or family member that suffers from Epilepsy is our website and we are Fighting Seizures one Child at a Time and to the families please know YOUR NOT ALONE we would love to offer support that is the one thing so important to a parent or family dealing with a special needs child or individual support its a must.

    Thank you Donna for sharing your story it touched me deeply I have often felt unloved and unworthy I think art of doing what I do is my healing process and that even though fundraising is not easy I am not giving up because the long term is the reward and its because its Gods plan for me. Please Pray for me!

  71. I too lived with an alcoholic, abusive father. As I read Donna’s words, I felt the fear and sadness come flooding back. He wasn’t phisically abusive to me (as he was to my mom and brother), but was verbally and emotionally abusive which hurt just as much. He was an over the road truck driver and I got to the point wheree I so looked forward to his being gone. I even wrote in a journal that I wished he would smash up his rig and never come back. One evening after that, a police car and a car with someone from his work pulled into our driveway and told us that is exactly what happened. It took a while, but I wrote him a letter and buried it at his grave. I don’t remember all that I wrote, but I do know God used it to help me heal and move on some. There are still some hurts that come back but God helps me work through them. It also helps to know that God is my Abba Father, my daddy, and nothing can take Him away from me. As Christian singer/song writer David Meece says, our real father is our Father in Heaven, not our earthly father.

    Thank you Donna for your honesty in telling your story!!

  72. My heart hurts reading this blog. Thank goodness for God’s comfort and forgiveness!

  73. Pam Uptmor says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Donna and Renee.
    It really touched me. My story is similar, but “not as bad.” Mine is one of abandonment – with the unwanted, unloved and worthless added in. For years I’ve chastised myself for not being stronger since my dad didn’t physically abuse me or my mom. He was just selfish and then absent. I have since reconciled with him and we have a relationship. I know he loves me in his own way, but there is still a gaping hole where that earthly father’s love for his little girl should be. I didn’t find Christ until my late 20s (I’m now 52) so had that gaping hole for a lot of years. I have to forgive my dad over and over again because some things/people just don’t change. I am also finally starting to believe that Gos is my real true father and He is never absent or selfish. That has taken a very long time, and is still a continu process. Thank you, ladies!

  74. Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story. Mine wasn’t so dramatic but I can still relate. My father went into recovery 15+ years ago, and while he has not given up the addiction to cigarettes) at least they don’t cause him to speak out in anger or do dangerous things. Doc told him <5 years to live if he didn't quit smoking and it's hard to accept that he feels he can't or refuses to. Hope I can learn to truly accept this and not cause it to harbor resentment as it feels like he's choosing them over family by giving up.

  75. Sometimes it is so hard to forgive, your mind dwells again and again on the action and person you need to forgive–so, ok, I forgive you–and uhoh–there’s that thought creeping back in again. It’s good to know others wrestle with this. That old devious devil does try to take you from a calm Christ led life again and again. Bless you for your understanding of a daily fight.

  76. I am currently working through some forgiveness issues of my own and found Donna’s story to be very encouraging. Especially the part about praying for her dad. I’ve been feeling a nudge to pray for the person I need to accept/forgive. Thanks for sharing.

  77. Geri Leigh says:


    I just read your “Living In The Light” writing on Encouragement Today Devotions from Proverbs 31 Ministries.

    Thank you for sharing your story ! I look forward to reading more from you & I hope to get your book soon (maybe I’ll win a copy 🙂 )

  78. God bless you Donna and thank you for sharing your experience so that others can see that Jesus is the only answer for our hurting world. What a blessing you have been to me today.

  79. Thank you, Donna, for sharing your story. You’re right, forgiveness is definitely a process. One that must be done often and sometimes daily. I will pray for you and for God’s guidance to continue you on this journey of healing.

  80. My childhood compares to Donna’s. Physical abuse to my mother, me and my siblings. My baby sister “urinated” in her pants every time my dad raised his voice. It almost seems surreal at times until I hear stories. I too have to remind myself that my dad and mom were wounded as a child….they thought that type of behavior was normal. I went from man to man and ended up with an alcoholic husband who physically and verbally abused me. Funny how we migrate to those behaviors. It’s been 4 years and God is transforming my life through my forgiveness. I continue to forgive my dad and others….extending mercy. So difficult some times, but Jesus doesn’t give us an option to forgive. He commands us to forgive. If I want others to see Christ in me….I must follow Him.

  81. I already have this book, but haven’t read it yet. I am going on a retreat this weekend and was just praying about which of the book I should bring (of the many I have bought and haven’t found time to read!), and your email came in – that decided it, I am bringing the Confident Heart book! God’s timing is amazing!

    The last line of your email sealed the deal. It said: Won’t you join me in living a life of freedom – freedom from your past – freedom from your hurts – freedom from your fears?

    That is just what I need as I begin to expand my areas of ministry and move into some new ones. Thank you for your book and your ministry. Your words and examples have really challenged and encouraged me on my journey!

    God’s Blessings,

  82. Thank you for sharing this with us. I too had to work through forgiveness of my brother for abuse when we were very young. I actually dealt with this many years ago, then because of anger and hurt from our Dad over the discovery of what happened as a child, I was left with a very difficult decision, do I lose a brother or parents & husband in my life. I choose the later. But God had different plans for all of us. About 1 year ago, my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and after many talks, he agreed for my to contact my brother. Praises to God for bringing our family back together. As we celebrate each holiday/birthday as a family unit, my Mother still cries with tears of joy! It’s still a work in progress with me, learning to trust him again, but through God’s love and grace I am doing so.

  83. Praise Jesus that we can trust Him and find beauty, and peace, and wisdom, and forgiveness in our pain and struggles!!!
    Though my father was not phyically abusive, he was emotionally abusive. He did abandon us and made me always feel not good enough and unwanted. For so long I denied that the way he treated me had any effect on my adult life whatsoever. I made him invisible to me (ironically, the way I felt) and had no contact with him for over 20 years.
    Even when my younger brother died, my father knew for 3 days before making the effort to tell my mother and I. He gave us one day to claim the body from the city or the city would bury him, and my father would not help in any way…expect for the memorial service my father held at his church, but neglected to mention myself or my mother as family members. Several people came up to my mother wanting to know who she was and how she knew David.
    My father died about 6 years ago, I found out on the internet. I felt nothing. I really thought that I was immune, but am seeing now I was in denial and I should have extended grace and forgiveness, and if I had turned to and trusted God instead of just ignoring the situation, I could have saved myself years of bitterness.
    Thank you Donna and Renee for your transparancy and vulnerablity.

  84. It is so hard to forgive someone when they have hurt you so much. I pray about it but it is still hurtful and hard to forgive someone who isn’t in your life anymore. It is hard to pray for my enemy. But I will continue to keep trying and praying about it. I know that God will help me!

  85. This brought me back 45 years ago, not to a father but to a husband. So many similarities. He died a long time ago. It took me many years to forgive him. Eventually the Lord led me to forgiveness and in return I was given a freedom I had not known before. When we truly forgive the Lord blesses us over and over again. Grace given that we did not earn.

  86. I had read Donna’s devotional from P31 this morning. It was as though it was written just for me in response to a struggle I have been having & even talked about with sisters in Christ last night. It’s difficult since my husband left me & isn’t helping support our sons much & we have to move in the next few weeks. So many in my past have failed in doing what they say they will do. I’ve struggled with trusting God to take care of me, to do what he says he will. It was a wonderful reminder to make the choice to trust. Trusting God to provide is so hard for me some days. To forgive my husband even harder. Thank you!!

  87. I have began reading your book with my bible study group. We are only on Chapter 3 and I must say it is already speaking loudly to me. I have struggled with forgiveness and knowing God is there for me no matter what. I am thankful for the daily devotions I receive. I look forward to my journey in being a woman after God’s heart!

  88. It is amazing that I grew up thinking that I was the only one living in such a disfunctional house! My father was an alcoholic and my sweet mother was a saint. She married at 15 and my Dad was 23. He has 6 children by the age of 22. She stayed with my Dad because she loved him (through it all) and she always said, “where can I go with 6 kids”! Both my parents have passed away. I pray to this day that I forgave my Dad for being a horrible husband to my mother and a Dad that I do not ever remember being sober until he was to sick to enjoy life. Thank you for sharing your story and I have read Renee’s book and it is a wonderful book.

  89. Thank you Donna for the reminder that sometimes it takes 70 x 7 times to forgive on this side. Thankful that God realizes this as well. I also loved your realization that “I could not change my past BUT I did not have to let my past define me.” A point more believers need to take to heart.

  90. April Tindall says:

    Thank you for sharing so openly. My story sounds very similar, except my mom always stayed, and my brother eventually became a replica of my dad. I have been working for most of this year to get to the roots of my chronic depression and the struggles I have had consisitently connecting to people close to me, maybe the “seventy times seven” part is what I have been missing…

    A few weeks ago, my mentor through this healing process challenged me to study and pray through forgiveness and also what I thought forgiveness of the craziness of my upbringing would do to change ME.

    I had just experienced (another) miscarriage and was struggling with pretty poor idea of my worth before God. So I thought she was nuts… truly. Why did I need to think about my past when my present was so ugly?

    Even though it took me a while to pick up the task, I am finding it to be eye-opening. Instead of “explaining away” dad’s behavior as acceptable (he has a mental health issue, so he’s not responsible) or assuming I must have been a tough kid to live with, my perspective is beginning to shift…

    I can’t say what I will be on the other side of this. I only know that God put this charge in front of me… freedom comes in letting go, not trying to control my circumstances so I won’t be hurt again. And it comes in not assuming I can just “do better” with my own daughter of my own volition.

    I am so thankful for your transparancy. Your words might not only have been for me, but the God of the universe used them to open another window in me… and show me some light.

  91. Thank you for sharing and reminding me about the power of forgiveness. Your such an inspiration. Thanks for the chance to win these fun goodies!

  92. What an amazing devotional Donna. Thank you for your transparency! I have a broken friendship that rears its ugly head on occasion but have also found that peace comes only though forgiving over and over again. I can pray for this woman with a pure Spirit – praying that God will soften her hardened heart and heal whatever hurt caused her to destroy our friendship. I’ve read Renee’s book and it was so incredibly helpful. Thanks for sharing with the P31 faithful and may God bless you and your father.

  93. Thank you for sharing your heart in your devotional today. It is powerful and SO AUTHENTIC. I am praying right now for the LORD to take your honest words and touch women’s hearts who are angry at God, who feel they have been abandoned by God and everyone, who feel there is no hope, and who are bound up in unforgiveness. I pray He will use your testimony mightily to release these prisoners from captivity and take them directly to freedom through the loving grace-filled, healing heart of God.

    You are so gifted, my sweet friend.

    Love you,

  94. Sylvia Turnmire says:

    My situation takes a little twist ~ I’ve spent nearly 30 years of my life being angry at our Heavenly Father for taking my Dad away from us. He died in a car accident when I was 10 years old. The list goes on an on about the things I didn’t get to experience having a father in my life. I’m still not sure that I’ve really forgiven Him. It truly seems to be a daily struggle.

    • My mother died 22 years ago. When a member of my then church told me that my mother was going to hell because she wasnt’t saved, I walked out the church doors and did not return for 18 years. I did not like that God. But he never gave up on me. I struggled with divorces, abortions, miscarriages, and alcohol and drug addiction. But I always felt like God was there. I would find myself waking up at night praying in tongues. It was like the Holy Spirit was in me, praying for me. People gave up on me. But God never gave up. He was there when I got sober. He was there there when I lost my career and had no where to go. I didn’t notice, but he was there. And on the eve of losing my third marriage, I finally stepped back into a caring loving church. And I gave my life back to the Lord. Because he never gave up on me.

      • So sorry for your experience with church but yet so happy that you always felt God’s presence in your life. And you are so right, he never leaves us nor forsakes us. Praising Him that you gave your life back to Him. It’s a great place to be when you are in the hands of Jesus. Thanks for sharing!

  95. Stephanie says:

    I know I’m suppose to forgive but it can be so hard at times. I usually struggle at first but then I ask God to help me and then its possible.

  96. I can relate to this. My father was a drinker also. Not as bad as Donna thou. But I have memories of thing that happened when my dad got drunk. Wanting to kill himself and shot a hole the floor of the home. Me having to drive him home drunk when I was old enough. I then married and drinker and it got worse. I have just recently divorced him. But it took me 24 years and 2 kids later. I still struggle with on a daily basis of trying to forgive and I have not. My dad died 5 years ago. He had been sober for at least 10 or more years. We had a good relationship in the end. Can I forgive my ex for what he did to me? I am trying.

  97. Please pray that as I navigate being a full-time single mother of three (not by choice) That God will continue to open my eyes, so i may embrace His peace and Joy. That way i may be a wonderful reflection of who God is, for my three children. I pray for God’s discernment while patiently waiting for a Godly spouse, that I may have the confidence to stand true I feel God desires me to be for His glory.

  98. Jen Clemmer says:

    It always amazes me how our Lord knows what we need to hear and when. I myself struggle with hurts from my mother. She also had a very dark childhood and has a hard time letting go and unfortunately the ripples have affected my life. As I have grown older and have become a wife and mother, I tend to pull away from my Mom when she acts out which I think is my own protection and for my children. I have forgiven her time and time again for her hurtful words or actions, but then when I pull away, do I truly forgive her? My mother feels she does no wrong and when conversation has brought up events that have been crucial to our relationship, she denies them and puts the blame on me. Your post has given me a reminder that forgiveness isn’t just a one time thing, but a practically a forever thing. God calls us as Christians to forgive and love. There is so much hope provided in your story. Thank you!

  99. Polly Schneider says:

    My marriage has been a real struggle for years. We have been married for 33 Years and have had a lot of difficult times. My husband has Bipolar disorder, so there have been many occasions where I have had to forgive. Of course he has had to forgive me too for some of my reactions and attitudes also. We are still working on our relationship. It takes everyday prayer and love.

  100. Donna, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today. I am glad that you’ve had the healing power of forgiveness with your father.

  101. We were just talking about forgiveness during our prayer time last night when I was meeting with a ministry team on my college campus. One of the girls was sharing about something she had been dealing with and she said the same thing–about how forgiveness isn’t just a one-time deal but a constant choice, because that same hurt may happen again and again. It’s so encouraging to see how people who have been through such heartache can emerge victorious by the power of Christ in their lives. And it truly is freeing to really know and understand that God is in complete control and He can get us through anything when we place our trust and our lives fully in Him. Thank you for such an uplifting devotion!

  102. I like your statement, ” I could not change my past BUT I did not have to let my past define me.”
    I feel like I am at that point in my life. There are things there that I haven’t sopke to anyone about. Dumb as it may sound, I don’t want to hurt those that hurt me or love me. Thanks for all you do, I appreciate the verses on facebook. I would enjoy receiving a copy of your book, which I have been wanting to buy but haven’t been able to do so yet. If you would pick me please just send the 1 book and forward the rest to another person to benefit from.

  103. susan skaling says:

    Just prayed after reading your blog. I think have dealt with all the past hurts but I just went through it with Jesus again and asked Him what my relationship should be with people that have hurt me. Thanks again for all you do.

  104. Thank you for your timely words. I continue to struggle with a mother who not only was mean to us kids growing up, but especially abusive to Dad when he had Alzheimer’s. I didn’t think I could be around her after he passed, but I did forgive her and began anew. Now that she has Alzheimer’s herself, I find a lot of old stuff I thought I’d let go bearing down on me again. Thank you, Lord, for daily cleansing and renewal.

  105. The amazing power of Christ to help us forgive! I have very recently been faced with forgiving past hurts I thought trully were not issues for me. Clearly although I thought I had dealt with the issues, I not forgiven the person(s) as I should have! Oh the rush of relief felt when knowing that the past is just that and there is no reliving due to the healing of letting go and forgiving.

    I stand amazed at how I know Christ has forgiven me in just that same way! He is calling me to miinister and I am patiently waiting as He opens doors!

    Thank you sharing this again thru your blog! Read thru it twice as I read earlier the P31!


  106. Mandy Currie says:

    Hello there, first let me say thank you so much for your post today. I’m now 55 and have my own memories of a troubled and tormented childhood. Of course that lead to a troubled and tormented first marriage and more abuse. I’ve read Peter’s question to the Lord many many times and knew I had to go through the process of forgiveness. The end of my story is that I returned to the Lord after I got married for a second time and the Lord is working in our lives, my husband is not saved yet but listens to my TV broadcasts from American and appreciates my faith and believes in his own way. I am still praying for him and have great hope. Thank you for the opportunity for a wonderful giveaway, I do hope that living in England doesn’t exclude me. God bless you in your ministry, you are reaching so many people. Kind Regards Mandy Currie (

  107. Wow…forgiveness is really the only way to go! I have learned ( Not always in the first situation) that forgiveness is what gives us freedom. Unforgiveness really only hurts the one unable to forgive. I am learning through Christ’s example to totally forgive those who have wronged me. Another really good resource is the book and other material available through Peacemakers. It was really a key in helping heal our mission team that had gone through a really roughtsituation.

  108. Thanks for sharing this incredible story of forgiveness! What an ordeal to go through and process as a child. It’s so wonderful that Donna can forgive. Isn’t God’s power amazing?!?

  109. Nadia Mendenhall says:

    I usually skip over these blogs to get other things done. So glad I took a few minutes to read it! Thanks for taking the time to share your story and allow God to use you to reach out to others. I needed that reminder today of forgiveness. In a book by Sally Clarkson, i read: “It is gracious forgiveness that enables us all to move past our mistakes and keep on growing. Even more important, it is forgiving grace that makes real love possible in our lives.”
    Your book A Confident Heart has been such a blessing to me. The way God orchestrates things is so amazing. I am in awe of Him daily. God spoke to me while I was doing the study and it has changed my life and my marriage. Thank You so much. I tell everyone about your book 🙂 I would love to win so that I can share the blessings.
    God bless you both for serving Him!

  110. Wow. What an example of forgiveness! Thank you for sharing some of your difficult life experiences.

  111. I’ve entered the process of forgiving my dad and am doing fairly well, thankfully. The part that I struggle with is my mom’s thinking that when I forgive him, I am siding with him and not her. He hurt her in many ways and she’s bitter and wants me to treat him unfairly so that she can feel more justified. She tells me so many instances where kids don’t communicate with their dad after they hurt their mother. I want to communicate with him but she gets so hurt by it.

  112. Karen Johnson says:

    My brokenness is from a marriage filed with broken promises & unrequited feelings. A lack of commitment cultivated after a childhood filled with brokenness of the heart & the bones. These chains must be broken if we are ever top move forward. Thankyou for sharing your story & Gods healing for your life.

  113. Your story about your abuse was very heart wrenching. I cannot say that understand the road you walked because I grew up in a loving home. My sister has gone through a difficult marriage and divorce that has left her and her children hurt. She is walking a journey right now of forgiveness and healing. It has been difficult watching her and her kids go through this journey. I love my niece and nephews deeply and wish I could easy their heartache but I can only pray for them and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Think you for being willing to share your private hurts in such a public way.

  114. Michelle Nehrig says:

    God truly has us go through situations and circumstances to help others go through them. So many of the words you felt about yourself I also felt and sometime still feel about myself as a result of my relationship (or lack of) with my earthly father. Despite the fact that I believe I have forgiven him; these ‘words’ and feelings still resurface when my earthly father comes to mind. If you can forgive your father and come through it, I believe I can also. Please pray for my continued forgiveness of my earthly father and for my deliverance of the feelings that come from these words.
    Michelle Nehrig

  115. Thank you for sharing and the reminder to forgive seventy times seven. I keep a relationship with my father, which still puts me in a path of constant emotional abuse from him. I struggle constantly trying to remember that he will not change, and in some ways I really don’t think he realizes he is doing it. And sometimes I think he knows exactly what he is doing.
    Every visit I pray and lean heavier into God. I don’t get angry as much. I don’t trip up and fall into his trap and manipulation as often. I don’t call myself stupid quite so often (it was his favorite name for me). I still have a hard time praying for him. I struggle to forgive him. I still beat myself up repeatedly when something goes wrong, and I just “know” it’s my fault. It’s a growing process.
    The thing I hate is that his degradation has effected my marriage and feelings about my husband. And worse, I struggle with these emotions in my relationship to God as my father. I’m learning how to accept another father that is “Abba”. I try and repeat frequently that God does love me unconditionally, and that he will always be there for me, and that he won’t belittle me or crush my hopes and dreams.For that I am truly grateful.
    Dad is getting Altzheimers now. He forgets our conversations, and the many times he has gotten mad at me and hung up the phone. He forgets the abuse of the past. I want to forget and forgive before that stage of life.
    Truly thankful for all who share here. My God bring a special blessing to you.

  116. WOW! As I was reading your devotional and got to the part about the car doing doughnuts and your Dad driving crazy God sent a picture to mind…..a little girl, her Mommy & brother standing and watching her Daddy drive off angry leaving them – the fear and the feeling of being abandoned was paralyzing. I don’t know how we got home, I don’t remember that part. God has been working in me to forgive my ex-husband (not that he’s asked to be forgiven). I left a 20 yr. marriage that started out with the man of my dreams and wound up being, as my pastor stated, “not what God intended a marriage to be”. Your comment that it’s a constant effort of forgiving 24/7 is almost comforting..because I’ve tried forgiving but when something spurs a memory the anger is so quick to come back, I can’t stand to be in the same room with him – it brings back everything that was bad, but it also hurts terribly because my dream died. God is still working in me, He has me on a journey right now, I don’t know where we are going, but I do know that I am growing. Thank you for being so honest and open. You brought new insight into “issues”. May God continue to bless you in your ministry!!

  117. Brought me to tears. Forgiveness is so ONGOING!

  118. Will you offer another lbs for a confident heart? I missed the last one.

  119. How do you forgive someone when they deny doing anything wrong, and still lie about what they’ve done? A family member has hurt me badly, and even if I choose to forgive them in my heart, I don’t really care to see or talk to them again. Is that wrong? I don’t think I can ever push all they’ve done aside and be in the same room with them and act like nothing ever happened. I have great anxiety when I even think of being someplace where I know they will be. Would you agree that even if you are related to someone, that doesn’t mean you have to have a relationship with them?

  120. As I have grown older I have seen more and more people who like me have struggled with letting the past be in the past. I am 53 and still fight the feelings of rejection. I thought many of those years it was my father who was the problem. I grew up in an abusive home as well. The difference was my father was not a drinker. He plainly was an angry man who professed Christ but had never accepted Christ. The person I struggle with though is my Mom. She allowed this pattern of behaviour yet never stood up for us. She couldn’t because … Yet I struggle today because she still hasn’t changed. Yes she divorced him eventually but never accepted me. See I look like my Dad and she rezents that. I live under that cloud and have not been able to get beyond that. Your book I trust would help. The thing I really see is I am not alone. It seems I see many families that have been destroyed by sin. Because that is all it is. When Adam sinned we were doomed. Only through Christ death on the cross can we truly see what true love really is.
    I thank Donna for sharing her story. It is a comfort for us to hear we are not the only one who struggles or struggled with parents that let us down. It takes a special person to share and open themselves up like this.
    May God continue to heal your heart with His unfailing LOVE.

  121. I would like to say thank you for the story today. Forgiveness is a hard thing. But I know the Lord always forgives me so I know I need to forgive others. Even if it’s seventy times seven. Thanks for sharing and reminding us we have to have a forgiving heart.

  122. My heart broke for this little girl who faced such hardship as a child and then I clicked on the link to see who this Donna was and it’s Donna -the Donna who was so kind and friendly to me at the Proverbs 31 conference! Thank you for reaching out to me Donna. And thank you for a beautifully encouraging post here today.
    Keep writing!
    Lots of Love,

    • Hey there,

      And it’s great seeing you on Renee’s blog! I’m used to seeing you on your blog and on twitter! So excited for your new book and can’t wait to hear all about and better yet read it! Praying for you and your amazing ministry.

      Thanks for taking the time out to visit and comment.

  123. “Forgiveness happens as current or past events surface” Very well said.. Just dealing with whatever it is right away.. Thank you for the simple, but powerful and life applicable insight.

  124. Thank you for your sharing this topic with us. In growing up I watched how unforgiviness eat my mother up. She missed out on a lot of happiness with my dad, brother and me. She could not forgive her parents nor her brothers and sisters for the love she did not feel nor the things she thought in her mind she deserved. Through all of it, my brother and I learned how important and how hard sometimes forgiviness is. We have to do it daily. Again, thank you. You have blessed me today.

  125. what an inspirational journey. it gives me hope to heal wounds that are raw. i need to forgive and accept-boy are they tough. working on the obs of “A Confident Heart” began my journey and Donna’s story gives me fuel. thank you both for sharing and leading us. hugs and blessings, julie

  126. I just want to thank this ministry as a whole. Donna’s testimony was what I needed today to remind me other children of god know the pain I feel. I felt all those things & more & have been fighting years to continually forgive. I know that Satan also uses other people with the same kind tactics to remind us of those who have hurt us & lies to us to get us thinking its a new issue & about that new person when it’s really just them revealing my hurt from another still exists. I like Donna had abuse in my family & I had it from both ends of the spectrum, both dad & mom. Yet it was my mother with unmentionable betrayal as she is not here to defend herself that led me to never trust women. I have learned to include women in my life but about yrs ago I happened to find Proverbs ministries & it touched me in a way I really needed- with conviction of god to return daily so I may be fed with wisdom of Godly women & see women as worthy & myself as worthy as a woman & take pride in my womanhood rather than despise it cause I didn’t want to be associated with the woman who hurt me soooo deeply to steal my youth & my children’s as well. The daily devos have truly built my womanhood- I have sisters & motherly figures to draw a good example from so I can share my talents & gifts with the world with all confidence. Yet as any person we all have days of dubt & today was one of those days & God put Donna’s devo there to remind me I am not alone. Thank you God for never leaving us or forsaking us & giving us every good & perfect tool to shape us into your image. Thank you God for this ministry & these women being some of the tools you have given me. Thank you for the love & humbleness of these women to help me be the woman you wanted me to be. I pray each woman who visits this ministry site can be equally blessed as I have been. Amen

    • You are so not alone and never will be …. love God’s promise that he will never leave us nor forsake us. And He gave His son for us. What a gift so that we could experience forgiveness and then learn to give it!

  127. Thank you for this story to illustrate the need to forgive and the instruction to keep forgiving, the assurance that forgiving is not a one time event but an every day opportunity. I am moving across country to go home where my family is tho they are not welcoming me home. Coming from an alcoholic home, I seem to be the only one in recovery and a believer not only in God but in forgiveness. I haven’t an idea yet how I will get there – there are plans in place but I struggle to trust and believe, how I will get thru the next 30 days. This is truly one day at a time knowing anything that occurs will be God’s gift, blessing and desire for my life. I have a past built on fear and ask for prayer as I daily recognize that this fear is not from the Lord but from the past and I can tell ‘it’ to be behind me (Satan). I am learning to trust God’s love. This is the toughest time of my life, sometimes an exciting destiny, other times not. I know so many are going through times like these.

  128. Thank you for this encouragement. It has been a rough week dealing with a family member who I struggle having a healthy relationship with and all the stress that goes along with it. Your words on forgiveness were what I needed.

  129. I am in awe of our Healer who never instructs us to “forgive and forget” but walks through every emotional memory with us to heal us from the bottom up. Every layer, every painful place He seeks for us to go, He has been there ahead of us and has prepared the way. The work of forgiveness is difficult but brings joy and freedom. How to live with a spouse/ father to your children who has hurtful ways about him…… How to draw godly boundaries and become stronger as a wife/ mom in order to identify and prevent some of the hurtful matters to continue (as they are subtle at times). Minimizing possibilities of passing on the practice of hurt to future generations but healing the present and past is what is sought. very difficult to accomplish when children are young adults still, out of financial and health necessity, living under the same roof. However, then the opportunity remains to heal before they leave! (God work in my husband’s heart is beginning to show). Thank You, Lord of All, You are called Faithful and True.

  130. Cyndy Payne says:

    It’s amazing how much of that I can relate to my own life. My father has been an alcoholic and addict my entire life. I had it in my mind, that in order for me to forgive him for events in my childhood, he would have to show me that he had changed. This led to much bitterness and anger, and needless to say, I had no relationship with my father. That is, up until a couple of years ago. I began praying about it and allowed God to let me see my father through His eyes. My dad’s temper has mellowed a bit, which I must admit has made it easier, but the person who has changed the most in the realtionship is me. I now accept what my dad can offer. Though I continue to pray for a great heart (and life) change in him, I no longer punish him by keeping my distance. I think in the long run, that is a much better witness anyway.

  131. I had (have) an emotionally absent father, so even when he was around (military), he wasn’t. However, that was much preferable to when he wasn’t home. I literally worried myself sick when he was getting ready to leave, until I was 11 and God brought me a dream that was actually what had happened when I was 3. My mom is the unstable, abusive one in my family. As a child I was never good enough (health problems & learning disabilities — sister who can do about anything without working at it). Mother is verbally & emotionally abusive, and neglected us. If it wasn’t for my maternal grandparents, (who were nothing like the parents my mom describes — different place in life?), I would not have known I was loved or had a safe place to go. I married someone like my mom, except he was physically abusive as well. Once we were in college, Daddy apologized to us girls. Mother still lives in denial, blaming everyone else for the problems she causes herself. Forgiveness definitely is a process. So easy to get frustrated, instead of focusing on all that I have to be thankful for, and trusting God to make me into who He created me to be.

  132. I needed this. I so desperatly need to let go of my past, and forgive those who hurt me. Thank you for sharing this.

  133. Thank you for sharing your testimony. I really appreciate it. God has been really dealing with me about forgiveness & this is just an extra push for me to really forgive. Thanks again, may God continue to use you!

  134. Donna,
    Thank you for your boldness, courage, humility. Thank you for your reminder that the past does NOT have to define you today. I pray for confidence in the Lord, I have it sometimes, but not all the time and not 100%. too much from the past – I have to be strong to survive; for that is the skill I learned at a very early age. I am a strong person, but that really means I’ve put a barrier between me and Jesus. In some spots. I used to have this little booklet called “My Heart Christ’s Home” and it talked about letting God into ALL areas of your heart/life. Not just the ones locked up b/c it is too “messy”. The mess I think, for me, is un-forgiveness – of my self and parents and siblings.

    So, thanks again for being a guest blogger. For being a true sister in Christ, being courageous to show vulnerability and dependence on Christ.

    Blessings to you this weekend!

  135. Wow – what a HUGE step of courage in extending forgiveness & breaking free from the chains of bondage! Will share the devo & your story with a friend who recently did forgiveness work regarding her family. Praying for you as you continue letting Jesus heal your wounded heart & the intimate love grows between you & Your heavenly Father! Thanks so much for sharing!

  136. Melanie Shannon says:

    Donna, thank you for your post and congratulations on your first P31 devotion!! Question for you: I have a strained relationship with my father. He was a good father to me growing up but he was not a good husband. My parents divorced after my brother & I had moved out of the house. Anyway, my dad did not handle the divorce well and he would call and yell at me – my mother had a restraining order so I was the next best thing. Anyway, I would tell him I was at work & hanging up which infuriated him even worse. This went on for a long time. Finally after the divorce was final things settled down. Then someone broke into our barn that me & my husband shared with my father. Although things owned by both of us was stolen, my father accused my husband of doing it. My husband & my father had never got along which had always created a little tension. The final straw was when I got the call with the ultimatum that I needed to get a divorce or no longer have a relationship with him. My son was 6 or 7 weeks old at the time so my father quit talking to me. This was 18 years ago. We saw one another at my grandmother’s funeral about 5 years ago. We talked and had lunch a time or two since then. My kids who are 18 & 13 have no desire to know their grandfather. We have talked about it numerous time. They have heard stories about my childhood but to them their grandfather is the man my mother re-married. He is wonderful man who loves them as his own. They remarried when my son was a newborn. I have fogiven my father but anytime we talk is awkward to say the least. Does forgiveness mean I have to maintain a relationship with him?

    • I pray God gives you wisdom on your situation. I do know however that forgiveness doesn’t mean that consequences are erased. I suppose if you have tried your best and have left the ball in his court, then it’s ultimately up to him to change. Sorry, i can’t be of more help.

    • Melanie, I would say “no” that forgiveness does not mean that you have to maintain a relationship with Him. I was sexually abused around the age of 8 by a friend of the family. I avoided this man like the plague after the first time of abuse. And the older I got, the more I avoided him. I truly believe that if I would have maintained a relationship he would have tried again. And I didn’t work through the forgiveness part of that one until he had passed away.

      Another example would be for someone who was raped or kidnapped to forgive their abuser. It’s great to get to that point of forgiveness but I would not want to maintain a relationship with the abusers.

  137. My ex threw me away after 32 years. Your book encouraged me to forgive daily. Would love to share the give away with a hurting friend.

  138. nancys1128 says:

    I’m in the middle of an on-line bible study right now, and today’s verses were Colossians 13-15. Part of that passage talks about how all of our sins are forgiven. And I know that just as I am, so must I forgive others. I’ll be sharing this post with the on-line group, and I’d like tosharea song here:

    It’s “Forgiveness” by Matthew West

  139. Hilda Quintanilla says:

    Goodness! (((Hugs))) Donna!!! Touched my heart as I too have some things to STILL forgive dad about. Please pray. Love!

  140. Teresa Richardson says:

    I have a copy of Confident Heart, but I would like one to send to my sister. She is separated from her husband and she is blaming him for everything. She doesn’t understand that forgiveness is for her benefit, that her bitterness is affecting her health. She is bipolar and had a manic attack after her husband moved out. She burned most of his personal possessions that she found around the house

  141. Theresa Clark says:

    I always appreciate reminders about how we must forgive to be set free. How for us, it is a process. Thank you Donna for sharing your very powerful testimony.

  142. Thank you for this post- and related posts- I am touched by your story. well – your story touches my nerves. For me and other beloved ‘sisters’ of mine. may the blessing of the Father who loves us come to be realized by all who are touched by this story.

  143. This year has been the hardest yet most precious of my life. I share the story with many of you, off a troubled childhood that has somehow managed to survive though all of my 43 years. I have carried a little girls frightened and wounded heart in a woman’s body, until God impressed on me that enough was enough and that until I could forgive and let go, I would never be free. Self imposed prisons are the hardest places to survive and until we realise that we are the prisoner, nothing will change. Forgiveness is the key that allows us to unlock our own cell doors and walk out into the glorious freedom that is a life lived in, through and for the name that is above every name, Jesus. It is a painful road to walk but step by step, day by day, the pain begins to fade and hope for a new day and a new way begins to grow. We are all daughters of the most high and holy God and are loved unconditionally and eternally. Thank you Renee and Donna for your words, for the sharing of your hearts and for the demonstration of the power of forgiveness in the books that you have shared so wonderfully with us all. May God continue to bless you both lavishly.

  144. Tyler Chandler says:

    Just wanted to thank you for reminding me to forgive unconditonally, to set my self free. From your story…I am stronger in knowing the choices I have made for my son & I are the best.

  145. Donna, thank you for sharing your story. What a joy it is to hear how God helped you to continually forgive your father! You have set a powerful example of compassion, love, and forgiveness! I am blessed to be able to call you my friend. I love you!

    <3 Heather

    • Heather, thank you so much for your encouraging words. And I am praising Him for the amazing work that He has done and is doing in my heart. And I love you too!

  146. Tamara Tipton says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I teared up then could not stop the river that flowed as the abuses (the ones I remember anyway) I have experienced flooded my brain. Many times I tell others that yes, I have forgiven, how could I do less after what Jesus has done for me? BUT, the wrong word, wrong tone, or catching myself angry at minor things, brings some things back. Unfortunately I have to interact with one of my abusers on a regular basis, and sometimes I have to get on my knees again.

    God Bless!


    • I am right there with you Tamara….there are times when I think I am wearing my knees out ….and like you I think of those strips that Jesus took for me across His back for me and I hit the knees again. Praying for you!

  147. Pauline Ramos says:

    What an encouraging post! I was especially struck with how often we need to forgive the same thing… I thought I was doing something wrong when what I had forgiven would still come up in my mind or heart. Thank you for being so for real…what an encouragement!!

  148. Mary Beth says:

    My heart was touched as I read your story. Thank you God for the gift of forgiveness and that we can walk in God’s love and experience freedom from being held by bitterness.

  149. I was touched by the story. My dad has passed away and there are things I did not get to tell him that I wish I could. I just try to remember the good times and forget the hurtful events. Sometimes it is easier saidthan done. I will continue to work on it and pray for myself as well as you!

  150. Loretta Pearson says:

    Forgiveness truly is a process! It took me months of dialy laying on God, those who abused me as a child. forgiveness came in small steps, but it’s so freeing! I’m still working on the Confident Heart! Love the book.

  151. kristen barkdull says:

    I need to forgive my mother for all the things she has done to me. She is trying to make things right. Yet I still hold everything she has done to me against her. Thank you Donna for sharing your story! It is very helpful! And thank you renee for writing a confident heart and sharing your story! I just recently gave away my copy of a confident heart to a friend in need. So I would love to win a copy! Thank you both and may the Lord continue to bless you!

  152. Struggling with forgiveness but in a different way. So much pain has been described here, and I am so sorry for the many hurts people have suffered. I am mad at myself for suffering from debilitating anxiety and I still don’t forgive my husband because his neglectfulness to our relationship for so many years is what I often feel is the cause of my insecurities. He also had an affair, which I still can not always forgive him for. I need a Confident Heart because I don’t know what it is to have one anymore. Prayers for all.

  153. Thank you for sharing your story. I am just starting to understand God’s love for me and what an awesome
    gift it is. It is healing me in ways I never would have imagined. I am being transformed. My relationships
    are improving and I don’t let things hurt me like I used to.

  154. Thank you for sharing today. Last year someone who I thought was my friend hurt me very deeply as she only wanted my friendship to be close to my husband. This friendship almost destroyed my marriage but it didn’t. My husband and I sought Christian counseling and started attending Celebrate Recovery a Christ centered program. Today our marriage is stronger than ever. During our journey I found out that as long as I harbored unforgiveness in heart toward another person I was not going to grow and the only person I was hurting was myself as she could have cared less. Was it easy to forgive her? Absolutely not! I could not forgive in my own strength but with God’s strength I could.

  155. Forgiveness has always been a difficult thing for me to do. I realize that by not forgiving I’m trapping myself, but I don’t know how to forgive. I need help in this area of my life, as I need to work on forgiving my mother and my sister. Learning that forgiveness is not a one time deal is interesting to me. I can see that forgiveness is a constant part of life. I ask the Lord for his guidance in this area of my life as the past 30 years have been a challenge between myself, my mom and my sister. The three of us don’t seem to understand each other. I’m anxious to read the Confident Heart and apply it to my life.

    • Praying with you! And yes, A Confident Heart is an amazing read and was so blessed to walk through it with Renee. Her words will fall fresh on your heart and transform it.

  156. Stacey Bernstein says:

    God’s timing is amazing! Struggling at the door of forgiveness now. I’ve forgiven my ex husband for having an affair, I’ve forgiven him of walking out….. 4 years later it has cycled back around and I can’t quite get myself to the place to forgive him for changing my son’s life forever…. for walking out on an 8 month old…. this time around it’s not about me and how his actions affected me….. this time it’s all about my son. I know where I need to be, I know what is right and what I need to do…. but I can’t quite get there…….

    • Feeling your pain. I struggled for 40 plus years. Praying and asking God to lead you where He wants you. Praying for God to lead you to the point of forgiveness that He desires in you – not others – but in Him.

  157. It seems like forgiveness sometimes has layers. I have worked hard to forgive someone who has hurt me over and over very. I think that I have forgiven her but then I get in such a panic every time I see her that I wonder if my forgiveness is real.

    • I like that analogy of the layers. I can see that. And I see how the forgiveness gets easier with sighting of the friend that hurt you. So sorry for your pain and praying for you and your friend.

  158. christine lowe says:

    Reading your life experiences as a child felt familiar. One of my earliest memories is my gradmother knocking my grandfather out cold one night in the kitchen. It was close to Christmas and she used a statue of the Virgin Mary. That must have been the nearest thing she could put her hand on. I grew up very afraid of anger. My solution was to be a good girl and disappear whenit got bad. It took me many,many years and alot of therapy not to close down when there was any kind of disagreement. I never even thought about forgiveness and then when I realized I needed to forgive, it took even longer to see I needed to forgive for me not for them. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to remember a hard learned lesson. May we always remember that God has everything under control and our only job is to love and obey Him.

    • Thanks so much for sharing. I would always try to stay up and stay awake thinking that my Dad wouldn’t go off on my mom when he walked in. My fear was that he would hurt my Mom. Not quite sure how a 5 year old was going to manage that one … but it was my thought.

  159. Jenna Hall says:

    Thank you for sharing your story today. I am reading “A Confident Heart” now. God is reteaching me so many important truths like forgiveness and emotional healing. He is filling me with His word and helping me find the woman that He created me to be. It is so amazing how each person’s life journey can bring her closer to her truest Father.

  160. My father just got out of prison after 23 years this time. I hthought I had forgiven him but I can’t even want to go see him. It’s 5 hours away and I can’t afford it right now. But my heart just isn’t ready. I have bought your book but haven’t gotten to it yet still reading “Unglued”

  161. I also felt I was reading about my childhood
    just different characters,and storyline.I lost my
    father back when he was 60,and didn’t feel
    a sense of loss or grief at his funeral.I attributed
    it to any love I might have felt towards him was
    destroyed by his utter disgust and mean spirit
    towards me my entire childhood.Through counseling
    for my own issues years later I learned he was
    doing the best with what he knew.That helped
    me see a different perspective,because I had to
    come to terms with some of my negative adult
    behaviors.I still think I lost so much of that needed
    guidance from having a loving and present
    father but with faith I know I have the best father
    watching over and living me and that is God.

  162. Elaine Segstro says:

    I don’t want to be “poisoned” by the bitterness of not forgiving. My dad and other relatives have hurt me and my husband. I/we “think” we have forgiven them, but still feel awkward around them. I am nervous about approaching them, and I’m not sure that the relationship will ever be the same again. Life can really hurt.

    • Yep, life can really hurt. So thankful that God doesn’t leave us by ourselves. Love is promise that no matter what He will never leave us nor forsake us.

      Praying that God will take away the awkardness and replace it with His peace.

  163. My heart has been through these same hurts, Donna. It is so painful to be abandoned by a father. It took me about 30 years to forgive and accept him for who is really is. So true, we cannot change anyone; but we can CHOOSE to accept and forgive them when they have wronged us. Jesus commands this of us.
    I was touched by your personal story.

  164. Anna Duursma says:

    Even though my bio father has been gone for several years, I pray each time I think of him that God would give me the strength to forgive him yet again. And I pray that some day I won’t have to pray for the strength to forgive, and that I can think his name and only wish that he understood what he missed out on.

  165. Thank you for this devotional today. I am one who is struggling to walk away from the darkness of the past. It has caused many problems in my life and this devotional truly was another gift for me because of the words I have been reciving from God. Thank you for sharing.

  166. Donna, thank you for sharing your heart. I just came off the Long Island Credo Recovery Weekend and there are so many of us women who carry hurts from our childhood. We all need a safe place to share, and a safe place to start to heal. I love it that God connects us even through painful memories, to draw us closer to Him, and to build up the body of Christ. Our Theme for the Credo weekend was A Confident Heart and our Bible verse for the weekend was Heb. 10:35-36 (NLT) “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” Many blessings to you dear sister in Christ and to the Proverbs 31 Ministry and all who work there. And Renee…. Larcarthia, who you sent a signed copy of your book, was confident enough to get on an airplane and travel from IL to NY to serve on the Credo weekend. What a mighty God we serve!!!!!

  167. My dad disowned my sister and I when I was eighteen. He wrote a letter that told us we were out if his will for not getting a 4.0 in college. He was an alcoholic who had been married five times, been arrested for carrying on with a minor, duis, and the list goes on. I hadn’t heard from him since 1990. He made contact with my sister and me a year ago. He is remorseful. I have forgiven him (thru lots of counseling). It doesn’t mean I like him or want to spend time with him. But God has helped me forgive. I want everyone to know on this board that I am sorry for all of the pain each one of us have due to our dads hurtin us. I am praying for all of us tonight.

  168. Gerry Worthington says:

    I really needed the post today. As I read about her Dad it was my ex-husband that made me feel that way. I am having a hard time forgiving him and a hard time forgiving myself for allowing this to happen. I thank God that he has forgiven me but I know I need his help in the forgiveness I must give and in asking for forgiveness of others that have been hurt by my actions or inactions over the thirty two year marriage. I am studying “Unglued” at the moment but this is the next book I will buy.

  169. Joanna McInnes says:

    Can’t tell you how real that felt to me as I’ve grown up with rejection! But also can’t say enough how important it is to forgive! As you are not responsible for how & what people say & do to you, but we are responsible to how we react to that! If it takes years to process & believe God for the ability to forgive, like it has me; that’s okay, cause at least we’re on the way to being whole!! Cause God can only make the broken & shattered parts of our lives whole when we let Him, cause as He’s a gentleman; He won’t force us to give Him our lives! But I can say it’s so worth it though?! It’s only when you start becoming whole, you realise how awesome life can really be! You know that song:- ‘Something beautiful, something good; all my confusion He understood! All I had to offer Him was brokenness & strife; but He’s made something beautiful out of my life’!

  170. Thank you so much Donna for sharing. I am truly touched and moved by your story. It’s been over 20 years of painful memories of my parents abusive behavior towards me and my sisters that I struggle on a daily basis. I’ve forgiven them a few years ago, but the memories still arise. Today was especially difficult and praise God for your story and the timing. You reminded me of the importance of forgiveness and that it is a choice that must be made on a daily and even hourly basis. Thank you again and many blessings!!

  171. I let it all go ,again, today. I processed my pain, my grief, my need to forgive. 2 people who had never prayed for this issue with me stopped what they were doing and prayed with me. Thank you Jesus, Joy comes in the morning. I still will have tears on my pillow, but joy comes in the morning. He lets us cry when it is just me and Him alone and night…as the Psalmist says, “My couch (Bed) is trenched with tears”, but Joy comes in the morning.

  172. Donna, how can you possibly respond to all of the comments on how your story has blessed us? Thank you for sharing your heart. I grew up in foster homes after my parents died at a very young age. Always craving love and to be loved – nothing ever seemed to satisfy the love I seemed to need to complete me. I am just beginning to learn HOW much God loves me. His hand has always been on my life. There are times I feel like I’ll never be complete until I make it home with Jesus. But I am trying to find joy here on earth. I felt your pain as I read your story. Thank you for blessing me with it. May God continue to pour into you each and every day! He made you for Him and he Blessed US with YOU. Thank you.

    • Dawn, so thankful that God is revealing Himself to you as a God of love, joy and blessing. He loves us with an unfailing unconditionally love. And He will never leave us nor forsake us. Love those promises!!!

      And it is hard to reply to everyone. Praying for grace. And I did leave a prayer for everyone at the end.

  173. Jackie Shipley says:

    This was a timely message as I am in the thick of a difficult situation. I received hate mail from my in laws. They did this on Birthday of my deceased daughter. It is so hard to forgive them.

  174. Josie Lytle says:

    I have so been touched by these stories in many ways. My father was sexually abusive and as a child growing up I still loved the part of him that was good. As he got older he got really bitter and never once did he admit to his wrong doing but God gave me forgiveness in my heart for him. It amazes me now that I am older how many women have gone through the same thing, or something similar. It is a joy to be able to share and heal with others. Thank you for your post. Your friend in Christ, Josie

  175. Donna it amazes me how many women share similar stories of fathers who were so influenced by the enemy. There needs to be a book for The Confident Man. The root of my father’s behavior was not feeling loved , wanted, worthy or important. Unfortunately his actions passed on those same feelings to me and his other 9 children. He was so loved and respected in our small town but we hid the secrets of alcoholism, verbal , emotional and physical abuse. Back then it was called “beatings” or “whippings.” Ugh
    Years passed and by the grace of Hod and a praying mother most of us were able to put the past behind us and he enjoyed several wonderful grandchildren. Three siblings took him into their homes st various times when his health began to decline. At his funeral my youngest brother said “dad was a better grandfather than a dad.” I didn’t realize until reading your blog that I still need to work on forgiveness and he’s been gone 6 years. My son walked away 2 years ago and although I did forgive him in my heart, I have to catch myself when my mind drifts back to hurtful memories. Thank you for sharing the Scripture which I will copy into my notes to memorize. God Bless you and all the women who have commented here and all those who haven’t.

  176. Oops I meant by the grace of God not “Hod'”. These smart phones aren’t do smart after all 🙂

  177. Thank you for your honesty and transparency about your relationship with your dad. Forgiving my dad has definitely been a process and a journey. I’m not at the end of it yet but I keep listening and obeying and trusting Him who is healing me from my past and my future keeps shining brighter. My father cannot hurt me anymore and My God is mighty to save! I pray for my dad’s soul – that he may turn from the things of this world and know God and finally have real peace – as God gives. Thanks again for your devotions. They are such a blessing!

  178. kimberly holen says:

    Speechless….what an inspirational post. I don’t know if u could be that strong and forgive. Thanks for sharing such a touching and amazing post. A blessing to have read that today.

  179. Dianne McKagan says:

    I can remember my dad doing things like this, maybe not on this scale, but still uncontrollable fits of rage. I always felt they were my fault for some reason. I was an only child, so the problem couldn’t be a sibling’s error. My mom seemed to be perfect in everyone’s eyes, so it certainly couldn’t be her mistake. I loved my Pop unconditionally… so who was left? It has taken me almost 60 years to come to the realization that it was not MY fault… not really anyone’s fault. My dad was what one would call bipolar now… and was not treated. Depression, and its many counterparts run rampant in our family history. And when you grow up “knowing about God” but not really “KNOWING God”… it makes a difference. My relationship with The Lord, along with some counseling and medication, have helped me to realize I needed to forgive myself! I was not to blame for his outrageous behavior…and I am a fine person, and I don’t have to be “perfect” because my mom isn’t really perfect either. Knowing God has my back is the best feeling ever!

  180. Deanna F. says:

    I struggle with forgiveness for my parents and my ex-husband. I have times where I forgive them and then other times when the pain re-surfaces, and I couldn’t figure out why it still hurt. Now I see forgiveness is ongoing. I am glad to know I am not the only one. I definately need Jesus to help me because I know I couldn’t do it on my own, I don’t have the strength. What about the times when I hang around my mom for too long and she starts driving me (or my husband) crazy? I try to limit my time to a day or so because I want to have a good relationship with her and if we are together for too much time…it’s just not good.

  181. Carrie Lynn says:

    Wow! Today’s post really caught my eye. I know exactly what Donna feels for I was raised with rage and chaos like this. I have worked through forgiving my parents (my father died in May) but now I am faced with forgiving my husband who’s rage is not quite so “in your face” however the feelings it creates in me are so real and hurtful I am struggling to even stay in a conversation much less a marriage lately. I need to get this book and work through forgiveness–the Lord keeps bringing forgiveness up with me. Bless you both!

  182. Thanks so much for sharing this! it really touched me. I have the book on my kindle, I am definitely going to read it now!!

  183. My husband of 31 years has filed for divorce.

    • Lord, I would ask that you would flood Sheila with your love as she processes the hurt from her husband filing for divorce. Go before her, comfort her, guard her, protect her and wrap your arms around her and wipe the tears and anger away. Provide for her and draw her close to your heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  184. This is a tough one for me. I’m so thankful for Christian women who give such wonderful encouragement. Thanks!

  185. Thank you for your devotional. Recently feeling a bit empty and without connection to God. It is hard for me to talk to Him. My job is very demanding and I don’t feel confident enough in what I do. My doubts about myself and my abilities are kicking off…Living away from my family makes me sad and I miss them so much…crying to God and asking him what he wants from me, why is He keeping me here…Thanks for your words today, it reminded me that I can find comfort and ecouragement in Him no matter where I am, what I do and how I feel. I am His precious daughter for ever.

    • Praying that God will fill you with a desire to thirst and seek after Him. Praying that he will take the sadness away and fill it with His joy – the best kind of joy. I too live about 11 hours drive time from family and it hard – especially around the holidays. Praying God will direct you to a church family that will love on you like crazy. That’s one of the first things I did when I moved from Texas to Kansas City was search out a truth teaching church. God has provided some amazing friends through it! Praying the same for you.

  186. I too have Dad issues. My Dad abandoned our family when I was 7. Many heartbreaks along the way. I have chosen to forgive Dad with God ‘s help. Dad is 85 now still does not live near us, my concern is for him to be right with the Lord before he goes. Thank you.

  187. I too have Dad issues. He failed our family and caused many heartbeaks along the way. I have asked God to help me forgive. I just continue to pray for him to be right with the Lord.

  188. wow that was powerful!! I’m learning how to be more forgiving when I am wronged. it’s not always easy but when I struggle I just remember how God has forgiven me and then it’s not hard at all. when we are wronged, it hurts and we feel the pain…. it’s not a good feeling. Remembering how we feel in those moments helps us understand how others feel when we have wronged them too. blessings !!

  189. cindy shipley says:

    wow great story i grew up never knowing a father or who my father was . and my mom passed a couple years ago she did a great job and i love her dearly i really read this story and it hit home i got some praying to do and a lot of forgiving

  190. Very hard to forgive those who have hurt us but a big reminder for me thinking how many times I have hurt my Jesus and the many times He gives forgiveness! Thank you Jesus

  191. Tammy Whitworth says:

    The devotional gave me hope. I havent read the book yet. Imagine how I will feel after I read it. Ive started to realize a few negative things over the years about my parents and there are some other negative things from my past also that I think this book would help me to let go of them. Thank you for sharing this part of your life.
    So thankful to be a child of God,
    Tammy Whitworth

    • So thankful that the story and the words that God gave me bring your hope. As He is our hope. Praying for you and praising him alongside you for the fact that we are His children.

  192. This story of forgiveness is all too familiar. My father was an alcoholic and before he passed away four years ago, I had to do some forgiving. It was difficult but I knew for me, I had to work through all those feelings from my past. His death was still hard because I had to mourn the father I wanted him to be even though he and I were not close. Forgiveness is a powerful thing especially for those doing the forgiving. Thank you for sharing this story.

  193. This made me think back the time that I had unforgiveness towards my dad. As a child, he was never home. Always traveling on business, until one day he got very ill. He had gotten a stroke and his health deteriorated for 8 years. Well, he was home all the time now but was not the dad that was taking care of us. I was 7 years old and now we had to take care of him. Not fair! Why God! I thought. Slowly my sadness would be turning into resentment, anger, shame and unforgiveness. After 8 long years, my dad passed away. I became numb and rebellious towards God. Didn’t understand why God allow so much suffering in our family. At the same time I felt relieved. We could finally move on. Could I really? I was still carrying that
    dead corpse on my back (unforgiveness).
    I thought I had a good excuse why I was the way I was. I had let my circumstances and my past define me.
    Not knowing that I was in bondage, I continued to move different places thinking life would be better. Little did I know that God was still pursuing me.
    Finally one day, after becoming pregnant and being in a ungodly relationship I told God. Ok God, I need to make it right with you. Help me because this is getting too hard for me and I didn’t like the person I was becoming. One of the thoughts He brought to my mind was carrying unforgiveness towards God and towards my dad. Thank you Lord for forgiving us and for your love and mercy.
    God Bless!

    • Praising Him for His forgiveness too!! We are loved by an amazing God who loves us like crazy in spite of ourselves. Love that he loves us unconditionally. No matter what we do – he still loves us!!

  194. This is an e-mail I recently sent to some friends. Have a beautiful day!

    Hi all! Happy Fall! Ok that was really cheesy! I am sending this email for myself mostly so that I will remember how God spoke to me today but if it helps anyone else, praise the Lord.

    I have trouble with forgiveness. I don’t know why, but I actually enjoy holding a grudge. Did I really type that?

    I was hurt today. I overheard a lady talking to an associate about me on a phone call. She didn’t realize that she had forgotten to put the mute button on. Then when she came back on (even though I was really there the whole time) she lied to me. I was really angry!

    I could have let this spoil my weekend, seriously. But the Lord in His perfect way began to soften my heart. I actually prayed (reluctantly at first) for the girl and the Lord changed my heart. Bitterness doesn’t hurt anyone but the person that is bitter. It is SO much better to forgive. I still feel a little sad and hurt, but a burden has been lifted since I forgave her!

    I love the forgiveness song by Matthew West

    Have a beautiful weekend!

  195. This story is so familiar. While my father has always been in my life the abuse we had as children still lingers. I’m grateful that the Lord choose to save me so that I could forgive my Dad and still have a relationship with him, unfortunately my siblings and mom have not. Unlike my siblings and I my mom still lives with the emotional abuse of my dad daily. Please pray that she and my dad will come to Christ so that healing can begin. So touched by this today. Thank you!

  196. Forgiveness is such a difficult thing to do…and even when I believe I can forgive, I find it so difficult to move forward! My parents continue to live a miserable existence; I know I can’t expect them to change; I must keep changing. But I find it so hard to continue to take their verbal abuse and not let it affect me. I wish them the best; I have no desire to get back at them or wish them evil, but there continues to be a distance between us, and I don’t seem to have the will to continue to put up with their antics. Yes, they are my parents, but to have anything to do with them brings me such heartache. At this time, they have chosen to have nothing to do with me, and I am satisfied with that fact…I truly don’t want to be with them the way they are. I pray that God gives me strength to come to some understanding and acceptance of my parents.

  197. forgiveness is one of my hardest things to get rid of..
    Can also really put a damper on ones growth with The Father.

  198. Christine says:

    This was a really good post because I had to stop and think about who in my life I had not forgiven, just to make sure there were no lingering ghosts of unforgiveness out there. Well I found some and went to work immediately on forgiving all so I can be set free from Satan’s traps! Thank you for such a wonderful post!!

  199. Forgiveness, as we all know, is very difficult at times. I’ve forgiven many people in my lifetime. The most current is my husband. I had forgiven the initial wrongdoing, but I keep confronted with the same hurt from him. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to do. But I keep praying and trying to work through my hurts, in hopes he will eventually see the damage being done.

  200. What an amazing story of forgiveness! I really appreciated your friend Stephanie’s question to you. I felt the tears coming as I read it and your response. It’s wonderful that God gives us good friends to help us through those tough times in life. May you be richly blessed!

  201. Thank you so much for the reminder of God’s forgiveness to us and grace in helping us overcome our past. My dad died when I was 11 and prior to that my parents were missionaries to Peru. I have a very difficult time in seeing that God allowed things to happen in my life for a reason and I need to embrace where He has me now, and choose to look forward to the ways He will continue to work in my life. I definitely need prayer in dealing with past issues so I can daily choose and desire to be a more Godly and respectful wife and mother.

  202. I posted this on Donna’s blog earlier today:

    Donna, thank you for blessing me with your devotion on P31 today! I had a similar relationship with my father. In the past year he passed away along with my stepmother and my mother. A year of loss that has left me reeling. But God is good and gave me the chance to look into my father’s eyes and tell him that despite our estrangement, I loved him. I always loved him. Even though he couldn’t speak, I truly believe he said the same back to me within his eyes. What a blessing. Today I woke after a long trip back from Ireland. Tired. Sad. Full of anxiety before my day even started. I just needed a hug from God. A reminder that He is with me always and filling my day with blessings if I choose to see them. I made my way to P31 for some of the encouragement that I’ve found on numerous occasions. Your words have started the day with fresh perspective and I so appreciate them. My day is reset and I am ready to live in His light!

    And I am delighted for you as you take these new steps in writing and sharing your testimony! I hope you have a wonderful weekend of joy! In Jesus’ Name, Michelle

  203. Hi—just a quick comment. For some reason, I can forgive easy–UNLESS it is a Christian brother or sister. I guess I hold them to a higher standard..I don’t know, but it surprised me. I’ve had to pray about different situations a lot in that area.

  204. Thank you for sharing your story. While I was blessed with a wonderful family, I still find I have trust issues and have a hard time putting the past behind me once I’ve been hurt. Thank you for this reminder that everyone makes mistakes and I really need to take the next step in completely forgiving certain people, before I lose relationahips completely.

  205. Thank you so much for the piece on forgiveness .. I would like to ask for prayer for my mother to be able to forgive some members of our family that she has had issues with in the past. She just can’t seem to get over some things and move on and it makes it really hard on my dad since it is his family.. Thank you!

  206. Jeannie L says:

    The irony of this devotion is uncanny! My father left my mother after over 40 years of marriage about 3 years ago as a result of an adulterous affair he had. This was not his first affair and have been forgiven many times over. The tidal wave of destruction he has left has caused so many family relationships to become estranged, including mine and his. My father’s sister (my aunt) passed away on Friday and he did not go to her funeral because he did not want to be around other family members who do not approve of what he has done. However, your email devotion and blog reminds me that while my father and I no longer have a relationship, I still need to forgive him for the pain and hurt he causes. I cannot carry this with me as it will have it’s own ripple effect in my life. Thank you Donna and Renee for your ministry and sending God’s messages along at just the right time!
    Blessing to you today!

  207. Thank you for sharing your experience – it truly is helpful.
    I was especially moved by the reminder to forgive as past hurts resurface. WOW!! I’m usually so blindsided and licking my wounds that forgiveness is the furthest thing from my thoughts. It is so important to remember how forgiving our heavenly Father is and that we need to be generous in our forgiveness of others …”especially when the memories of the past come flooding in.” It’s just that it brings up so much hurt that now manifests itself as anger and my husband doesn’t know how to respond. I just need a soft place to be loved even when I deserve it the least. He just doesn’t get it…
    Please pray for my husband and I to let go and let God help us figure out how to deal with these feelings. He has his own too and I don’t want him to be burdened either.
    Thank you for being a willing vessel for our loving Father to use. You truly help so many and are such a blessing. God continue to be with you.

  208. Debbie Curto says:

    I know all these words well when it comes to my dad! I have always felt that I wasn’t good enought for my dad. And even through I have tried I am still trying to win his love!

  209. Praise God for you, Renee! Thank you so much for sharing openly and honestly with us. It is hard not to keep a record of wrongs suffered. I really don’t think I have trouble with forgiving, but…. there is something which keeps me from living an abundant, full life in confidence in my Lord. I am whimpy, especially when it comes to my 15 year old daughter. I want to be stronger, like my mom was. I grew up with an alcoholic dad and there were many times I was afraid. I believe I am over most, if not all, of that. Yet, I still have a nervous laugh, and my daughter hates it. It is not laughing at her, but she thinks so. I am tired of that, and backing down with her. Things have to be able to be different. There is much more to it than what I can write here, and God is healing me and purifying my heart. His dealings lately have been a real blessing. Praise Him!

    God bless you richly!

  210. Both the devotional & blog post are truly hitting home with me – especially right now. Just over 3 years ago my mom walked away from my dad, me, and my brothers for another man. And, this coming Saturday was supposed to be my wedding day, but about a month and a half ago my fiance came home & told me that he no longer loved me. I’m feeling all of the things Donna talked about – Betrayed, Abandoned, Unwanted, Rejected, Unloved… I’m in a constant state of healing, of knowing that God’s love is the only love that matters, and that I’m constantly striving to know that God’s love is the only perfect love, He was willing to die for me, and that He WILL keep all of His promises. I’m still struggling daily with showing my mom forgiveness, and also forgiving my ex-fiance. But, I know with God’s help that I will heal & overcome. Thank you so much for blessing me with both the devotional & blog – I’ve printed both to post as constant reminders 🙂

  211. I can so relate the “Learning to Forgive” — my forgiveness was more in learning to forgive myself. I made some bad choices in my teen years that lead to an abortion at 15 and a daughter I gave up for adoption a week after my 18th birthday. I couldn’t except that God could/would forgive me.
    But HE didn’t give up on me —- and the peace I now have is amazing. God has used me in so many ways. It’s sad at all the blessings I missed out on all because I wouldn’t forgive myself.
    Thank you sweet Jesus for your love, patience, and guidance!

  212. As I read Donna’s story memories of my alcoholic uncle came flooding into my thoughts. We were scared to death of him when he was drinking and he was good as gold when sober. He eventually committed suicide. Growing up with those actions around you leave such an impact on your life. I’d like to be entered for the giveaway.

  213. Thank you for sharing that Donna. It reminded me of me, only I was the one with the three little girls, and I’m the one that fled a bad situation. My daughters’ are all grown now and they are finding their own way in their relationship with their father. I have taught them to pray for their earthly father and know that their heavenly father is with them always and that helped them to be open to understanding that they can’t change their dad but they can still love him, forgive him, and pray for him.

    Yvonne 🙂

  214. Thank you SO much! God has been using this book to change my life. It is a constant struggle, but with God’s help I keep at it!

  215. Toni Haefs says:

    I am so on board with the forgiving of our dad. I have two dads I needed to forgive not only my biological but my step dad as well. One absent and one an alcoholic, abusive and cruel. I lived the life of the alcohol, anger, crazed madness and the one with missing my daddy like no other as he would choose when to see me or most of the time not. I am 36 now and have processed most of the hurt I have and after going thru treatment my self for alcoholism am continuing to reach out for God’s truth with each memory or hurt that may come up. This girl loves her daddy and so wishes it would have been different but I can’t change that. I do understand both of my dads actions as they did as they were taught by their parents but it never lessens the blow. Thank you for sharing your story Donna and bless your heart for opening up to allow us to share with you as well. Renee will be coming to Sioux City, IA next year for our Compel Conference with her book The Confident Heart and what better timing for me to win a copy of it but NOW as I finish up the OBS “Unglued” and move to allowing my heart to be confident! Amen to that Lord!

    • I will see you at Compel too! And I’m praying for you as you continue on your journey of forgiveness. It’s an amazing book – life changing! My go to book when I begin doubting myself. I have worn my copy out!! Can’t wait to meet you at Compel!!! Praying for no snow that weekend!

  216. anonymous says:

    Well as I read this, my mind recalled the memories of living my childhood. You see i was a victim of sexual abuse from my father and mother who new but indirectly blamed me. I cant tell u one thing that fixed me but God put a series if events and encounters with people that help heal my damaged emotions and restore me to a healthy person. I thank God for hope and love that continues to restore me.Thank you.

  217. I thoroughly enjoyed Donna’s story of forgiveness. I hope she continues to write. It reminds me how I must strive to stay in the light. When I was 18 years old I chose to abort my child. I kept this secret for over 35 years, until I shared my story with Matthew West who was inspired to write the song, “The Healing Has Begun”. I have since dedicated my life to God by first accepting His forgiveness and truly coming to understand that He died for me personally. His blood covers ALL of my sins; past, present and future. God is giving me opportuities to help lead other women out of darkness and into the light by sharing my story and co-leading a post abortion recovery bible study. Satan trys to tempt me back to that dark place, but as I learn to Digest God’s Word, Satan’s voice becomes so much weaker. Thank you Lord!

    • Ginny,

      Thanks for sharing your story and being bold and courageous to share. And just saying …. I love Matthew West. Praising Him for the redemptive and work of forgiveness that He is doing in your heart too! Amazing story of how He loves us so! And I love that you are using your story to touch the hearts of others in your recovery class. He is getting all the glory and praise!!

  218. Victoria R says:

    thank you for this post and for sharing your story with us, I can truly relate to the pain and fear you experienced as a child. For me, keeping a record of wrongs is what I struggle with and it is still especially difficult as I try to navigate my relationships with my parents now that I’m a parent myself. Reading posts like yours and Renee’s book (still haven’t finished it) encourages me to keep seeking God’s wisdom and strength as I continue to forgive others.

  219. It wasn’t until I learned to forgive my father that I could open my heart to my Heavenly Father. The abuse and brokeness overshadowed every corner of my life and I had to learn to forgive and let go before I could walk in God’s love and light. It has been 5 years since I began my journey of forgiveness and my life is now filled with peace. Thank you for your book. Actually, I have purchased 4 copies at different times expecting to read it for myself and each and every time I meet someone right after receiving it and the Spirit puts it on my hear that they need to hear your message and I am to give them your book.

    Thank you for your devotion to your calling.

    Sharon W.

  220. Donna helped me to realize that forgiveness is, indeed, an “on-going” process. I thought I had forgiven my ex, and I still think that I have forgiven him, but like Donna, when these images of the past pop up – it’s like re-living the past – instilling fear in me once more. I now know, that I have to forgive him every time one of these scary moments of the past rise up inside of me. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for making sense of all this. Forgiveness helps to heal the past. You’ll probably never know just how many lives you’ve touched – will continue to touch. You are truly a blessing from God. Thank you.

  221. Thank you for sharing something so difficult as memories of your alcoholic father. I had an alcoholic mother , who was not abusive, but neglectful, (equally as difficult to forgive). I have often found the best remedy is to not think about my past. Through my walk with the Lord these past 40 years however, I have realized the goodness of God, and how I can reveal His character of compassion, and unlimited forgiveness to others. He, in return has been 24/7 attentive to me:)!

  222. I enjoyed Donna’s writing on forgiveness. I went through having to forgive my Dad years ago. My parents weren’t married when I was born in 1951, but my father wanted my Mom to take me to see him about every 6 weeks. We did that until I was 6 or 7. I never got to say good-bye, he just took off. I felt for years that I had done something that made him reject me. I was in my 30’s when I realized I had to forgive him, not for him, but for me. My husband and I have been in ministry for 38 years and it was while I was a young pastor’s wife that I went through that process. Forgiveness is definitely a choice, not a feeling. Thanks.

  223. Hi. My father was very abusive not only in our childhood but even now as we witness how he treats our mother who made the decision to stay and persevere (i’m now 43, she is 73). My father was abusive mental, physically, emotionally, sexually. Forgiveness is a work in progress and i try to lean on God but i find that i am so stuck in trying to forgive my father for what happened that i have built a massive wall around – one which keeps out any emotional relationships with everyone else. The only two people that i’ve allowed in past my wall are my kids. I find if i decide to again forgive my father, i’m faced with it all again the following day. It’s exhausting and i don’t know how to lean on God. I want to get past this once and for all because it’s lonely here.

    Your blog inspired me and i will continue to try.

  224. Thank you for this reminder of how important forgiveness is. I like to remember, though, that more often than not forgiveness is something I do for myself so that I can be free from the chains of hurt and resentment that keep me separated from my father, God.

  225. Love this reminder that unforgiveness can seperate us from the love of my Abba Father!

  226. First of all, I would love to thank each and everyone of you for allowing me the privilege to share my ongoing journey of forgiveness with you. And a special thanks to Renee. It was through the words that God gave her to share with me in A Confident Heart that turned my world upside down and my heart inside out for Him. I honestly felt that I was laying across the little black counselor’s couch as Renee read each page of A Confident Heart personally to me. And then with each page turned, God moved my heart towards His freedom and towards the LIGHT. Not only did God define my issues in and through her words, He used Renee to give me practical application as to how to life in the LIGHT and have A CONFIDENT HEART.

    My prayer is that God would move each of your hearts to forgive those that have hurt you and that you too will move to the LIGHT and live in His peace and freedom. It is our choice and praying that each of you would make that next right choice.

    Praying God’s blessings upon each of you and praying for His forgiveness to flood you and for His love to fall fresh on each heart as you make your journey towards having A Confident Heart.

    Thanks again for investing in my story with your words of encouragement and truth,

    Blessings upon blessing to each of you,

    Donna B


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