Laura posted to Instagram on Wednesday for the first time since October, breaking her silence on the day that the couple is celebrating 18 years of marriage.
The post featured a photo of a blue sky and several palm trees — and while the caption did not explicitly reference Carl’s scandal, which made headlines in November, it made multiple allusions to familial strife and resilience.
“There are many symbolic meanings to these amazing trees,” Laura wrote. “A few that have resonated with me during this season of my life: they are strong, can weather the biggest storms, they always grow upwards. Freedom, righteousness, reward, resurrection just to name a few…”
The mother of three explained that she took a break from social media over the past few months because it was “not good for [her] soul,” and that she’d had to block and delete many users and comments from her posts.
“Trolls are cowards, SOME ‘Christians’ are anything but kind, gracious, or loving…but that won’t stop me from growing upwards & getting stronger,” she wrote. “I have learnt a lot about myself over the past few months. Now more than ever I know the kindness of God, His grace, forgiveness & strength.”
Laura added that her family’s struggles had led her to “true friendships,” but had also marked the end of others.
“I will not forget who abandoned us, but I choose to keep my heart free of bitterness & remain thankful for those that have stayed & loved us. I don’t want to judge others nor do I want to be judged,” she wrote.
She ended her note with a quote from a friend that she said had stuck with her in recent months: “I would rather be accused of being too gracious toward someone, over being accused of judging someone too harshly.”
“I want to be known as a woman who sees the good in people & truly loves people unconditionally,” she concluded, adding the hashtags, “You Can Only Change You, “Love Wins” and “Grow Upwards.”
Laura did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, and attempts to reach Carl for comment were unsuccessful.
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