Often times we are not aware of the impact we have on others lives or how God uses our heartache to help others. I received a letter from an inmate who recently read my book. I’m not sharing this with you to pat myself on the back. I share his letter with you to show you what God’s doing in the life of an offender who committed a heinous crime against another victim.I’m honored that God choose me to walk this journey and to give Him, our King, the glory. Praise you Lord Jesus.
I wanted to write you and tell you that I finished your book today and I have so much to say to you. It only took me two days to read. I couldn’t put it down, although I reread it again and again. Wow!!The strength, the courage, and the bravery you’ve had to have, to do all you’ve done and face all that you’ve faced is unreal. I’m so blessed to have met you Lorraine.
Words can do no justice for what you or your family have been through. I finished that book in tears and it truly touched my heart in all you said. Thank you,Lorraine, I believe God truly put you and your story in my life for a reason.
Your story in depth, and me having a chance to really feel and ‘try’ to understand all that you, as a mother, must have went through,touched me to the core of my being. What an amazing job you did and how brave,how courageous you were to be able to sit down and relive those emotions once again.
I truly believe God has put you and your family’s story into my life for a reason. Please understand that I don’t want to, nor do I intend to make this conversation about ‘me’. But you can probably understand how a man like me, who also did what I did to a mother,would feel after reading your story and truly try to feel, or begin to try and understand the pain a mother must go through and the love that she must have had for her child she has lost all because of the selfish, narcissistic acts of a murderer. It brought back several memories, and suddenly, the me I thought was dead, was in the room with me again. It’s been a long long time since anything has ever really made me go back and actually sit through and watch that horror movie again. But I see that it was needed.
I had thought I was in an accepting place within myself over my crime, but after reading your words, Paul’s words, Kristie’s words, they all reached places within myself that I apparently was unable to reach, wasn’t healed from, or ready to forgive myself for. Before meeting you or ever hearing you, Stacie’s and Kristie’s story, it had only been about me, and what ‘I’, Dale, had lost. I was selfish,narcissistic, and crazy. Life really meant nothing, and I thought very little about others or who I may have hurt.
Then years later in prison, I sought change and then came you and your family’s story. My heart began to thaw out. I began to see the damage I’d done and feel the pain I must have caused his family. It tore me up inside with guilt, shame, and more self-hatred. Back then I wasn’t ready to face my crime or take responsibility for what I’d done. I quit the Victim’s Awareness class and figured I’d deal with it when I felt it was time.
What you had to say to Paul and what Kristie had to say to Paul, brought me to tears. And what you said about Stacie welcoming Paul when he reaches Heaven, was so awesome, so brave of you to say. Bottom line, words can never do any justice for you, Stacie,Kristie, or your family Lorraine. You’re so inspiring to my life, because in a very real, authentic, way, I was really only able to turn to God because of you. Before then, sure I wanted to, but I never believed I was good enough nor would I, or could I ever be accepted by God. Your story gave me hope. I was not raised to know God, but I was raised to never judge others, and as my mom said,“treat others as you would like to be treated.” So, like Paul, I tried other faiths, one being Buddhism, and later found my way to Christ.
Every experience has been necessary on this journey, in order to heal. You said towards the end of your story, that the Lord said to you, “it wasn’t always about me, Stacie and Kristie. It was for the glory of His Kingdom. It was about one man’s soul.” That hit my heart also and that there is a glorious ending to everything, and when we surrender our selfish ambition and inadequacies, His glory is revealed.
So powerful. Just reading about your pain and suffering Lorraine and not celebrating Christmas for seven years is tragic. I had to reflect on how much my victim’s mom must have suffered because of my actions. The letters I’ve sent her, the lies that I’ve told her to try and paint myself in a better light, the disrespect I’ve shown, it all hurts.
Your feelings for Paul during the trial, the way the cops treated you in the beginning, in the grief section where you mentioned your life had been shattered into a million pieces like the mirror in Stacie’s room, the memories you had with the girls, it was all so tragic and sad. But then I get what you had to say to Paul after he said that’he didn’t deserve forgiveness’ and I lost it. I had to set the book down and really reflect on everything you told him. That was beautiful what you said to him.
After reading your book and reflecting on my situation, I found myself in a weird place and had to take a long hard look at things. I signed out of my dorm (faith dorm) last week and decided to move back on the compound. I felt like I was living in a bubble back there and what I needed to do was come back to population and really walk what I’ve been preaching to my classes. I can still facilitate. Sure, it was comfortable there,but I can grow more over here and have more of a purpose.
I’m spreading the word about your book and have passed it on to my friends in hereto read. I’m in a great place because of you…. you’re God’s vessel speaking to me.