Let me introduce you to Laurie Coombs. I met Laurie at She Speaks for the first time. While at lunch with a group of ladies, she shared her story with us. I was held captive by what Jesus redeemed through an unspeakable crime. I sat in complete stillness, unable to say a word (and for those who know me, THAT in itself is a miracle.) I saw the radiant peace wash over Laurie as described her journey and knew without a doubt it was not faked, it was not a show, it was the real deal, found only through Jesus. Welcome Laurie and let her story show you that no matter where you are, Jesus can always redeem ANYTHING.
I knew something happened. Shaking my head, I adamantly whispered, “No. no. no. no…” But with tear-filled eyes they told me. “Laurie, your dad was murdered last night. He’s dead.” Startled, my eyes began to dart around the room, not knowing what to do with I had been told. As my new reality began closing in around me, I felt the shackles of a heavy burden weighing me down, but there was no escape. I wanted to run away. I wanted to scream. I wanted to hit something, throw something. This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening, I thought. But it did happen. And in that moment, my life was forever changed.
Nine years later, Jesus called me to embark on a journey to forgive the man who murdered my dad. But then, He took it a step further: love your enemy, He said. Honestly, the word “love” in the same sentence as “enemy” didn’t seem to make sense to me. What’s more, the word “love” in reference to the man who murdered my dad was repulsive.
I cried out to the Lord and said, OK, God I get the whole forgiveness thing, but love my enemy? How am I to do THAT?!? Immediately, His response came, bring him a bible. And this is how it all began.
What began with a call to follow Jesus into my unknown, scary places resulted in the redemption and healing of not only of myself, but of the man who murdered my dad as well.
I have seen the unimaginable happen. And I know first hand that it is God’s intention to take the horrible chapters of our past and create beauty out of our darkness. Toward the end of this journey, I felt God saying to me, Laurie, this is what your journey has been all about. Changing lives. Bringing good out of evil. Beauty out of ashes. This is where it’s at. Not in your past. But what I will do with your past if you will continue to follow me wherever I lead.
God is good! It is His desire to lift us out of our despair and our pain and bring us to a new place. A place that is rich in beauty and blessing. Yet, God has shown me that in order to get there, we must choose, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, to say yes. To say yes, my Lord, I will follow You. Yes, my Lord, I will obey Your commands. For, it is when we lay down our fear, our pride, and our resistance that we are able to experience life as He intended. The life that Jesus died for us to have.
This is where redemption happens.
And I pray that you are encouraged to say yes to Jesus to whatever He may be calling you to and to embark on your own Jesus-led journey.
Thank you so much Laurie for sharing your story with me at lunch that day and for sharing with the readers here today. You are a picture of grace and beauty.
Laurie is a writer who encourages others to draw closer to the heart of Jesus. She lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband, Travis. They have two little girls and are in the process of adopting one or two more children from Ethiopia. Read more on her Blog, and visit her on Twitter and Facebook.