Forgiveness is Not For Them…it’s For You.

“I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology I never received.”

Or may possibly never get.

I saw this quote on social media after giving birth and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

In the last two years, I’ve seen the true colors of so many people and the lengths they would go to provoke negative reactions and in turn play victim. I’ve seen what a slight disagreement would do to people who you thought were your friends. I’ve seen people hate on you, so green with envy, you would think they were the real Bruce Banner. People would go above and beyond to paint a picture of you, that’s not you at all, and in turn, pit people against you. This is what hate will do. One person’s hatred towards you can cause others to hate you as well, or at least make up in their mind that they won’t even give you a chance.

I never understood why people never wanted to hear all sides to a story, rather than just the one; especially when the one was flawed. I never understood how, a person who knew the entire story, would still act like they didn’t, and in turn never stand up for you. Imagine this happening to you for years. After awhile, you start to think, maybe it is you. You’re the problem. But that’s what the enemy would do. The enemy would make you feel like that to isolate you and make you feel alone. I constantly had to talk to my husband, my best friend, my brother, my sister-in-law, and cousin to make sure I wasn’t crazy. They would tell me the truth because that’s what I expected. Tell me if it’s me and I can improve. I became paranoid because I thought I was the problem, but it turned out that people hate when you stand up for yourself. When you won’t take toxic behavior no matter who the person is.

I struggled with forgiveness, especially when my daughter was born. I never understood why God wanted me to forgive when I was the one who was wronged. When I felt like I was being made a fool. Why do you want me to forgive when the people who hurt me, never said they were sorry or even acknowledged that my feelings were hurt? I’m human too. I have feelings. And if I forgive them, wouldn’t that make me look stupid? Like, they one up me? Lord, I know if I hurt someone’s feelings and I knew I did, I would apologize and make it right. So why can’t people do that for me?

But then I learned, that, forgiveness is not for those who hurt you. Forgiveness is for yourself. Why, do you ask? Because the one who is wronged, is always holding grudges. They are bitter, and upset. This was me. When you can’t forgive those who wronged you, how can you expect God to forgive you? How can you expect to reap the blessings that God has? So here I was, holding my beautiful daughter listening to God tell me that the forgiveness he wanted me to do, was for me. It was so I can move on. It was so I can experience the blessings that God was ready to give me. It was to show that the God that people talk about and claim that they know, lives in me.

“You might be the only Jesus that some people see.” Jesus is all about love, forgiveness, and grace and because we are all striving to be Christ-like, it is important to start practicing what we preach or go to church every Sunday for.

“So, honey, if I forgive them…do I have to say it to their face? This is the question I asked my husband. He then reminded me that forgiveness is not for them. So I didn’t have to. It was for me and between me and God. When I forgive, I must show in my actions. So I pondered a few more weeks because, I’m a Capricorn and I’m stubborn.

But then I did it. I let it all go. I gave it to God. And it felt great. I want my blessings. I want to move on. I have a whole daughter now. My job is to teach her about giving grace, compassion and forgiveness. I will also teach her that is is also okay to guard your heart and never put yourself in a position to be treated a certain way again.

So if you’re struggling with forgiving, remember, it is not for them. The Bible says “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Romans 12:19, KJV), so it’s not our job to get back at those who wrong us and believe me, I wanted to. Our job is to let go and give it to God. Let him handle our heavy load because he can do it better than we can. And when you do, life will get better. Trust.

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Outfit details: Sweater Dress: Eloquii, Belt: Lane Bryant, Boots: Torrid

Down the Aisle #TheWhiteWay: Our Love Story

I didn’t ask for this.

I sure wasn’t expecting it either.

I wasn’t one of those girls that would sit in her bedroom wishing for her King to come and sweep her off her  feet and sing sweet melodies into the distance. I had other plans. ME plans. MY plans. I plans. Mine, mine, MINE. Who is a WE anyway? There’s no WE with Marisa. Nope. Notta. Is that even a word? Notta? It is today.  I think my family was very concerned for me. I haven’t brought a man home since my high school sweetheart. I was 17 then. I  was approaching mid-twenties. Before him, I never brought anyone home to meet the fam. I was asked, “When are we gonna meet him?” or “So, what’s his name?” or “Do you even like boys?” No. I like men thank you very much. Anyway, then he came. Out. Of. Nowhere. I remember like it was yesterday, only this happened over 5 years ago. I was at my lowest in life (at least that’s what I thought), trying to literally rise from the ashes. Me and Jesus were friends again and I was making those plans! I was home, living with my dad and step-mom. One degree down, and I need a job to save a bunch of money so I can get out of that little town. A call center job. Nothing serious.

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He was one of my floor trainers. Once you’re done in the classroom, you’re on the floor using all the tools you didn’t learn in the class to take these random, bogus calls about cell phones and their expensive ridiculous plans. And then I raised my hand to ask a simple question. Just one of those yes or no questions. Not a life story question. I asked him that question and he thought it was okay to give me an essay of an answer. No, sir. I don’t need all that, THANK YOU! That was rude Marisa. So rude. That intrigued him. He would talk to me every chance he got when I came to work. A hello here and there. A tiny conversation outside during break time.

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I knew he was younger than me. But I wasn’t even looking at him like that. Just making conversation. Then our conversations became interesting. He can actually hold a decent conversation! That was rare at that job. That intrigued me. We talked about everything from pop culture, religion, music, celebrity gossip, current events, you name it. Then he took my phone and put his number in it. He didn’t have any expectation of me reaching out. He said a girl like me would never go for him. Well, that’s not nice. So, I proved him wrong. He was a gentleman. He had great conversation and he had this twinkle in his eye when he talks to me. Where’d that come from? Oh well, I wasn’t interested.

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As the days go by, we became friends, then good friends, and then great friends. The more our relationship grew, I learned, we have more in common than I thought. Who is this guy? He has an old soul. But he’s younger than me and that bothered me more than anything. Because now, I gotta pick a bone with God.

“You tryna be funny up there? Who is this guy? You think this funny?”

Benjamin became that person that I can tell my aspirations and goals to. My problems. my issues and what I struggle with. He’s the guy that I enjoy long car rides where we would talk. For hours. My dad would be upset at me for coming home late! But that’s how it was with Benjamin. You would get lost in the time with him. Being with him made time…..worth it. Jesus, who is this guy? Then we would go out. Dinner, the movies, everywhere. Making memories I didn’t think would stick with me 5 years later. Developing a bond that I didn’t understand would mean everything to me 5 years later.

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Complications happened and both parties were afraid of what was to come. This was different for the both of us. He had a string of failed relationships of dishonesty and heartbreak and I was constantly building a wall to keep out things like that. It was weird because when we got to a point in our relationship where we knew what we wanted, it was time for me to go. I got a new job in Charlotte, NC and he was staying home with plans to make it up that way soon.

The long distance was the challenging part. People thought we were breaking up just because I was moving! Who does that? We talked everyday. Found ways to video chat and we would send those long lovey dovey text messages. He would come visit. Then something happened. Everything stopped. This was hard work and life happened, making things stressful. We would argue and fight and it seemed like that’s all we would do.

“Now Jesus, I know good and well you didn’t put this guy in my life only for me to watch him leave. Fix this.”

It seemed normal to argue and fight more than anything else. We were never rude or hurtful to each other and thank God that Benjamin is the kindest person I’ve ever met. Even when he is upset with me, he is never boastful, or rude. That was rare. Even when I was mean or rude, he would never…

This was someone that I could not let slip away. Not on my watch. So I fought for him. He fought for me. We fought for us. It was like a switch went off on our brains and our relationship did a complete 180. Now I understand what married couples mean when they say stuff like, “After years and years, our bond grows stronger everyday.” I get it. As our bond grows stronger every day, we are met with some crazy trials in life. We struggled together. We were broke together. If one had it, the other had it too. It took Benjamin a long time to understand. “I got you.” The me became a WE and it came natural to me. He’s my best friend and in spite of our struggles, we’re always there for each other.

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Benjamin’s kindness taught me to be more kind. He’s a man of God, a true Believer and my personal Bible scholar. Its hard to stay mad at him. His hugs are comforting and his words are meaningful. He’s amazing. His mother raised him very well. We both knew that God was working on us to come together and that’s a funny story! That might be for another day.

Sometimes the person you want may come wrapped a little different than you expected. But don’t ignore it.  Finding a life partner that God has for you is not a rat race. It isn’t a competition. Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV) says “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Your husband will come find you. But you have to get prepared and be ready. I was ready and didn’t even know it. Funny. God knows everything. Here’s to the beginning of forever, Sweetheart.

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