“How do I put the past behind us?” is a great question to address, but not easy to answer. Many days I feel completely over it, but from time to time I still have a mind struggle going on with the painful past.
Of course, after Todd’s confession came out, I had to deal with it. Although I wanted victory, I couldn’t just sweep it under the rug like it didn’t happen, even though I had forgiven him. I had to address it within myself. Naturally, this leads to questions. For a while, this was therapeutic. I didn’t really want to know the awful details, but I wanted to know it wasn’t as bad as my mind made up. Sometimes his answers were helpful; other times, they were disappointing. Finally, about 2 months after Todd’s confession, Todd was really frustrated with me (and I with him), and I realized I had dealt with the past long enough. Now, it was time to move forward with my husband. God had already led me to Isaiah 43:18 & 19 (NIV):
“’Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.’”
I wanted the “new thing”, so I had to do my part and “forget the former things.” I like the way the NASB puts it (because I couldn’t just delete this from my mind!): “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past,” (v. 18).
So now, I made the conscious decision to not allow thoughts of the past to linger in my head. If they popped into my head, I would pop them out. Of course, this isn’t always easy, but Todd was happy to leave the past in its place, and I wanted to enjoy the future with my husband who was becoming the godly man for whom I had prayed for years! So, when thoughts of the past would pop into my mind, I would pray and/or praise them away. I would not (and still do not) allow my mind to follow that rabbit trail. I pray, “Move this mountain” ( ), or simply repeat the name of Jesus over and over again, or sing praise songs. Today it is also easy for me to ‘unpop’ those thoughts by thanking God for who my husband is now. I also think about my own sinfulness–how I need forgiveness, and I’m thankful that God, who is holy, chooses to “remember my sins no more” (Jer. 31:34).
Scripture is the key for both of us—reading it, studying it, praying it and believing it. Filling our minds with the Truth of God’s Word enables us to stand firm against Satan’s lies and temptations. I continue to pray Scripture verses of victory, freedom, healing and restoration each morning when I exercise. It gives us confidence that we have all those blessings securely in Christ and His Word. Whether it’s Todd or me that is tempted in any way, we know from Scripture that we have victory in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14) and “the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world,” (1 John 4:4). We each have our individual Bible study and prayer times, but we also feel it’s key to pray, read the Bible together and discuss it. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (2 Tim. 3:17).
Ironically, sharing our testimony helps put the past behind us too. We have each shared twice (once together & once separately) and feel so blessed to be able to get it out and encourage others with our story. Following both times of sharing, people have told me that I’m “radiating” and people think more, not less, highly of Todd. That’s what we want—to radiate with the joy and victory found in Christ! Satan wants to bring married couples down, but Christ is bigger and victory over the sin and over the past is found in Him! “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ. . .” (2 Cor. 2:14).
From Todd- One of the best ways for us to put the past behind us is to celebrate today. Much of my celebration comes for being married to a beautiful woman who loves me anyway. It is amazing of the power of forgiveness and how it can transform you to a new life. Christ and Diane’s forgiveness has given me the ability to put the past where it belongs and cast this sin out of my life. Once someone is freed from a secret sin and experience true forgiveness, you want to put the past behind you. It is so awesome to think of the new opportunities that Diane and I have to experience life in a whole new ways. Some days it feels like I am breathing air for the first time or seeing life in color. I see Diane in new ways, experience her love in new ways, and enjoy my kids more. Through Christ, we can experience the abundance of life …I now truly know what that means. The past is now history and it no longer has a claim on me.