Has anyone ever asked who the most influential person in your life is?
For me, it was my Grandma Doris.
She was so strong in her faith – every day she would pray, read her devotional and her Bible. She was well-liked by many. I believe this was because she lived out her faith and led by example.
When I was a senior in college, Grandma Doris was involved in a horrible accident. A car hit her while she was walking in a crosswalk, breaking both bones in her right leg, her pelvis, back and left shoulder.
The driver of this car was one of my classmates, who also happened to be the same girl who bullied me in middle school.
While grandma laid in the street waiting for the ambulance, she recited her favorite verse, Isaiah 41:10:
“Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
She repeated this verse during the ambulance ride, while also praying for the girl who had hit her. My grandma forgave her and prayed every day that this accident would not ruin this young girl’s life.
Grandma Doris lived for just five weeks after the accident. She was ready to go home. But, this time it would be her home in heaven.
I carried a lot of grief and hatred afterwards – I couldn’t talk about the accident without crying and never wanted to see the girl who had caused my family so much pain again.
This all changed when I signed up for the Alpha course in 2012.
During a small group discussion, we talked about the power and importance of forgiveness. My Alpha host encouraged me to forgive her for my own good – the hatred I was feeling for her was only hurting me. The thought of this really blew me away…
I signed up for the Holy Spirit retreat (a two-day retreat where you learn about – and experience – the Holy Spirit). I didn’t know what to expect.
In the afternoon on the second day, everyone had the opportunity to participate in a variety of different forms of prayer.
I started with the soaking prayer station – where someone asked to put their hands on my shoulders as they prayed for me. I nodded my head yes, as my eyes were already closed to pray.
Next, I had two ladies pray out loud for me.
I then finished by writing a prayer in my journal.
I prayed for many things, but ultimately to let my heart be opened and filled by the Holy Spirit.
My life didn’t change overnight, but it definitely made me start looking at things differently.
A month later, and after much prayer, I returned home for a class reunion (knowing one of the organizers was the girl who had hit my grandma). I approached her (I could tell she was extremely nervous) and said, “I know it’s been a long time since everything happened between us, but I want you to know I forgive you and everything between us is fine.”
She didn’t say anything back, but nodded her head and smiled.
It felt like a thousand pounds were lifted from me. I couldn’t believe I had carried this heavy burden for so many years. My grandma forgave her and I needed to do the same.
I am so thankful for Alpha and the Holy Spirit retreat. It has brightened my life, opened my eyes and given me an entirely new perspective.