Forgiveness and Reconcilation When I was a little girl I received a lot of forgiveness. Somehow at a young age I discovered that if I confessed what I had done wrong before I got caught, my parents were much less upset with me than if I waited to be discovered. So I told on myself often. After a while I began to do it more out of a desire to be free from the guilt than from a desire to receive a more lenient punishment. I really cannot begin to imagine how many times I went through the process of doing something wrong, feeling terrible, telling on myself, then being forgiven. While I cannot count the number of times I received forgiveness, I can say for sure that it was enough, because when I found myself in the position of a betrayed spouse I was able to reach deep into my heart and find enough forgiveness to pour over my husband. With the perspective that three years and some serious grief work can bring, I am able to look back on that period of time in our life and see the beauty of one who had received much, reaching deep into her wounded heart to pour much back out on another. Of course, at the time it did not feel beautiful at all. It felt scary. I remember feeling vulnerable and sad, and having a deep sense of pain and loss. Forgiving him was only the beginning of the journey. He still felt very unsafe, so we remained separated for the next several months. The fact that I forgave him, but continued on in our separation may seem odd to someone who does not understand the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. But those who have walked both roads understand this completely. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Choosing to forgive Wayne released him from my need to satisfy what justice demanded, but it did not heal my wounded heart or make me feel safe enough to be in a relationship with him. I certainly had no reason to believe that he wasn’t going to continue hurting me in the future. We both had lots of work to do before we were anywhere near reconciliation. While the price of forgiveness had been paid at the cost of my pride and my dreams, the price for reconciliation demanded my security. Even with the high cost that I had to pay for forgiveness and reconciliation, I am thankful I chose to pay it. The alternative would have ended up costing me more. In an effort to tell “the rest of the story” I feel compelled to point out that paying the cost of forgiveness and reconciliation did not permanently bankrupt me. The cost was high, and it took absolutely all I had, but after making those payments I have been repaid several times over. I have so much more pride now than I did before. The difference is that it is no longer in what Wayne and I built between the two of us, but in what our Healer has restored and rebuilt in us. Some of my old dreams for our marriage are gone, but they have been replaced with even bigger ones. My security no longer lies in the false thought that my husband is incapable of hurting me. Now my security lies in the truth that no matter what my future may bring the Protector of my heart, who I have come to recognize as Faithful and True, is big enough. My heart can rest secure because I know that in all things, He is enough. As a child I practiced the art of forgiveness many times, but I had never practiced reconciliation. Had a dear friend not pointed us in the direction of Rick Reynolds and Affair Recovery, I’m not sure how our process of reconciliation would have gone. The blessing of having him walk through it with us, after he had walked it so many years before, proved invaluable. There are some valleys in our lives that require guides to show us the way. If I had one prayer for you today, it would be that you would not try to walk this road alone. Reconciliation needs guidance. For the sake of your heart as well as your marriage, find a godly counselor with experience in affair recovery. One day you will look back on this season in your life and be so grateful that you did.