The raw truth about forgiveness // Leesa's story

What is forgiveness? What does it truly mean to forgive someone? Leesa from our Penrith campus shares her story of fully understanding the power of letting go. Words by Leesa Kaimoana.

Forgiveness is not burying your head in the sand and pretending that situations don’t exist. The only way to deal with situations is to face them head on, take every hurt, every pain to God. He is the only one who truly understands what we are going through and by doing so we can deal with our unforgiving hearts.

The person I needed to forgive was my biological mother. The family who adopted me are the best in the world, however there was always a longing to know where I came from. In 2003, I felt it was time to find out more about where I came from. I obtained my adoption files, with my biological mother’s psychological reports from the time of my birth. While reading through them, I made a startling and hurtful discovery. I read the words “the mother seems to hate and resent the child she is carrying.” It cut like a knife.

There was only one place for me to turn. I fell straight into the arms of my heavenly Father. I was so distraught at the thought that on the day I was born there was no rejoicing, no celebration. 

As a mother who has experienced the joy of giving birth, it was incredibly difficult for me to fathom how anyone could be like that. I desperately ran to God in prayer, and God guided me to read Psalm 22:10 in The Message:

‘When I left the womb you cradled me; since the moment of birth you’ve been my God.’ There may not have been earthly family rejoicing, but God was there from the very beginning.

I fell straight into the arms of my heavenly Father. I was so distraught at the thought that on the day I was born there was no rejoicing, no celebration. 

I finally made contact with my biological mother. The initial exchange was positive. However, when she discovered I had been given a great life with fantastic, loving parents, the tone changed and the correspondence became harsh. I was gutted. I felt as though the whole situation was my fault. I was angry. I was bitter. I wanted to give her a piece of my mind. She had rejected me, AGAIN!

The happy bunch: Leesa with her family at our Vision Builders Dinner in June. L-R Husband Gavin, Leesa, daughter Alysha, sons Josh and Jordan, and parents Jan and David.

The happy bunch: Leesa with her family at our Vision Builders Dinner in June. L-R Husband Gavin, Leesa, daughter Alysha, sons Josh and Jordan, and parents Jan and David.

I felt justified to be unforgiving; I hadn’t asked to be born. I knew I had to forgive, but I didn’t want to. Time and time again I would say I’d forgiven her, but I hadn’t in my heart. I had been told that she thought about me on my birthday. Over the next couple of birthdays, I would think ‘Sucked in! It’s my birthday and you are thinking of me, even though you don’t want to.’

I felt justified to be unforgiving; I hadn’t asked to be born. I knew I had to forgive, but I didn’t want to. Time and time again I would say I’d forgiven her, but I hadn’t in my heart.

One day, during worship, God spoke to me. I felt convicted of the need to forgive her, not just in words but also in my heart. I had a revelation: the only person I was harming was myself; she didn’t even know me, let alone know of my enduring grudge. I prayed to the Lord, asking Him to forgive me for not forgiving her. I truly forgave her for everything I had against her. I released the burden, as it wasn’t mine to carry. I knew I had forgiven her when my next birthday came around and I didn’t even think about her. I can now sincerely pray for God’s blessing on her and her family. I am free.

I am so glad that we have a heavenly Father that loves us. He gives us the strength to carry on and come out the other side all the better for it.

The most important thing I learnt on this journey that consumed all my thoughts in 2003, was that I needed to come to God in prayer daily. Even though I had fabulous support around me, they couldn't help me the way God did. Jesus was the one constant that I could turn to at all times. I learned to listen & depend on Him in a way that I never had before.


Leesa and her family are active members at our wonderful C3 Penrith congregation. We are in the midst of a series on The Lord's Prayer across our campuses. We'd love you to join us! Click here for details and here for times and locations.

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