Some said it was madness to go back to the scene of the crime. Others applauded it, said it showed courage. I had to go back to see it again. I had to face the demons that were unleashed that night.
It’s been a long six months since my husband was shot and paralyzed from the waist down, coming home from a Thanksgiving celebration out of state with his parents and family. There have been victories, like him getting out of rehab In a record 20 or so days. He has been back to work and he’s driving in a car that has hand controls. He’s doing well.
As his spouse, I’m not doing so well. This is hard for me to write. Blogging about intensely personal things is much like gutting fish one catches: you expose all their innards. Writing is like putting letches on your body; it’s bloodletting but cathartic at the same time.
As I sat on a stone wall at the rest stop where my husband was shot, I could see it all happening before me, like a flashback in a movie. I was doing okay – until a sudden burst of an ambulance siren pierced the evening from the interstate. Suddenly I was back there, hearing the screaming police cars and ambulance rushing to the scene. Hearing the screams from my own body and those of my son’s as he frantically called 911. Hearing our daughter’s sobs: “My Daddy’s dead; my Daddy’s dead.”
He wasn’t dead. He sustained a T12 paralysis, which means he’s paralyzed from the waist down. At the time, I told the media that I forgave the shooters.
I still do. Every.Single.Day.
Because that’s what it takes: Every.Single.Day – giving it to Christ to handle for that day. Rinse and repeat.
As I hear my precious husband, my soul mate, moan in his sleep, I pray: “Lord, forgive them.” As I help him evacuate his bowels or cath him because nothing works from the waist down anymore, I pray: “Lord, forgive them. Lord, I can only forgive them with Your help and In Your Son’s Holy Name.”
I remember what Christ said even as the Romans were pounding the nails in His hands as the Jewish high priests mocked Him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” [Luke 23:34]. It’s getting increasingly more difficult to forgive when the people who shot my husband knew what they were doing.
Yet – God is the God of yets – God sent His only begotten Son for those two guys just as much as He sent Jesus for me. Going to the rest stop was about facing the demons that started all this, to show them – and myself – that no matter what happens in life, God is still sovereign. Jesus is still in the business of redeeming people and situations. Jesus obliterated satan’s plans to rule over the earth through sin and death when He died and rose again.
What demons do you face? Do you face the demon of domestic violence? Divorce? Death? Illness? Do you face financial struggles so great you can’t see a way out?
Jesus will help you – but it takes trust in Him. Expectant, unbelievable, miraculous trust in Jesus.
Jesus is helping me – helping me to see His will in all this. Helping to give me patience with my husband and a compassion for him I had no idea I had. That’s all Christ. While I still struggle with balancing home, being his caregiver and my ill mother’s caregiver, taking care of my children, blogging and writing professionally, and trying to minister to others through and because of this horrendous tragedy, God is teaching me to rely all on Him. I cannot do this all by myself. It’s only in His strength.
We’re familiar with Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” But if we look a little further down, we see an expansion of this verse. Verse 19 states that “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Strength, meeting needs, peace – all of these have one Source: God. We must not only realize this and claim this, but claim the victory we have in Jesus. Jesus has given us victory over the demons that torment us and make our lives difficult. 1 John 4:4-5 states, “…Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
That is why I had to go back to the rest stop and face the demons: to remind them that they may inflicted a critical blow, but Jesus has defeated them soundly – and their master, satan. Facing the demons meant reminding them that they did not win this battle. They may have caused a cascade of tears and made life hard for a season, but as soon as death or Jesus comes, the season of paralysis is over.
© 2016 Terrie McKee
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