{Story3} A Journey of Forgiveness

Through the month of March, we’re going to do a series called “This is my story, this is my song.” There are personal journeys of hope, victory, courage, and redemption that you need to hear!

Holly and I (Heather) are thrilled to share this next story with you! We’ve known Julie for a long time. She was our pastor’s wife for a good part of our growing up years. We even watched her little girls on occasion. {Now I’m feeling old!}

When we began to line up who would share during our “story” series, I couldn’t get Julie off my mind. Her example of forgiving like Christ has wrecked me over the years. Our family has experienced her genuine love and grace first hand. And for us, to have her share, is one of those full-circle moments.

We hadn’t seen Julie for years when the three of us connected once again as we taught at the same women’s retreat. {By the way, if you are looking for a speaker, she’s your gal! Her contact info will be at the bottom.}

This post is beautiful through and through. There is SO much more to her story. So much more! She’s in the process of writing a book and we’ll let you know when it’s out! YAY! But for today, I’ve asked her to share with us what she’s learned about forgiveness…



by Julie Davenport

What do I know about forgiveness?

Enough to know that it isn’t easy. Enough to know that forgiveness is a process – one that in many ways, I go through each day.

And I know what it’s not.

Like many, I was taught the importance of forgiveness. It was a principle that wasn’t all that difficult, as long as I was in the loving home of my childhood. But as an adult, I have had more reasons to forgive and more years to face its challenges.

When it comes to forgiveness, I’ve lived it, accepted it, given it, and possibly messed it up.  Let’s just say I bought the t-shirt and could write the book. 

It has been more than 30 years ago, but I will never forget the feeling I had when I first realized forgiveness would be a constant presence in my life. I’ll never forget where I was sitting. The way the air felt.

The feeling that the bottom had just dropped out of my world.

The knowledge that things would never be the same.stouts

My husband, the love of my life, the man that I saved myself for, the only man that I had ever known in the Biblical sense, had just told me he had “known” another woman. Not just any woman. A close friend.

He cried. He was SO sorry. He begged my forgiveness.

God did a healing in our marriage.

I did not believe in divorce. I did, however, believe in forgiveness. He promised it would never happen again. He told me that if I really had forgiven him, I would not talk about it or bring it up.

Yet it did happen again a few years later. He begged my forgiveness again. By then, we had a precious baby girl. We were pastors of a large church. He begged me not to tell.

We went to six months of marriage counseling which resulted in a promise from him that it would never happen again—and a promise from me that if it did, I would leave. We stayed together and had another precious baby girl.

God did another healing in our marriage.

Two years later, he confessed to me that he had been involved in three additional affairs over the period of one year. Once again he begged my forgiveness and wanted to stay together and work it out.

This was more than 20 years ago, but I will never forget the feeling I had. Where I was sitting. The way the air felt.

Something inside me broke. I was done. Done covering up. Done having my heart torn to shreds.

We went through a difficult divorce and years of drama and pain.

So you may ask, what do I know about forgiveness?

{1}    I know that forgiveness is not sweeping issues under the carpet.  Secrets cause sickness.  If not dealt with and brought out into the light, they will continue and grow in the dark.

{2}    I know that forgiveness is not feeling like someone owes you or needs to pay you back for how they have wronged you. For years I said that I had forgiven, I gave testimonies about how I had forgiven. However, deep in my heart I was still waiting for the day that my husband would pay me back for all he had stolen from my life.  I know now that it is not until we release a person from “owing us” that we can completely forgive them.

{3}    I know that the main reason we need to forgive is because Christ forgave us.  Forgiveness does not make any sense unless you first realize that you are a forgiven person.

We cannot balance the scales.  Forgiveness means the scales are forever out of balance.  It means that one person is always going to owe a debt.  It’s only when we can forgive the debt that we can heal.

It was only six years ago, when we had both remarried and re-established our lives, when a deep healing came.

As in the other life-altering moments, I will never forget the feeling I had.  Where I was sitting. The way the air felt.

I was sitting on the front porch with my first husband, after he had visited our daughters.  I shared with him that even though I had made the intellectual decision to forgive him years ago, that it was only recently that I felt I had emotionally forgiven him.

I told him he did not owe me anything. I wanted him to know that I released him to be happy and free in his life.  He in turn asked my forgiveness, and this time there was such a feeling of peace. I am so grateful that the Lord allowed us to have this conversation, because he tragically died two months later.

What do I know about forgiveness?

I know that forgiveness allows you to put the pain and hurt behind you, release it, and move beyond the hurt and heal. With all that we have been forgiven in our own lives, how can we not offer forgiveness, love and mercy to those around us?

Julie and her family today!

Julie and her family today!

Publishing rights retained by Julie Davenport.  Permission given for one time publication on Dancing On My Ashes blog (March 2014). This article is not to be republished in any other format without express permission.

To contact Julie for speaking engagements (and you’ll want to… she’s witty and kind and deep and funny and warm and all about Jesus):

Facebook:  Julie Perkin Stout Davenport
If you are new to our blog, follow us by clicking the “follow” button at the top of the screen! Read up on our story of healing: here! And read why we wrote Dancing On My Ashes.
If you want to know more about who God is go here!
I hope you’ve been encouraged today!