Archive for the ‘Lessons Learned’ Category

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 11th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 14 Comments
And there's nothing we can do that will have significant, lasting impact apart from God. [Tweet that] First John 4:9 tells us, "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him."  Jesus came that we might live. Truly live. Not endure. Not get by. But live fully, bountifully.

I camped out in the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of John for quite some time during my correspondence with Anthony, the man who murdered my dad. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I knew nothing of any value could be accomplished through my endeavor apart from Jesus. For apart from me you can do nothing. I read these words over and over. Jesus says, I am the vine. Abide in me. Abide. What does it look like to abide? I looked it up. Abide – to stay; to wait; to remain fixed in some state or condition; to endure; to sustain; to submit to… Abide in me. I clung close to the cross, I devoured God’s Word, I prayed like never before, I got down, prostrate before our mighty God and learned what it meant to abide in Jesus. And as I did, it became increasingly…

Posted on: June 4th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 1 Comment
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“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” – John 17:17 “Change is not possible,” says the naysayer. “We will always be the same. You can’t change who you are.” True. But God can. The naysayer is correct. We can’t change ourselves. Though we may be able to change our behavior, we can’t will ourselves into any lasting change. But the moment we lay our lives down before Jesus, we are new, and God does change us. So, change is possible, but it can only be attained through Jesus. So, how do we change? Jesus tells us in John 17:17 that God’s truth leads to transformation. It is His Word that leads us through the process of sanctification, which is a fancy, theological word for being made more like Jesus. Sanctification is change. Lasting change. As a baby Christian I remember picking up my Bible, being told it’s what good…

Posted on: May 31st, 2013 by Laurie Coombs
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I’m seeing that the Christian life is NOT a life of passivity but a life of choices empowered by the Holy Spirit.  – My prayer journal, May 13, 2010 The Christian life is not one marked by passivity, but instead, it requires that we step out in faith, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to do whatever it is Jesus calls us to. Following Jesus means that we get off the couch and do something. [tweet that] When I first became a Christian, (only about a year before I was called on my crazy journey with Anthony) I was under the impression that Christianity should be characterized more by a “let go and let God” theology than one that requires action. But, when Jesus called me to love and forgive the very man who murdered my dad, this paradigm was shattered. I was presented with commands. Forgive. Love your enemy. How…

Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 1 Comment
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Let all that you do be done in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:14 All that we do should be motivated by the love of God.  As you may have noticed, I’ve been hung-up on this topic lately. Many of my most recent posts have had this theme, or a variation of it, threaded throughout them. But this has been a mega-theme of my life recently. Honestly, I have to confess. I think I’ve been missing the mark on this one for quite some time now, but God’s giving me grace, and He’s renewing the love I had at first, which I am unbelievably grateful for. It All Begins With Love As I’ve mentioned time and time again, my journey with Anthony began with God’s whisper, showing me my need to forgive. But then He told me I needed to love my enemy. You see, it all began with love. All the craziness that happened, all the tears,…

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,…

Posted on: May 13th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 1 Comment
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Early on in my walk with God, I was told that the Bible says that we’re sinners. Logically then, I thought, this would infer that I sin. It was a novel concept to me. Really, it was. Up to this point, I never really thought about sin, and I certainly never thought I was a sinner or that I needed anything, let alone the help of a supposed God that could very well be the figment of someone’s imagination. Truly, I was blind to the ways of God. One day, after attending church for several weeks, however, I prayed. God, I said feeling a bit foolish, if I have any sins, show me. And boy did He deliver! I went from self-loving and self-idolizing (even though I was in a very bad place at the time) to self-loathing in no time at all. Once stripped of all deception, I began to see…

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 2 Comments
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Forgiveness––true Biblical forgiveness––requires that we have encountered and experienced the risen God. [Tweet that] It requires a changed heart. Truly, prior to forgiving one another, we need to understand and receive the forgiveness of God. For, we cannot give something we have yet to receive, and we cannot receive apart from understanding. [Tweet that] As I’m sure you know, the term Gospel––which refers to the work of Christ––literally means “good news.” I’ve heard many pastors say that in order for there to be good news something bad would have to be true. And until we understand the bad news, we cannot fully grasp how good the good news is. [Tweet that] This is why we all must come to understand who we are apart from Jesus. We need to understand just how sinful we are so that the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf––and consequently, the forgiveness He made possible––can be understood…

Posted on: April 29th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 1 Comment
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When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2 Two options were set before me when called to forgive Anthony (the man who murdered my dad): I could either choose to remain prideful––failing to see error in my perspective––or I could choose to humble myself before God and recognize that my “truth” was not God’s truth. Truth is, forgiveness requires humility. [Tweet that] It requires us to recognize that we may have some culpability in the situation or, at the very least, that we’re not seeing as we ought. We need to recognize that not all of what we believe to be the truth is ultimately God’s truth. When forgiving another of a sin committed against us, we must take a moment to examine ourselves as well. We need to understand that our perspective may be askew. We need to ask ourselves some very important questions….

Posted on: April 25th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 1 Comment
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I had a feeling something was still there. Some residual scarring caused by my dad’s murder. In a way, I wanted to go there. Get it all out. Heal completely. But at the same time, I feared what would be found. I sure hope I’m not really screwed up, I thought. But I knew some soul work needed to be done. Digging would have to take place. And the root of whatever was left behind would have to be excavated and restored. I tried to do this on my own for nine years after Dad died. I tried to “pick myself up by my bootstraps” and move on, reasoning that Dad would have wanted it this way. He wouldn’t want me to succumb to the wave of despair that threatened to swallow me whole. So, I moved on. Each time the thought of Anthony came into my mind, I chose…