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Freedom Living Blog

  • Writer's pictureAndria Seals

Unforgiveness Is A Prison

Hi, my name is Andria and I am a grateful believer in the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins. Today I am celebrating freedom from co-dependency, past hurts, and unforgiveness.

I was raised the oldest of 5 children in a blended family in Colorado Springs and was not raised in church. The age gap between me and the youngest of the 5 is only 2.5 years so things were always a little chaotic, but my parents did the best they could to give us a good life. I am fortunate to not have had many of the experiences that I have heard people share about at our church‘s recovery ministry, but the enemy started whispering to me at a very young age. My stepdad has always been better to me than I could have asked for, but I grew up knowing that my own father didn’t want me, even before I was born, because he already had a family that my mom knew nothing about until she became pregnant with me. Up to just a few years ago I was insistent that this fact didn’t affect me but I can see now that the spirit of rejection took root in my heart as a young girl. I grew up very insecure and sensitive, often being invalidated in my feelings and experiences. I don’t even have a single memory from before I was 6 years old (which is developmentally abnormal) when I met my (step)dad for the first time.

My dad and I the year my parents got married, 2000

As I became a teenager I was desperate to be noticed, to be validated, to be known. I wanted just someone to at least give me the illusion that I was someone special. I put up with a lot of abusive and inappropriate behavior, sent photos I shouldn’t have sent, and made many other choices that brought me shame and condemnation because I bought the lies of the enemy that I was insignificant, worthless, ugly, and less-than. I was called many hurtful and hateful names as a teenager when my ex-fiancé betrayed my trust and spread rumors about me, most of which weren’t true. It should be noted that I had no business being engaged at 16 years old and that an adult should have stopped it, but Praise the Lord for His faithfulness in the midst of my wandering.

I came to know the Lord when I was 17 years old and I wish I could say that I “learned my lesson” and learned my worth at that point, but I didn’t. I continued letting Christian men treat me and talk to me the exact same way I had before, even well into adulthood. I have been called dumb, a failure, disgusting, “not worth it,” and a “waste of space.” I have had my physical boundaries ignored, appearance criticized and been held to impossible standards. I have had Christian men speak lies of the enemy over me until I wondered if my life was even worth living at all. Would I ever be good enough? Would anyone ever love me as I am, or would I always have to earn it? Would I ever be treasured?

When it was announced that a process group (more in this later) would be starting at the recovery ministry, I knew the Lord was telling me that it was time to take a look at the hurtful things from my past and present so that I could heal from them and move forward into what He has called me to do. Over the course of those 6 months, it was an unexpected but true challenge for me to extend forgiveness to someone who tormented me and belittled me for a long time - the person who hurt me the most. I had to come to terms with the reality that my unforgiveness was keeping me in a prison and affecting the way I lived my life. I met my biological father for the first time last year at 28 years old and I struggled at first to forgive him because my first conversation with him didn’t go as smoothly as the naive little girl in me had hoped it would, but as his demeanor toward me changed and he owned up to what he had done (and not done) I found it fairly simple to let go and move on. God began healing the wounds caused by the lack of my dad’s presence in my life and I began to trust that his efforts to make amends were genuine. However, through the process group I have learned that in the flesh I struggle to forgive someone that isn’t sorry for what they’ve done or said. My forgiveness for the person who’s hurt me most had been waiting on an apology for many years while in reality I have been called to forgive with or without one.

I met my biological father for the first time at 28 years old. The Lord is faithful to give us the desires of our hearts and His timing is perfect.

The best part of going through the steps of the process group and owning up to my unforgiveness has been the freedom it has given me to walk out my identity in Christ, regardless of what anyone else in my life may speak over me. I can recognize the lies of the enemy and call them out for what they are. For the very first time in my nearly 30 years of life, I have felt seen and valued and I can’t thank my friend, Becky, enough for that. The first time I went to the altar at Recovery Alive, she met me there, prayed with me, and validated what I’ve walked through. For several years I thought I wasn’t the “right type of person” to participate in this ministry, but she helped free me and I knew then that I wasn’t alone.

You are more of a blessing to me than you realize, Becky!

Christ is the friend that sticks closer than a brother, but if you are lost and alone, or bound by shame, or buried under a mountain of sorrow as a result of abuse or heart wounds, there is healing to be found in the body of Christ - a sisterhood or brotherhood to be found here like you’ve never found anywhere else.

I am honored to have walked through the trenches with these ladies!

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

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