Freedom of Forgiveness

A big thing the Lord has been trying to show me in my walk recently is the many things that he frees us from and one of the first things he has shown me is that he wants to free me from the weight of not forgiving certain people who have wronged me. Mainly with my father, it took a lot of talking to people and praying to God. For a while I had thought that the worst thing he had done to my family was lie and not be there for us as he spent most of my childhood in prison. I grew up along with my brother and mother thinking that the abuse that he had put on other people was more worth it to him than providing for us and wanting to be apart of our family. However, my older brother had told me that he was going to a therapist because of struggles he will still struggling to get over. He struggles from anxiety and he will go into attacks where he can not breathe and needs to be alone. I asked him specifically why he was going to the meetings and what they were discussing and he began to explain to me how my father was a five time felon and three of those felonies were against my mother and how he had raped her and hit her and abused her into marijuana and cocaine. After explaining that to me he went on to tell me that I was the result of one of the sexual attacks against my mother. This conversation had sent me into a spiral and I did not want to talk for the rest of the night, I could barely stand or move or do anything. I had a hard time forgiving my father for the things I already new about him, but learning about that that night I told myself that I would never forgive him. Many thoughts ran through my mind such as, “this is a man of destruction, coming in to my mom’s life to ruin it and then to walk out” “I should treasure my life and do everything I can to prove to my mom that she did not waste her time with not aborting me in that horrifying experience” I couldn’t get it out of my mind that I was a living reminder of a bad time in her life. I still haven’t talked to her about it because I do not believe it is my business to bring it up first. When and if she is ready to talk about it she will.
Let’s get back on the topic of forgiveness though. I opened up to some of my closest people about the struggle I was having with this because instantly I was put under a lot of pressure. I was encouraged a lot to at least to talk to him and I did not want to at all. It was nice though being able to talk to people and get it off my chest. I knew that it would be hypocritical to not forgive my dad of this, but at the same time, the times he was in my life he lived as if he did not do anything wrong like everything was fine. That irritated me. It irritated me that he wasn’t in jail longer and that at the moment he was trying so hard to restart up a relationship with me. How do I start a relationship with someone who did so much to hurt my mom who struggled really hard to raise three kids on her own and spent a lot of years trying to break free from the addictions that he had forced on her. This also was another situation where I could not come in and say I am mad at you for this thing that you never told me about. I didn’t know if it would reopen wounds that it had on my mom because I knew she would figure out. So, I spent a lot of time ignoring phone calls from my dad, and text messages. Members in my family would tell me to call him and I wouldn’t. Eventually during one of my prayer walks I had gotten on the topic of my dad. I had a lot of weight on my shoulders from being so bitter I wanted to curl up. It was hard when I failed at anything because it felt like I was failing God and my mom and when I succeeded it was also me being happy for the wrong reasons where I would say something along the lines of “Yes, another reason for me to be alive or fought for!” God was talking to me during that walk and made it very evident that I needed to forgive him or I wouldn’t be very useful in the way that God needed me, but also I would become very bitter and start this thing where I can not forgive people that wronged me. So one day I picked up my phone and I called my dad and it was weird. He asked me how I was doing and so I just began telling him the things happening in my life like I am going to church, working and going to school and stuff like that and then he began to ask me about the family so I was telling him about them, but the whole time I had this urge, I wanted to yell at him and tell him, I hated him and that I did not want to talk to him again. Also at the same time I was feeling a sense of relief, like I can talk to him and not yell at him. That was from the Lord and only him, showing me restraint. Over the next couple of months we had started talking weekly and he would tell me about his job and his new wife and stuff like that and I would tell him more about the ministry I was in and how I was about to graduate and he would listen to me complain about a lot of stuff. He then would go on to apologize for not being there much for us when we were younger and was talking about how he understood it must of been hard to grow up without a father figure. It was tough to have this conversation with me because he was never real with me before. I forgave him and instantly it was like this ton of bricks that was on me was lifted! We still have not talked about what I really want to talk about, he moved to Wisconsin and I do not get to see him, we still talk every once in a while. It is not something that I instantly trusted him and everything was fine and dandy. I still am not okay with what he did, but now I am ready to forgive if and when the conversation happens. That conversation I had with him helped me with personal healing. A big thing God has taught me is that I too am sinful and that it would be hypocritical to not forgive my father for the one sin when God had forgiven me of all of mine. Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” I have had success with not feeling like I have to perform and be this perfect kid. I came from a broken past and it won’t all be solved right away by pretending that I am doing fine, but with trusting in the Lord with learning how to be broken free from struggles in my past I am hopeful that he will help me with picking up the pieces and continue to perfect me until the end. Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it out onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

My Story

Hey Everyone! My name is Trey Branch and I have found the secret to life and I just wanted to share it.

As you can probably tell by the title of my blog, the secret to my life is God. Why you may ask? well let me tell you about the adventure that started the beginning of my new life!

The Beginning

My life as a kid was rough and I hate looking back on it, however it has also been an encouragement for me in many ways, when I was 3, I was living with my mom and dad in Akron, Ohio and everything was miserable. I never got to see my mom because she was always at work while my dad stayed home and would get drunk, and high off of marijuana, and cocaine. I didn’t have friends because I wasn’t allowed to leave the house. When my mom was home I would hide in my room as my dad abused my mother into cocaine, and marijuana. Eventually my father went to prison, and my mom still being an addict didn’t have the money to take care of all her payments and her addiction, so we got evicted so we moved into my grandmothers house under the condition my mom would stop. Living at my grandmother’s was nice except for the fact that I still was incapable of making friends, not because I wasn’t allowed to leave the house, but because I had no idea how to socialize, it was never something taught to me.

My mother went through a period of many horrible boyfriends, and the memories from one of them I will never forget. His name was Carlos and no one ever has scared me more than he has. I believe he met my mom at the mall one day, and they really hit it off, she brought him home and he was really nice, we thought he was awesome! Well within a week that changed unfortunately. My brother and I came home late once from a friend’s house and Carlos told us we weren’t allowed to go outside anymore. My mother rejected saying that he was ridiculous and he threw my brother and me into our room and laid his hands on my mother, and that day we became victims of domestic violence, which continued for the next two months. He would force us to hurt one another, my little brother and I would be locked in our room for hours. As a kid the most insecure sight is seeing your mother crying and I saw that way more than I could ever wish! So after weeks of torture, and grief we were freed from it all. What happened was he left and my mother ran over to my grandmothers and called the police. All I remember seeing was my mom was leaned up against our door as he was trying to bust it open while the police where on the way. we never saw him after that day. I don’t know what happened to him either, but I just remember feeling weird being outside, it was almost scary to do so. Anyway that basically sums up the first 10 years of my life. What happened next is where my story begins.

The Start To My Adventure

What I remember is being at home in my room listening to music when my brother barges in saying that he was invited to go to a bible study, and he asked if I wanted to go. I said sure, why not? I would just be doing nothing in my room if I didn’t go. I went with low expectations due to the fact that my experience with strangers for the most part wasn’t really that great. What I experienced was the weirdest thing imaginable, and it was almost scary, I witnessed friendly people interacting with one another, and everyone just seemed to be friends. All I could think was about how much I wanted that, my only issue was I didn’t know how! Well I was Invited to go to the middle school group of the church, and I was more than happy to do so. I went and I made my first two friends and I was excited as can be. There names were Noah and Theo, and they were overwhelmingly nice to me, and seemed to actually care about my existence, and they were the reason why I kept coming around. I FINALLY HAD FRIENDS! It was so nice to have people other than my family that cared about me, and that I could talk to! I eventually started to realize that there was something truly special about these people, what was it? They seemed to have so much joy, they seemed to care about one another, and the hope they had was incredible! I kept telling myself that I wanted what they have, but again I fell at the point of, how? We were all at the main bible study, Called CT and our pastor Keith was teaching that night. It felt like he was speaking directly to me as he answered all my questions.

The only way to know joy, love, and have hope that works was through a relationship with God. YES PLEASE! That is what I thought as I listened to the teaching and fortunately for me he lead all of us in prayer that didn’t have a relationship with God that wanted one and my journey and my life officially began on June 26, 2010.

-thanks for reading!