It was a perfect Georgia autumn afternoon; the kind that brings pleasure to the eye and senses. The sky was a crystal clear blue with wispy clouds dancing across its sunny expanse. The air was cool and light. The trees were proudly sporting bright hues of crimson, yellow, and orange leaves that were all the more accentuated by the streaming sunlight. My heart was feeling light; traces of joy had begun to linger for longer periods of time, like a welcomed friend. The last five years had been characterized by the tumultuous ebb and flow of deep grief.
I was scheduled to meet a friend at Babies “R” Us to pick out a shower gift for our mutual friend’s much anticipated grandchild. I borrowed my hubby’s car so I could open the top and enjoy the rush of the invigorating fall air.
Uncharacteristically early, I went to a nearby Starbucks. I drove up to the drive thru, ordered, drove to the window to pay, and there he stood at the window: the one who had broken my heart—shattered my family in a million pieces.
I had always wondered how I would respond if this day ever came. I hadn’t seen him since he’d been handcuffed and taken from the courtroom.
Strangely, time stilled, my thoughts were clear, and I felt completely held—surrounded by a supernatural peace. I realized my sunglasses kept him from recognizing me. I sensed God was giving me the choice to pay and drive off or say something and be a part of something bigger.
I pulled up my sunglasses and said, “Hello. Do you remember who I am?” He looked scared and color drained from his face. In that moment, God supernaturally flooded me with His love for this young man. I saw him through different eyes, God’s eyes.
He wasn’t a monster, he was a young man who had made a terrible choice that would carry costly lifelong consequences—a huge burden for youthful shoulders to bear. I looked at him and said, “ Your life was spared for a reason, now, please do something with it. Live your life.” We chatted for a brief moment about school and his family. I payed and I left.
An extraordinary moment had unfolded right in the middle of everyday ordinary living.
All those years of wrestling to surrender had come to this sacred moment. The path of forgiveness was real. Anger and hate no longer ruled my heart. God had done the miraculous. I was set free… And, maybe I was a conduit of His grace.
Sisters, the freedom of forgiveness is worth the fight and eventual surrender. I bless you to let go of whatever may be holding you hostage.
Scripture of the Day:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31)
May the words of the song “Forgiveness” by Matthew West wash over you and touch your heart.
Author: Maryanne Abbate