I had to travel 206 miles to meet a kindred spirit who lives only 6 miles away from me. I met Chelsea Carpenter at LIT, a one-day conference put on by Living Proof Ministries, in the crush of women waiting to get into the event. I lost sight of her when the doors opened, and I was disappointed to lose contact with a LIT sister who lived in the same town as I did. I didn’t find her again until I decided to stop off at The Cheesecake Factory at the very end of the night, where I found her in line (now I have proof that chocolate cheesecakes are good for me). I was glad to exchange info with her that time, and it’s been wonderful getting to know her and her passion for Jesus Christ. I’m honored that she is sharing her amazing testimony with you on my blog today. When you’re done reading, I hope you’ll head on over to her blog, Chelsea Carpenter Ministries, to see her other posts.
Chained by Unforgiveness
A Personal Testimony
by Chelsea Carpenter
Unforgiveness is a poison. It will take away your life – and it will destroy the lives of those you love. It was never intended to thrive with us here on Earth.
I grew up in a loving home, filled with laughter – but behind the shield of laughter was an unspoken truth – a truth that held a daughter captive…
When I was three years old, I was sexually abused by a deacon in the church. I was also physically and emotionally abused by his wife. This abuse continued for many years until I finally found the courage to speak out. Two months later I was raped. My attacker made several attempts to kill me but failed to do so. Soon rumors began to spread about the attack. I was pushed, tormented, threatened, and called a liar. I went from being the most popular girl to the most hated – literally overnight. As a result, I was left to dwell on my own pain and frustration. I became angry and resentful. I blamed the world for my problems, but more often, I blamed God.
I felt like David in Psalm 22 who cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief” (Ps. 22: 1-2, NIV).
I cried many nights and often prayed for death. When God failed to answer my prayers, I cast Him aside. I became involved with drugs, alcohol, and black magic…basically anything that offered an escape from my own personal misery. I was spiritually dead inside, and soon, Satan began to pursue me with a vengeance. His demons chased me for many months, and it wasn’t long before I started hearing voices in my head. They would tell me that I was unworthy and that I should end my life. When I failed to listen to their words, the hallucinations began. I lived in fear for many months, and no one knew. It was my own personal hell. I prayed for some kind of relief. I wanted to be set free from the demons that haunted me.
It wasn’t until seven years later that God answered my prayers. I accepted Christ into my life at the age of nineteen, and He immediately changed my imperfect world. The voices stopped, and I began to feel peace. I talked and walked with God daily, and I grew stronger in my faith.
One night, when I was fervently praying, God exposed my heart; He showed me that my inability to forgive those who had hurt me was holding me hostage. The chains of bitterness had enslaved me, and I was unable to move on. God softly spoke to me about my unforgiveness: “Not only has unforgiveness held you captive and dismissed [My will] for your life, but it has held those you have persecuted as well. Release [your enemies] from this dungeon of doom, so that I may move them closer to me. Do not cast this sin upon yourself; for it will wreak havoc wherever you go.”
I fell to my knees, for God had brought me to the cross. I zealously cried out, “God, I forgive! Help me to forgive!”
God reached out to me and declared, “Your faith and your forgiveness have set you free! Now watch and see what I can do!”
I was amazed at the wonders of God. Suddenly, I was set free from my afflictions. I was no longer haunted by my inner demons but declared saintly by God’s unfailing angels. This was a day I would always remember: the day I had cast aside my own will and started living for God’s will.
God kept His promise, and I watched with wonder as the people I had imprisoned were set free. Some followed a vicious path, and it soon led to their own demise; others rejoiced and were led to the cross where they laid down their lives at the feet of Jesus.
Imagine what God can accomplish when you choose to let go of the past and forgive those who have persecuted you. I encourage you to take off the chains of vengeance and set your prisoners free, for God has already promised you victory in the name of Jesus!
This story is for anyone who walks in the darkness filled with bitterness, sorrow, and regret. I pray that you will allow God to lead you to the cross, and when you arrive, may you lay your regrets at the feet of Jesus, for He shall set you free!
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Jesus is quoting Psalm 22:1 in Matthew 27:46) – I always thought this was a peculiar thing for Jesus to say while He was dying on the cross. Didn’t He already know? The Old Testament has over 300 prophetic scriptures about the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So why would the Messiah utter these words as His last breath on the cross? Jesus never does anything without a purpose. I believe He was sending a message to those He came to save: “I have walked where you have walked. I have heard your cries. I have felt your pain. I am the only God, who has walked in your shoes. I am the Only One who has ever come to save you.”
My name is Chelsea Carpenter. I am a Texas Christian University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Education. I currently reside in Tyler, Texas with my husband James and our two beautiful girls, Bailey Rose and Ryleigh Alana. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing and traveling. I am a blogger, author, speaker, and teacher @ Chelsea Carpenter Ministries. I am writing a Bible study series entitled, “How to Experience God’s Greatest Miracles.” I am also writing a book about the power of forgiveness.