The memoir I’m writing, tentatively titled The Extortion of Forgiveness, is about love and loss, redemption, forgiveness and hope. It’s about a man who lost himself, creating a trail of wreckage along the way, and then found himself through God’s grace and mercy.
In 2009 my world fell apart. At the time, I was a high-profile State Senator, a successful financial advisor with a growing international firm, and a leader in my church and community. While my life looked perfect on the outside it was a façade. I was in a shell of a marriage that hadn’t been built on a solid foundation and crumbled over time. Both my wife and I had looked elsewhere for what we needed instead of each other and God. The firm I was working for was closed by the feds. And I resigned from my position in the State Senate after a scandal of my own making made international news headlines for weeks.
My story is not unlike others of brokenness and loss. I was unable to reconcile with my wife. I lost two jobs and my reputation as a champion of family values was exposed as a sham. I lost a lot of friends, or should I say those I thought were friends. Yet in the end I gained much more.
After a period of soul-searching with my minister and Christian friends, I was able to sincerely experience God’s grace and mercy at levels I could never have imagined were possible. I learned about the idols in my life, discovered where I lost my way, and what I needed to do to repent, and never repeat the choices I had made that had gotten me into the mess I found myself in in the first place. I learned a lot about forgiveness. It was something I wrestled with like all people—how could God love and forgive me for what I had done? Could I become someone after God’s own heart like David was? Could I receive God’s love and forgiveness? Could I forgive those who had harmed me? Would my former wife forgive me? My children?
This journey of forgiving others and experiencing God’s true forgiveness completely changed my heart. I started to become who God wanted me to be.
I also rediscovered hope. After spending several days in Haiti just three weeks after a devastating earthquake, I witnessed the role that hope and hopelessness plays in everyone’s lives. Finding hope was difficult – but now that I have rediscovered it through Jesus, I am a new person once again.
My goal is that by telling my story, others will find strength and hope in their own lives as well as find a new understanding of what it means to receive and extend forgiveness.
From time to time I’ll use this section of my site to talk about what I’m writing and how it moves me one way or the other. Stay tuned and maybe my stories will motivate you t0 jot down what you’re thinking or want to share with others. In the meantime, follow me here and on twitter @authorstanley.