One of the hardest things that our hearts will ever have to do is forgive. Even though it’s hard to admit, we want control over our emotions. We want to have those who harmed us feel how we felt for what they did to us. Sometimes it feels like it’s the closest thing to peace we can get. We tend to put such heartache and pain on our own shoulders while the antagonist is gets of scot-free. We cry out to God with prayers that have become desperate and self-centered on our needs, rather than faithfully listening to Him. This explains a journey that I came along in my Christian walk that has opened my eyes to forgiveness and the reality of it. His name was Jacob. We met at a college group over the summer and he seemed like a faithful man dedicated to following God. He was always welcoming and asking about how life was for me. As the summer ended and I transitioned to all the changes Corban brought me and him stayed in touch. One weekend I decided to go home. It was homecoming for my high school and I wanted to see my friends. I was enjoying the parade with my friend Krystal when Jacob walked by. He looked different.  He said hi to her but only gave me an uncomfortable look before leaving. Even though I tried to brush it off, my mind kept wandering back to the look he gave me. As we headed out that night, I glanced up towards the stairs, and saw something that made me stop suddenly. Jacob had been standing there, staring at me. Not glancing, not smiling, but staring at me, never taking his glance off of me. He looked “superior” or as if he was thinking something dreadful and I was embarrassed. While everyone moving along, I was stuck there. Terrified and scared by his attention on me. As I got back into reality and left, I glanced back, and he was still watching me. Not once removing his gaze from me. Back at Corban, I spent some time talking to Jacob on Facebook. We went through the casual small talk that people go through.  I tried to keep the conversation going by asking how the college group was going but I was met with silence. When he finally responded all the fog from what he was like last weekend finally made sense. He had written back to me the words:  “I’m lusting after you…..but I know you wouldn’t ever give in to your values and beliefs.” I was mortified by that one word. Lust. It made me feel broken. He had used me. And he certainly didn’t care about what I stood for in my faith and devotion to God, he only cared about himself. After our conversation I blocked him. I talked to my family and friend about it, and even emailed a woman college group’s church, but my self-esteem was gone. I felt scared. Because of his disrespect towards my heart and God, I felt as if I could no longer trust men anymore. Why? Because my mind would try to second guess what they really wanted. Instead of hearing kindness in their voice, I would see a possible intention that was not at all close to what they meant. I kept thinking that I had brought this on myself, and that I should have been more careful. I was seeing things through the eyes of the broken hearted, rather than a person filled with God’s hope.

Abby is pictured in the middle with her friends Roy and Krystal.

My mom, sister, and friends, Krystal and Roy, helped me realize that what he had done was not because of me, but because of his own mind and thoughts and waywardness towards God. What helped most was the reminder that God allowed this to happen so that I could grow closer to the steadfast hope that He gives us all. Through these times, we can become strong in him. Our worldly problems are temporary if we give them over to the Lord, but we must be willing. This past January, I was finally able to forgiven Jacob. But to be honest, the Lord had to do a lot of work in me. God worked in my heart of resentment and frustration and, finally, I learned that I had needed to forgive him and love him through Christ. Sometimes we have to break down from the inside out so that we can be brought closer to Him. With Christ in my life as my guide, I can knowingly walk into any situation with not fear, but hope and joy. He is always present with us, always guiding us through the dark areas in our life, but never once leaving our sight. He waits for us with open arms when we run into trouble. With faith, we will never walk alone.