One might think, that meeting Jesus and finding peace within myself and healing for the wounds that I had been carrying, would finally be the “happily ever after” ending to my story. It most certainly wasn’t. God had so much more to teach me. He still had so much more to work out of me.

What I discovered, was that my growth wasn’t going to stop, at just meeting and accepting Jesus. My first mistaken idea, of being a Christian, was that my problems would miraculously be solved. That I would instantly be “fixed” and all the broken pieces in my life would be as well. Oh how wrong I was! As I would come to find out, growth is incredibly painful at times.

The challenge for me, would be staying as close to God as possible, hanging onto His love, and clinging to His hand when the stormy seas of life threatened to capsize my faith. The devastating storm approaching my life, the storm that would teach me the most about God and His unfailing love, for me, came in the form of an excruciatingly painful divorce.

Sadly, I soon found myself walking through the wreckage of divorce as a Christian. The judgment I would experience from other believers was heart wrenching, but thankfully, the lessons I would learn about God and my walk with Him, would be nothing less than absolute spiritual and emotional freedom.

I would come to learn that God wasn’t harsh and He wasn’t judging my failures like those I had thought loved me unconditionally. He would show me that it wasn’t the fact that I had failed, but it was what I chose to do with those failures that mattered. He would teach me that though I had forgiven, and though I had accepted Christ’s forgiveness for me, I needed to extend forgiveness to others, to be truly set free myself.

In the previous years, I had always been the victim. Pain had been inflicted upon me by those at Ruby Ridge. Other people had allowed, even encouraged me to stay in the victim-hood mindset. They would tell me that I had “every right” to be angry and bitter. God showed me how unhealthy of a place that was to occupy. During my difficult divorce, He revealed that I had been a perpetrator, I had inflicted pain upon another human being. The guilt and the shame I felt from that, was worse than the pain of being the victim. When you are a victim, you have someone else to blame. When you are a perpetrator, you only have yourself to blame.

As I grasped that life changing truth, I realized I must forgive as I had been forgiven. That God didn’t care if I was the victim or the perpetrator. Jesus had died for both. I looked up verses in my bible about forgiveness and learned that Jesus commands us to forgive over and over. I understood that I had not forgiven the men that took the lives of my mom and little brother, but that it was crucial for me to do so. I knew it would not be easy. I knew I would not feel like forgiving, but that I must choose to do so, as many times as it would take.

When I stepped out in faith and made that choice, the feelings finally followed. But more than just feelings followed. Freedom followed. Peace followed. Hope and joy followed my decision. I joyfully discovered in time, that the painful growing period had been worth it, and God had shown me that He loved me way too much to leave me where I had previously been. He had so many blessings in store for me. The ending of my story, with His help, would in fact, turn out to be the happily ever after, that I had been searching for all along.

After the 1992 Ruby Ridge tragedy, Sara Weaver has worked hard at overcoming her pain, deep depression, and PTSD. Out of that experience, Sara brings a message of hope and forgiveness from her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and is now an author and public speaker, dedicated to helping others through their own challenges. Sara lives in Montana with her husband Marc and her son, Dawson. To find out more about her, visit www.rubyridgetofreedom.com.

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