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.