If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome!
Deanna Allen is one of the fiercest women of faith that I know. She’s tireless, as long as it has to do with Jesus.
She’s unafraid to walk into a jail cell, because on the other side of those bars just might be a woman who desires to know Christ. It’s my privilege to share her story in this last week of #forgivetolive Challenge.
Rather than sharing her own story (which is powerful), she is sharing the story of those who impacted her the most.
This is her story.
by Deanna Allen
I never could have imagined.
I have seen God do mind boggling things but this one might have just taken the cake. For years I walked an intense path of personal recovery. I followed Christ with my whole heart through all the pains and traumas of my childhood.
Together He led me on a journey of restoration that covered every form of abuse, neglect, abandonment and into my life of addiction, performance and rebellion. Penned within these childhood journals were chapters that included the eighteen-year-long divorce my parents devoted their lives to.
Their dedication to the destruction of each other brought my brother and I tremendous emotional turmoil. Throughout our childhood and into our adult lives our parents spit venom, flailed accusations, made threats, and vowed horrific things.
For over thirty years my parents carried deep hatred toward one another.
I could understand my mother’s wounds suffered at the hands of my father’s abuse. I could relate. I could sympathize with my father’s accusations of infidelity and perfectionism. But having had Jesus forgive and set me free of so many wasted years and unnecessary tears, I didn’t understand letting such bitterness defile every good thing for over three decades.
I have had the revelation of the forgiveness I have received therefore I am able to love much. A verse I relate well to can be found in Luke 7:47. It says “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Ten years ago I lost my brother to suicide. And even in that hardest of times, peace was not restored between my mother and father. I’d accepted that forgiveness was highly unlikely between them. I should just be happy about the relationship I had with both my parents. I could walk in forgiveness. I could demonstrate the love of our Father. I could be the example of Christ, I could break the pattern of divorce in my family and show my children a Godly heritage. I could do my part.
And that would have to be enough.
Then my father became terminally ill last year. For many months God poured His love for my father into my heart as I cared for him. I was overwhelmed by the level of love and grace God gave me for the months leading up to his passing in our home.
I thought I couldn’t have been more thankful for the relationship I had with my dad. In his last days I sat bedside watching him wrestle with going on to heaven. I prayerfully considered all the things that might be holding him back. Unresolved matters, regrets, fears, etc. One morning as I walked toward his room where I’d spent every minute of the past several days, I had a thought that I knew was beyond me.
I felt the Lord say, “You should ask your mom if there’s anything she’d like to say to him before he goes.”
That was intimidating. The words from Prov. 3: 5-6 came to mind:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
I decided to call my mom and make the invitation before I leaned on my own understanding too much.
I explained to my mom the countless women around the country I had counseled and prayed for who had never had the opportunity to make peace with their past. I shared how they had felt it impossible to have closure because someone they had needed to forgive had passed away leaving a sense of permanent incompleteness. I prayed as we spoke and was dumbfounded when she indicated she wanted to come see him.
I sat in the Holy presence of the Lord as I witnessed my mom hold my dad’s hand asking his forgiveness for years of bitterness. She thanked him for giving her the greatest gifts she had, her daughter (me) and my six beautiful children. She asked him to say hello to my brother for her and give him a big hug.
Neither of us were able to contain our tears. My father, who had been primarily unresponsive at that point, opened his eyes and looked right at her. He then looked at me with a puzzled and confused look but remained peaceful. I explained to him that it was okay she was there. He looked back and forth between the two of us several times but allowed her to keep his hand in hers.
I never could have imagined the love of God could move through such a mountain of pain, anger, and years of pent up emotion through two people who barely have a relationship with the Lord.
God showed me that His love is more powerful than anything and can break through any barrier. Through the tears, HE melted away decades of bad memories leaving peace that passes understanding for not only my mother, but for me and my children as well.
I have shared this story on several occasions at various events where I’ve spoken including prisons and juvenile halls nationwide. I have a living testimony that shows the power of Isa. 58:12 ESV, “And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets to dwell in.”
I will never stop believing for the restoration of families. I will remain faith-filled that peace can be restored in the streets we dwell in.
That peace starts in the hallways of our homes.
In our marriages, in our families, and that restoration can be experienced not only for past generations but future generations as well.
I believe it. I’m living it. I’m committed to it.
And I’m praying that you will too.
Deanna will drop in today and pray with you or answer questions. Get ready. She’s a prayer warrior and her whole goal is to see people live free, no matter where they’ve been, what they’ve done, or what has taken place in their life.
I love that about her.
If you need a resource to take forgiveness deeper, please check out The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.
Onward & Upward
Deanna Allen, Christian Author & Speaker
Founder of Abundant Place Ministries
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