I shared last week about the loss of our son Jamie and the way our lives as a family were changed forever. In the weeks and months after Jamie died, our pastor John Mosey was a wonderful friend. He helped us with the many practical arrangements, and he led Jamie’s funeral service, providing a great deal of comfort and support in a terrible time.
On Dec 21, 1988, in the same year that Jamie died, a Pan Am plane exploded over Lockerbie, killing everyone on board. John’s 19-year-old daughter Helga was one of the victims. I remember the day we received the news and I drove to John’s house. John and his family knew Helga had been on the plane, but John was on the phone in the hallway, trying to confirm some more details. ‘I am so glad you are here,’ he said. ‘You know what it feels like to lose a child.’
The circumstances were very different. Jamie had died from an unknown illness and Helga had been killed in a suspected terrorist attack. But now, in the same year, both families were facing the indescribable grief of losing a child.
News of the Lockerbie disaster was in every newspaper, and John became known at the time for saying he would forgive the people who had taken his daughter from them. Our family did not have anyone to forgive in the same way, but as the years went by and I continued to carry a great weight of grief, I wondered if I did need to forgive someone.
In April 2016, RT Kendall came to visit UCB. I spoke about his visit in another blog post, but I did not share at the time how much this visit impacted me. RT was filming a TV programme for UCB TV, but we asked if he would share something for UCB’s team leaders also.
RT spoke for a little while about forgiveness and encouraged our team to forgive those who had hurt them. He then said he wanted to pray for those who needed to forgive themselves. This was a very important moment for me personally, for although many years had passed since we had lost Jamie, I had carried a silent burden of guilt, wondering if I could have done more? Could I have spent more time with him? Could I have done things differently?
RT’s time with us and his powerful prayer was a moment of breakthrough in my life. Over the next few days, I began to realise that I felt totally free. By the power of God’s grace, I was finally released from a burden which I was never meant to carry. God had shown me that I needed to forgive myself.
I believe that God wants all of us to be totally free – to not carry guilt and shame from the past into our present lives. I thank God for sending Godly people into the ministry of UCB who can show us more about God’s wonderful healing power.
Jesus came to set the prisoners free. If we choose to accept it, we too can live in total freedom.
5 thoughts on “Learning to forgive yourself ”
Hold on to His love for you… Thanks for sharing to lose a child and to forgive and get back up…..
The Lord your God is with you,
He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you over you with singing..
Thank you so much for sharing this. I have not lost a child who has died and cant imagine the pain of that but am estranged from my daughter who is 26. She blames me and punishes me constantly. She refuses to answer calls or texts and I am distaught.
I blame myself and wish I had done things differently in the past but the choices i made good and bad i thought were right at the time. I feel so guilty.
i have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and I so dearly want to make my peace with her but she just doesn’t want to talk about it. I dont know what else to do
It was wonderful to read these encouraging words when I have felt my whole life I never do anything right in the eyes of my family and church.
I feel someone is always ready to point my faults, which appppppearrr many.
If I am honest I have them and have finally given up and gave them to God.
I have to forgive myself daily because I can soon lose perspective about myself like last night for example I could remember my National Insurance number which I have had since I was15!! when I finally did I lost my right to vote – as I am working in Brunei, (thats another story). So I lost it out of sheer frustration with my stupidity. It may seem trivial to anyone reading this but it meant something to me. I felt a nobody for that one moment yet again.
Icould not forgive myself but I know I have too as God calls for it.
I highly recommend R T Kendall’s book, ‘Totally Forgiving Ourselves ‘. At the end he quotes a lovely hymn by Janny Green called ‘Broken Wings- Stronger Than Before’
As the seasons make their turn
There’s a lesson here to learn
Broken wings take time to mend
Before they learn to fly again
On the breath of God they’ll soar
They’ll be stronger than before
Don’t look back into the past
What was fire now is ash;
Let it all be dead and gone-
The time is now for moving on.