Tag Archives: forgiveness

Dropping the Ball & Matters of Forgiveness 

This post is painfully authentic. It’s an unvarnished look at how this bereaved mother feels since justice was once again denied my children. It’s peripherally about my faith, but blatantly reveals my humanity. So, if you can’t handle the truth and the inability to fix the unfixable, it’s best if you walk away right now. Otherwise, pull up a chair and virtually hold my hand as I walk you through the hard stuff.

It’s been a bit of a crappy week. For every minute that my mind has not been fully engaged in fiction or shut down by sleep it has cycled and recycled through the events that took place in the courtroom Monday. 

There have been moments when I’ve felt like a heavy weight has been lifted from me. I can finally completely turn away from the man-child who killed my daughters. Every obligation I had has been satisfied. (I should clarify that I don’t refer to Troy Robins as a man-child to speak of him in a derogatory fashion but rather as an acknowledgement of who I see him to be). A grown adult who has not put away childish thinking and behavior. I can’t even hate him; instead I pity him. Regardless, I really don’t want to talk about him. I like to think he’s beneath my consideration. I know that’s not very Christ like, but I don’t feel terribly charitable towards him. If I wanted heaping hot coals to take up residence on his head, I’d pray for him. I can barely pray for myself – for David and Gracen. So praying for him, my enemy in the eyes of many, is not something I invest my time in.

I didn’t get much of an opportunity to enjoy the freedom that resulted when my obligation for the safety of others was satisfied. No, it took no time at all for the fury over the complete lack of justice to rear its ugly head. I keep swallowing the rage because there is no satisfying or acceptable way to vent it. Voicing it and writing about it are the best I can do but neither dissipates the feelings. So I expend what energy I have left vacillating between the shocking feelings of absolute horror and doing my best to exercise self-control to contain the rage.

But worst of all is the self-condemnation I feel for not trying to speak up in court. The rage I’ve felt has always been directed toward others but it is so much harder to know I forfeited the very last opportunity to see justice served by failing to speak up. I feel as if I fumbled the ball a step from the end zone. 

After taking so many steps to see that justice would finally be served why didn’t I stand up and ask if I could address the court? The worst that could have happened is the denial of my request. So now, I am as enraged at myself as I’ve been at all the others. 

Today, I really need a heavy duty helmet because I just want to beat my head against a wall. 



Again and again and again.

I fear that I will torture myself with that one failure forevermore. 

This is pure torment. 

Satan got the victory again and I handed it to him.

That kills me!

Please just shoot me now!

A good friend commented yesterday that she couldn’t imagine what that drive home after court was like for me. I fought tears for much of the ride and especially when I passed the accident site where two crosses stand defiantly proclaiming that Bethany and Katie’s lives were valuable, not disposable, as the courts have implied by their failure to uphold the law. As I drove by those crosses Monday morning I was assualted by the fierce longing to no longer be a part of this world – again. Believe me I’ve been there before.

I’m not suicidal, but there is this very, very common feeling that is rarely spoken of even in the loss community. Many among us long for death. It is an allconsuming desperate desire to escape, to just stop everything. To fall asleep and never wake up again. Suicide by neglect, if you will. There’s no desire to eat, to sleep, to shower or even crawl out of your bed ever again. 

In the movie Forrest Gump, Jenny prayed that God would allow her to fly away from her abusive father. And after Jenny’s death Forrest laced up his sneakers and just started running. Both characters displayed a desperate desire to escape the reality of their lives. Neither had a specific destination in mind – they just wanted to be anywhere other than the place they were currently at. I know that feeling in various forms from itching restlessness to deep, dark, unfathomable emptiness. Monday, on that drive home, I revisited that deep, dark, place where I have already spent far too much time in the last three plus years. And later in the week that itching restlessness reappeared driven by the unforgivable dropping of the ball. 

I have brand new forgiveness issues to confront. With the Judge who cavalierly suggested dismissing the charge. To the prosecutor for failing to respond to either of the two emails I sent asking what I could expect in court so that I could avoid being blindsided by the unexpected. And of course, the person who made the final decision to dismiss the charge. 

I could simply bow my head in obedience and by route request forgiveness for the parts each individual played in this miscarriage of justice but I know it’s not really that simple. All of scripture tells me that God is more interested in the motivations of my heart than obedience. Every parent knows that defiant obedience cultivates resentment. I’m going to need supernatural help to allow me to grant forgiveness from a heart that pleases the Lord and oh, how I wish I did not have to retrace those steps.

But far more difficult than forgiving those who contributed to this miscarriage of justice, is the ability to forgive myself for dropping the ball just short of the goal line. All that effort, all the hours spent over the last three years, lost in one single moment in time. 

There will be no wings to help me fly away from that reality. No road long enough to flee from my own failure. And there’s not enough chocolate in the world to sustain a sugar induced coma that will grant me escape from the fact that I could have asked one simple question that might or might not have made a difference. Just the chance that one question might have mattered – I can’t get over that. It’s a steel reinforced cage of self-condemnation because it doesn’t really matter if God, Himself doesn’t condemn me. I am too disappointed with myself for failing in the one thing that I could still do for my girls – for my immediate family. 

I’m not sure there is enough supernatural power in the world to grant me peace for this one misstep not because God isn’t powerful enough but because I don’t think I really want to forgive myself. This thing feels like the unpardonable sin of motherhood. I miss my girls but now I feel utterly unworthy of them. And no number of comments to the contrary will allay my guilt. So, yeah, I pretty much meant it when I said just shoot me now. If not for Gracen . . . well, let’s not go there.


Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Adversity, Faith


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Mercy, Forgiveness & Testimony

Mercy, Forgiveness & Testimony

I received the county 911 dispatch calls from our attorney’s office last year around this time.

That very day I listened to every recorded call.  Two calls featured my shrill, hysterical, voice in the background, which was surprising only in that I was completely unaware of the people who were placing those calls at the time.  They had to have been close at hand but their presence did not register in my mind.

The call Onstar placed for the owner of the speeding silver pickup was interesting in that they only seemed concerned with possible injuries to their driver.  I guess that’s the guy paying them and yet you’d think the Onstar operator, after discerning the wellbeing of his client, would inquire about other injuries as well.  What if the accident occurred when the road was deserted and their call was the only one placed to 911?


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Following my foray into the past, into bystanders reactions to the devastation of my life; immeasurably sad, I sprinkled burial-scented bath salts (Frankincense & myrrh) into my tub (not out of morbidity but because I love the fragrance) and sank into the warm water neck deep to process the emotions weighing so heavily on my heart.

And like so many nights before, my thoughts circled.  But this time the conclusions drawn seemed to contradict each other.  I found myself still firmly rooted in the belief that God will ensure justice is served since the legal system failed us to such a colossal degree, and then another, more sobering thought took center stage.  I faced the thoroughly discouraging knowledge that in truth, justice may never be served for my daughters because of God’s grace and mercy.  All that’s required for any one of us to receive forgiveness is that we seek God with a repentant heart and Poof! – our sins are forgiven – covered by the blood of the lamb, who so graciously covered my sins as well.


For the irrevocably injured this is a hard truth – an unpalatable truth, a bitter pill – and I found myself sobbing out my outrage, bath towel pressed to my mouth to muffle the sound from David and Gracen watching TV in the other room.

I found myself truly angry – enraged really – to consider that God will grant these men forgiveness full and free.  FREE!


I realize the key here is that the drivers, the prosecutor and the judge, each will first have to acknowledge and repent of their sin.  However, do they get to repent of a sinful lifestyle without specifically confessing the sins that led to the deaths of my daughters, the destruction of life as we knew it?  I know I never confessed each and every sin I’d committed when seeking salvation.

The possibility that mercy may be extended at such a great personal cost, without my consent or permission, is completely repulsive to me.  I’m not unaware of the irony of that statement in that that same grace and mercy was extended to me (although it should be noted that God, Himself did in fact grant permission).  This is not only an emotional battle but one I struggle with intellectually as well.

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Surprisingly, the idea of spending eternity with these men is not a such a difficult pill to swallow – only because the logical part of my mind is assured that is not a possibility. The Bible says at the point of salvation we become a new creature.  They may enter heaven with the same name but not the same nature and by golly, I will be made like Christ which will allow me to walk the streets of gold without stalking them and plotting to do them harm! For that I can be grateful as what kind of paradise would heaven be for me in I continued to harbor animosity toward any of these men and had to live eternally in their presence?

I hate this!  To forever and for all eternity be denied justice is a truth not easily accepted and one I know will require a considerable amount of excruciating personal struggle.  I have no desire to even contemplate the process.

Yet months and months later, that’s exactly where I found myself – contemplating a lack of justice and prayerfully forgiving these men – not for their benefit but for mine.  I highly doubt I can ever look upon the unlicensed driver, the prosecutor or the judge with anything but contempt, but my hope is their power to hurt me has been forever laid to rest.  The speeding driver, I think I can actually look at with pity – unless I find he too lacks remorse and that he assumes no responsibility for his own actions.  But, for now, I know no such thing and I will deal with forgiveness again should the need arise – for myself and because it’s commanded of me by my Savior.  But mostly for my selfish self so I can find a way to live free – without nausea – to lay down the burdens I’ve chosen to carry and those thrust upon me.

Someday, I hope to find my life no longer defined by the accident that forever altered it.  I hope there comes a day where following the introduction to someone new, the aside “That’s the woman whose children were killed in that car accident and . . .”  is no longer is tacked on either in my presence or behind my back as if I’m a novelty in a circus sideshow.

I hope the day comes where there are more notable things to define me than the losses I’ve suffered and the disappointments I’ve endured.

Words like “Bright, Passionate & Generous”“Joyful, Imaginative & Compassionate”, or “Courageous, Sassy & Tenacious” – the words found on Bethany and Katie’s headstones and reserved for Gracen’s.  I told her she’s the only one to be gifted with veto power.

Words that proudly proclaim the content of their character and personality more than the circumstance of their lives.  Words that speak of their true essence. Words that reflect the supernatural work of their Creator, their Savior and the Holy Spirit at work within.  Words that glorify God and forever testify to the immeasurable value of their lives, in spite of their far too soon departure from this world.  And yes, I hope David and Gracen can easily distill my character and personality down to three simple words on a headstone the only testimony of a life lived, choices made, and relevance assigned/ordained – by my Creator. I’m hoping for something more impressive than “Total book nerd”!


Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Adversity, Faith, Grief


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