This post is a bit longer than normal, but it’s such an amazing story, I have to share it with you.
Just before Easter, a friend of mine sent me the following email. Carol McCall is a graduate of DTS and was one of our outstanding writing students:
Dear Friends,I wanted to forward this letter to you about the story surrounding/continuing the book I edited for this friend, Dianne Collard. Her son was murdered, and now she and her husband have forgiven first, and now met, may years later, the man who murdered him. God is amazing and has worked in this so powerfully. The book has been translated into twelve languages, I think, and more are in there works.Enjoy!Love,Carol
I [Reg] contacted Dr. Collard and asked her permission to reprint the amazing email she sent to her friends and family, detailing her journey. She graciously granted my request. Here it is. I have deleted a personal message Dr. Collard included to Carol.
Dear Friends and Prayer Partners: Yesterday Glenn and I experienced a God-breathed and blessed miracle. It was so filled with God’s grace that it is almost indescribable. For the first time since Tim was murdered, we met the man who killed him. We spent an afternoon in laughter (!) and joy. Really! Glenn and I had incredible peace before, during and after the meeting. It almost felt surreal that we should be eager for this meeting. I realized that we had been working towards this meeting since Tim was killed. It was the natural “next step” in our forgiveness journey. Actually it was the first step in our reconciliation/relationship journey.While Mike was very hesitant to meet with us (mainly fearing to meet Glenn), we assured him that we weren’t meeting to rehearse the past (other than God’s faithfulness). We wanted to build a relationship for the future. When we walked up (in front of the transition house where he stays), he looked very fearful. I opened my arms and asked, “May I hug you?” Both Glenn and I put our arms around him, and he began to cry, repeating, “I’m so sorry” over and over. We said, “We know that you are. We accept it. But we want to talk about your life now and in the future.” By the time we got into the car, he accepted that and the rest of our 2-1/2 hours was just as easy and natural as if we were life-long friends. Amazing. We were in surrounded by peace throughout the whole experience.I won’t attempt to recreate our conversation. But I wanted you to know how glorious the experience was. Totally amazing. Truly a God-filled experience. Mike told me, before we parted, “Dianne, please use ANYTHING I’ve said or experienced to help other people. You have my full support in your public work (ministry).” It was so affirming and gracious.We found out that he has a very good job (as an iron-worker); has restored a relationship with his children and grandchildren (has only seen his daughter); he has been permitted to look for a house (in L.A. County only); and is committed to growing in his walk with God. God has richly blessed him.Mike also told me of the number of fellow prisoners who has either come to faith or were encouraged in their walk with God through the reading of my book. (It stills seems impossible that he shared a book about his crime with others in the prison!) He also shared that although thousands of prisoners came through the prison in the 23 years he was there, he NEVER heard anyone with the story of forgiveness and redemption that he had experienced.As the afternoon came to an end, Mike kept exclaiming, “I knew God would make this meeting OK, but I never knew that I could feel such joy!” He seemed hesitant to let us go. He asked if we’d been open for him to visit us in NC when he able to leave L.A. (We immediately agreed!)I don’t know how to bring this to an end. But, I hope you catch the reality of the power of God. The day that I once thought impossible, became a day of grace and God’s glory. Mike kept exclaiming that God has allowed him to see the “hands and face of God” in our family’s and my brother’s response. Praise God.I’ll attach a picture from yesterday. So many of you prayed—now praise God with us for His abundant answers to the prayers of His people.Gratefully,Dianne
You can read Dianne’s blog at the following websites: