I’ve been finishing my book proposal this week, and it’s almost done, which means it should go out to publishers within the next few weeks! It’s super exciting; I’m just so close, which is why I chose to focus most of my attention on my proposal this week. And it is also why today’s post is a repeat, of sorts. I originally wrote this piece for another blogger as a guest post a while back. Some of you may have seen it, but most probably haven’t, so I hope you enjoy and are blessed by it. I’ll be back with all new posts next week.
Thirteen years ago, I sat on top of a houseboat next to my dad watching the sun set behind the towering canyon walls of Lake Powell. Dad half-heartedly joked about how he was getting older, and I was sure to poke fun at his old age. I was twenty at the time, and Dad was only forty-six.
He was certainly not an old man by any standard.
We sat there for quite some time, talking and just enjoying one another’s company. Yet as we sat there, we had no idea the sun was not only setting for day, but it was about to set on our time together here on Earth as well.
Upon returning from an extended vacation a little more than a week later, I was stunned when I was told, “Laurie, your dad was murdered last night.”
I have tried to come up with words to adequately convey what this terrible moment and the weeks and months that followed were like, but I’m not sure it’s possible. It was awful, to say the least.
After the funeral, I sat next to my boyfriend, now husband, Travis on the grass at a park, my mind reeling and attempting to make sense of my new reality with little success. Anthony, the man who murdered my dad, was a mere five miles away in a jail cell.
I thought of Anthony.
I thought of my dad.
It all felt so meaningless.
Inundated with confusion, grief, and anger, I softly began to speak. “They say that everything happens for a reason,” I said to Travis with my head down, playing with a blade of grass. “But how could there be a reason for this?”
I wasn’t looking for a response, and Travis didn’t have one.
Nothing made sense to me. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what had happened. My dad had been murdered.
He was gone.
At the time, I felt like no loss could compare to the one I just experienced. Yet, since then, I’ve learned that loss is something that is common to us all. Whether it’s the tragic loss of a parent, a spouse, a sibling, or your child; or it’s the loss of a job, your home, or perhaps even your identity––we all experience loss to one degree or another in our lifetime and none of it is easy to face.
The rhetorical question I asked Travis shortly after the death of my dad, is one we all find ourselves asking at some point. How could there be a reason for this?
The question is valid.
It’s okay to want to know that the losses we experience ultimately have purpose. No one wants to go through tragedy, trials, or loss for no reason.
When I lost my dad, it all felt like such a waste, and I wasn’t able to see how any good could come out of such a horrific tragedy. Yet, I have since been amazed by God and just how faithful He is to the promises He makes.
Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
Rest assured. God will work ALL things for good for those who love Him.
Nine years after my dad’s death, I began corresponding with Anthony, the man who committed the murder. Jesus was calling me to not only forgive my enemy, but to love him as well.
Of course, I had no idea how to do this or what it looked liked like to “love my enemy.” But through much prayer, each step to be taken became clear as Anthony and I worked through the innumerable issues at hand and worked toward forgiveness.
All the while, I allowed God unhindered access to the pain and bitterness that had taken root so many years prior, and He was faithful to heal.
Throughout this two year process, I truly witnessed the impossible happen.
Both Anthony and I were transformed by the grace of God.
Anthony was brought to a place of complete, true repentance, and he was set on a new path bringing glory to Jesus in prison.
And I was set free. Freed from the pain and the bitterness rooted deep within my soul. Freed to truly live without sorrow. Without fear.
It was nothing less than a work of God. Jesus brought good out of evil, love out of hate, and peace out of despair.
So, I would like to encourage you today to seek God in your pain. Bring your wounds to the Healer and allow Him to turn your loss into your strength.
We serve a God who redeems our losses. He is faithful and wants to set you free.
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