My name is Marie, I'm 24 years old and have been hanging around SUG for quite some time. You see, when I was just a kid I started making mistakes in my life. By the time I was 12 I had a serious, much older, very abusive boyfriend and I'll admit that yes, I was having sex at that age. It of course didn't take long for me to get pregnant after that. I have had multiple abortions , multiple miscarrages, a preemie who became an angel, and four beautiful children. I've been pregnant multiple times in a single year and it didn't seem to matter what I did to prevent it, it kept happening.

Now I know I seem pretty stupid and promiscuous, and perhaps I once was.

When I was 15 I met the love of my life. I admit that we still weren't smart at this point in our lives. When we were 16 and 17 our oldest son Liam was born. A beautiful, bright little boy. Following soon after was Aidan at 18 years old, Makenzie at 21 years old and Cole just this past year at 24 years old. We got married in 2003, and have become fantastic parents to our children. We attend church on a regular basis and have friends and family who love us and our children. While I was pregnant with Cole we agreed that our family felt complete (as well, my body can't handle any more pregnancies), and my husband had a vasectomy done to help prevent any more unplanned babies.

From the outside our lives seemed pretty good, we have a house, two cars, we both have careers, we are settled in our lives. But inside we were both still torn up over our many mistakes. The biggest things that loomed in our minds were the abortions that we had chosen to have and the day that we made the decision to let our little girl die. We had regrets about having sex so early in our lives, me about the number of partners I have had, both of us over many things, things that could no longer be changed.

This past Sunday we attended church as usual, only the message seemed to hit harder and a little closer to home. Forgiveness was the theme... not about asking for it. It seems that we have asked over and over, and still not felt forgiven. But the message was on accepting that forgiveness which was asked for. Suddenly I realised that I had asked God repeatedly to forgive me for my past mistakes, mistakes that were still haunting my daily life, affecting every thought, every decision, I made. I had been torturing myself, feeling as though I would NEVER be forgiven, I could NEVER do enough to make up for my decisions in life. I had screwed up and couldn't make things right.

What I didn't realise is that once I asked for forgiveness it was given to me. All that I needed to do was to accept that forgiveness. The ball was in my court, and I couldn't see it. Finally I feel free. I spent an afternoon this week reading the Bible and praying, talking and letting go. I have now accepted His forgiveness and I couldn't feel more free. Yes I still have my past, it will never be wiped clear away from me, but now I know that it doesn't matter what I did, just that I have been forgiven. My husband and I have talked and he has done something similar to me, and we both have forgiven each other for our mistakes. I believe that this simple experience has not only made us stronger as individuals, but as a couple, and as a family.

It's funny that as a person it is so easy to ask for a gift and then forget to accept it... but that's what happened with us.

Now it's time to let go and live our lives to the fullest. We will never forget, but we are now comfortable in that we are forgiven, we are no longer chained by guilt and regret for things which cannot be changed.

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