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Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine. She has a very beautiful soul. I don’t talk to her all the time, but when I do I always enjoy it. She’s older than me too. I’ll call this friend’s name Jenna.

Jenna is a sweet, loving, kind, understanding and forgiving woman. She loves her home, her family, her children, and especially the man she married. They had a great life. They didn’t know what the future would be like for them, but they truly trusted in God that all would work out. 

Eventually, Jenna and the man she married (also a friend of mine), started their family. Before  they got married, I didn’t know Jenna very well, but as I got to know her better I continued to see how sweet of a person she was. Sometimes my family and I had the privilege of having her over in our home with her family. Jenna and her family lived far, so it was always great when she would visit.

She had a few younger boys that were so precious. I enjoyed helping with the kids when she’d come to visit or when I visited her. She had great advice and would share her experiences freely. Of course Jenna wasn’t perfect, nor was her husband. They had their ups and downs that were difficult. 

They struggled like all couples do, and then things would be okay again. After sometime it began to take a toll on their relationship. Her husband was going through things and Jenna tried to help where she could. Jenna was the kind of person who was willing to work things out, but who also respected herself enough to not be treated poorly. She forgave time and time again (something I don’t know if I could do). I’m sure there were times she wanted to give up and wished things could just be the way they used to be. She loved her husband and wanted him to know she would fight this battle with him (IF)- he was willing to fight too. Even though he was the reason the issues began, there came a time where he wasn’t willing to fight any longer.

She gave him many chances, but in the end her husband was not willing to keep working things out and eventually filed for a divorce. I’m sure you can imagine how this would have hurt Jenna. She suffered quite a bit. She worked hard to take care of her boys, clean their home, work, take the boys to school, keep up with her faith etc. I’m sure she had many questions in her heart too. 

I got word of Jenna’s divorce and what was going on when I was out of town for a while. I did keep in contact while I was gone every once in a while, but Jenna never mentioned it (probably because she didn’t want to feel like a burden or… I’m not actually sure why). I was so sad for her. I wondered to myself why did this happen? I loved both Jenna and her husband. How will they get through it? How will Jenna survive this? I kept her in my prayers!🙏🏾 The divorce took a toll on Jenna but… she never lost sight of her faith in God. It might have been shaken but not lost!

I’m not sure how Jenna’s story will end, but I believe it will be made right again!😊

I share this story because even though Jenna was hurt so badly, she still had room in her heart to forgive her husband. Even though he just about broke her, she got back up. I’m sure it was not easy at all. I’m sure there were many days and nights filled with tears. Through all of it she didn’t lose God, and He was what made forgiving possible. It would have been easy to just be bitter about her situation and never choose to forgive her husband, but she knew that would just steal her of her happiness.

Jenna chose to forgive not because she really wanted to. She was mad, hurt, angry and bitter but, because she loved God and knew He would make things right. Because Jenna made God a part of her mourning and forgiving process, she is finding Joy in the journey. 

My main message is to “let forgiveness begin with G. O. D.” It’s the only way. Don’t let other people's pain cause you to lose your Joy! Let God help you forgive so you can forget and move on. It’s so hard to let go of pain, but it’s even harder when God isn’t there to heal that pain. 

Be like Jenna and choose to let go, and choose to let God! It will never be easy, and may be something that will never fully heal, but making God your strength will make all the difference. 

Here are some of Jenna’s words on what forgiveness and healing was like for her⬇️

“Forgiveness for me has not been a one time thing. I have had to forgive over and over and over, and a lot of the times I'm just not in the right place to forgive because I still have so much healing to do. I have learned that sometimes we're not willing to forgive because we try to protect ourselves with hatred and there's so much pain we're afraid of losing that shields us. But as I turn to Jesus and trust Him and see His influence in my life, I feel safer and it's easier to let go of  hatred. It's also such a relief because feeling hatred all the time also hurts me. 

I've also learned that while it is essential for our peace to forgive it's also essential to hold people accountable to the best of our ability. I thought I was doing the right thing by forgiving again and again and again but… because I was missing the accountability piece I also allowed myself to be lied to and deceived again and again

“I don't think forgiveness is possible without the  Atonement, because it's through the Savior's Atonement that our sins and everyone else's sins are paid for and it's also how we receive healing”.

What lessons have you learned from God about forgiveness?

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