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Finding Freedom Through Forgiveness

November 25, 2019
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There’s a common misconception that forgiveness requires acceptance. Some may suggest that when we forgive, we are letting the offender ‘off the hook.’ But in reality, forgiveness lets you off the hook. It releases us from the pain and suffering caused by holding onto the trauma. We can find freedom through forgiving others. 

Our most recent guest on the Ask About My Faith podcast, Nicole Miller, shares her journey toward finding freedom through forgiveness and how she has learned to use her story to help others through their healing. 

Growing up, Nicole knew God existed and even believed in Him. Her faith was present but not personal. Nicole’s early life was filled with traumatic events that left lasting emotional scars and drastically affected her view of God. Nicole’s parents separated when she was only 3, and after 4 years and a nasty custody battle, they finally divorced when she was 7 years old. 

Her entire childhood was filled with fighting and abuse, both physical and emotional. But the most traumatic event occurred when she witnessed a close family member murder her father when she was only 10 years old. 

Forgiving the Unforgivable

The unrelenting physical and emotional trauma left Nicole with lingering questions. She questioned God’s goodness and why He would allow her and her family to suffer so much. She knew God was real, but it was hard to believe He cared for her. 

When Nicole got engaged to her husband, they knew they wanted to get married and raise their kids in the church. But, she still had so many lingering questions keeping her from experiencing God in her life entirely. She still struggled with PTSD flashbacks and nightmares regularly. 

Shortly after their second child was born, their new neighbors invited them to their church. This simple invitation ended up launching them into deeper relationships with God. Together, they grew in their relationship with God and formed meaningful connections with their new church community. 

The most significant step for Nicole was forgiveness. She knew she needed to release all of her pain, anger, memories, and nightmares to the Lord. She had to let Him carry the burden for her, and she could find forgiveness in her heart. 

God took away her pain and, with it, the symptoms of her trauma. She was finally able to experience God fully and begin the healing process. 

The Ripple Effect of Forgiveness

When Nicole found forgiveness for herself, she had no idea the ripple effect it would have on her family. When she received word that the family member who killed her father was on his deathbed, Nicole decided to visit him. She sat by his bed, reading scripture over him as he drifted in and out of consciousness. 

During the rare moments he was awake and lucid, they would talk. He asked Nicole if she was ashamed of him for what he had done, and something about seeing a once strong man in such a vulnerable state filled Nicole with empathy. She assured him that she was not ashamed of him and had forgiven him.

She was soon joined by more family, many of whom had cut off all contact with him for over 26 years. One of those family members was his son. At the moment of his death, he was surrounded by family, experiencing the love and forgiveness he’d long been lacking. 

Related Podcast: Check out our conversation with Caleb Crutchfield

Lead With Love

Over the years, Nicole has been able to use her story to minister to others, many of whom are experiencing something similar. She shares multiple stories with us, and the common thread throughout is her willingness to be open, lead with love, and let God do the talking. 

One of our favorites comes from her time volunteering with Together for Good, a ministry that provides various forms of support to vulnerable children and their families. Nicole and her family volunteer as temporary hosts for kids who need a short-term home. They have countless stories from over the years of serving with the organization, but she shares one of the most recent with us. 

Two little boys, ages 5 and 6, stayed with her family for a 3-day weekend. Over those three days, the boys went from feeling bad for Jesus because he’d died, to considering that He might know and care about them. 

It all started with a simple conversation about their favorite food. Nicole said she’d bought turkey because God told her they liked it. The boys then asked her to ask God what their favorite fruits and colors were, and when she responded accurately, they were amazed. 

The night before they returned home, Nicole overheard the youngest boy in the bathroom praying that if God knew him, he could bring them a new house and safe people. A few weeks later, the boys revisited Nicole and her family. The oldest asked her to ask God if He knew his favorite color. Even though she’d asked Him that last time, Nicole asked God again, and when she heard a different color, the boy was amazed that God knew his favorite color had changed. It may seem like a simple question, but to that boy, it meant that despite the constant changes he’d experienced the last few weeks, God was paying attention. 

Sometimes it is the little things that make the most significant impact. Our job is simply to love and obey God’s leading. 

Related Post: 8 Ways to Pray Throughout the Day

Advice from Nicole

As always, we ended our conversation by asking Nicole if she had any advice for our community. She had these simple tips to share. 

Pray and be ready.

First, always pray and be ready and willing to follow God’s leading. Allow yourself to be used by Him, even in small ways. 

Keep it simple.

Second, you don’t necessarily need to bring Jesus into every conversation. Sometimes, simple conversations that spur unity are all God wants for you at that moment. 

Find common ground.

Third, finding common ground and empathy as you connect with people can open up many doors for God to speak into someone’s life. 

Trust God.

Finally, trust the Lord and His guidance by following through. Even little actions or moments can make a significant impact. Only God can see the big picture. 

If you take anything away from our conversation with Nicole, let it be this. True healing and breakthrough for yourself and others come when you let go and let God move. Give Him your fears, worries, pain, and trauma, and then watch as He replaces them with truth and love. And remember, God is not stingy. He will fill your life to overflowing, allowing all those in your orbit to be blessed as well if you let it. 

Related Post: 7 Bible Verses for When You Feel Alone


Discover the freedom and healing found when God helps us learn to forgive with this week’s guest on the the Ask About My Faith podcast.

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