I attended a woman’s retreat at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Tampa where I heard about the Answered Prayers Project. I thought, what a neat idea. Boy, did I find out what a neat idea it really was!
At this same retreat was a woman who I had been struggling to forgive for over 2 years. This was very upsetting to me, as I usually have no problem with forgiveness, but I just couldn’t let go of the anger I had inside toward her. On one of the breaks, she came up to me in great humility and began to tell me how sorry she was for the pain that she had caused my children and me. I felt a tremendous amount of joy and complete forgiveness flow from me and a great heaviness lifted from my soul. We continued to talk about what we were going to do with ourselves as we were both graduating our youngest children and finding ourselves searching for God’s new path for our future. After the break, we returned to our seats where I was overwhelmed with the desire to purchase a cross or heart for her that said, thank you. I left my seat during the lecture and went to the Answered Prayers Project table and excitedly scanned the table for a cross or heart that said thank you. During my search, I was drawn to a cross with the words “new beginning” written vertically down the cross. I picked it up and held it in my hand as I continued to search for my original choice. I finally spotted a heart with the words thank you and a cross etched in the clay…Perfect! I placed the “new beginning” cross back on the table and left with my new purchase. I went back to the lecture hall where everyone was enjoying a short break and spotted my old friend sitting at her table. I knelt down in front of her and handed her the heart, thanked her for giving me the gift of forgiveness and told her she would never know how much it meant to me. She hugged me and said she loved me and the most unbelievable thing happened next. When she pulled back from hugging me, she looked in my eyes and said, “new beginnings”. Astonished at her words, my first thought was, oh, gosh… I should have bought her the “new beginning” cross. But, the Lord placed on my heart that the “thank you” heart was indeed for my old friend and the “new beginning” cross was for me. I returned to the table where I found the “new beginning” cross right where I left it. I left there feeling lighter and more joyful than I have in a long time having let go of an old hurt that was not allowing me to fully accept God’s new beginning for me.
Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents and answering God’s call to do something that, like Jesus, humbly and simply, changes lives.