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Archive for the ‘Bitterness’ Category

Posted on: September 8th, 2014 by Laurie Coombs 4 Comments
biases, truth, healing

A sea of tissues––crumpled up and used––littered the ground around me. Hours had passed since I had first sat down with that blue binder, praying for God to allow me to see, and it seemed my prayers were beginning to be answered. More than nine years had passed since Dad was murdered, but in all those years, I had never once read through the contents of the binder in its entirety, let alone in one sitting. But now, I needed to. God had called me to forgive the man who murdered my dad. I had just received my first letter from him that afternoon, which I certainly did not welcome. But after having read the letter––after having cried out to God for what seemed like hours––it occurred to me, for the first time, that perhaps my truth was not God’s truth. And in that moment, all I knew came into…

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by Laurie Coombs 2 Comments
God's outpouring of grace

It’s easy to see the grace of God and be thankful for it in all that is good in our lives. But can we recognize His grace and be thankful in our trials? In the midst of uncertainty and pain? Can we see that everything––the good, the bad, and the ugly––all of it, is grace? Like many of you, my story is not one I would have chosen for myself. For years, I found it difficult to embrace the life I found my self living. But over the course of the last few years, God has opened my eyes to see the thread of grace He had been weaving throughout each and every moment of my life from the beginning. Grace, it turns out, was there all along––through the good and the bad. Grace was there, guiding me throughout my childhood. Grace was there, strengthening me through my parents’ divorce….

Posted on: June 25th, 2014 by Laurie Coombs 11 Comments
Anxiety and Depression Losing You Life to Save It

I think my anxiety was brought on by the many years of heightened stress I experienced after my dad’s murder. It seemed the stress built up slowly over time until my body simply couldn’t take it any more, and I just sort of fell apart. But it wasn’t just the murder. I think it was a combination of many things––my type-A personality, my need for control, additional stress caused by a high-risk pregnancy, and the normal stresses of daily life––that contributed to my downfall. I was confused when the physical symptoms of anxiety finally came to a head. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me, and this was when the depression hit. All the medical tests ordered by several different doctors came back normal. In hindsight this was a good thing, but it didn’t feel like it at the time. Not finding a cause for my many troubling symptoms left…

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 4 Comments
How Do We Deal With Pain

At the beginning of September, I wrote asking if  readers had questions for Anthony, the man who murdered my dad, or myself. And there was, in fact, one question posed by Mark Alman (for each of us). I sent the question to Anthony, and His response (as well as mine) can be found below.  ~ For Anthony:  “I have been thinking a lot about pain recently and how pain drives us to do wrong things.  I believe in my life my most egregious sins were driven by pain.  I wonder if you felt that yours were as well?” – Mark Anthony’s response: Yes, Mark. In my life, as well, my worst sin was driven by pain. Men tend to manifest hurt into anger. I think it’s programmed into us! When the Holy Spirit comes into us, we also receive His blessings, or fruit––love, peace, patience, etc––but when we get hurt and…

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 3 Comments
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For weeks, thick smoke drifted hundreds of miles from the fire in Yosemite to our home in Reno. Ash fell from the sky in a delicate dance much like that of a snowflake, yet in itself was the antithesis of snow. Dirty flakes, remnants of life now dead filled our air. Smoke blocked the Sierra Nevadas from view and, at times, was so thick one could not see to the end of the street clearly. It became oppressive. There was a heaviness to the air I have not experienced before, and everyone was feeling it. “Oh, this smoke,” people would say in exasperation as they mulled about their day. Windows remained shut, and we remained indoors to prevent breathing unnecessary amounts of dirty air. After a while, however, the smoke began to lift. Despite its continued presence, God brought us some of the most beautiful sunsets. “Beauty for ashes,” I whispered…

Posted on: September 17th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 1 Comment
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Jesus taught his followers a new way to treat people. Usually when people hurt you, you want to hurt them back. If people don’t like you, you don’t like them either. But Jesus tells us to love our enemies. It’s never easy but Jesus can help you. If you do good to your enemies you could change your life and theirs forever. – Avery (right before her 6th birthday), quoting one of her children’s devotional books. I came across this piece of paper a few weeks back and had to share it. As I busily cleaned the house one day, my daughter, Avery, decided to grab her “devo” and copy down one of its entries. This is what I found. Now, I don’t know if her selection was intentional or not, but out of the 365 entries in her book, she chose this one, and of course, you all know how…

Posted on: June 25th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 4 Comments
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I was a wreck. “I’ve spent my entire life trying to achieve and set goals for myself,” I told my husband, Travis, “and I’ve hinged all happiness on the achievement of those goals only to continuously fall short of true happiness. It’s like there’s this emptiness inside, but I don’t know how to make it go away!” I felt empty, defeated, depressed, and anxious. And I had no answers. It was a very dark place. Over and over I kept saying, I just want to feel peace. I just want peace. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t save myself. [Tweet that] Blind and Paralyzed Then, I had a dream. I dreamt I became blind and paralyzed. And when I awoke I was perplexed and greatly disturbed. I didn’t know what it meant. Perhaps it means nothing, I tried to convince myself. But still, I couldn’t shake it. Yet, it wasn’t…

Posted on: June 18th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 9 Comments
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I never intended to be a victim. Shortly after my dad was murdered, my family and I were referred to the victim services department at the courthouse. It was the first time we were called victims. But honestly, I didn’t consider myself to be the victim. My dad was the victim. But somehow, I think the victim thing crept in, and my dad’s death became the defining moment of my life. I didn’t want to be defined by this tragedy, but I was. I became the girl whose dad was murdered. I hated being this person. I hated being a murder victim’s daughter, but as far as I saw it, it’s who I was. I couldn’t escape it. I guess I am a victim, I finally concluded. At this time in my life, I was very much in the world. I didn’t know God, and I certainly wasn’t following Jesus yet….

Posted on: June 14th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs
Leanne Penny

Today, I’m over at Leanne Penny’s blog, sharing my story, focusing upon loss and redemption. Leanne has quite a story herself. She writes about loss, grief, grace, and hope. I know you’ll find her to be a source of strength along your own journey, so go ahead, check her out! But here’s the question I pose today on Leanne’s blog: Can Jesus really redeem our losses?  It’s an appropriate question, I think, one that I struggled with for quite some time. And I hope you’ll join me as I attempt to answer this question in my post titled Can Jesus Really Redeem Our Losses? If you’re joining me from Leanne’s blog, I’m happy you’re here. Welcome! I hope you’ll take a moment and stay a while.  One More Thing Okay, I have only one more thing to share, so stick with me! Since writing my post for Leanne, God has given me…

Posted on: May 16th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 3 Comments
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I didn’t want to go digging around my past, but I knew I needed to. I knew some residual effects of my dad’s murder had to still be there. As I walked through some of the most difficult times in the weeks, months, and years following the murder, I remember thinking I sure hope this doesn’t screw me up. My dad wasn’t married at the time of his death which meant that my brother, sister, and I were legally responsible for picking up the pieces when he died. Our extended family helped quite a bit––as much as they could, really, which I am so thankful for––but there was only so much they could do. My mom, however, was the backbone that held us all together, and I will forever be grateful to her for that. She played an integral part in the process of helping us wade through all the mess. (Thank you,…