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Forgiveness in a Barrel Boat

Dear readers: I continue to be blessed by the outpouring of your responses to the thoughts my Lord calls upon me to share. Often, I feel you are more of a blessing to me than I am to you. Yet, it is as I read and pray over how to respond to your comments, that I feel a profound life-changing love– the healing love of Christ flooding my soul.

As we draw near to Christmas the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that I should offer you a true story from my life that taught me an invaluable lesson — the call to forgiveness. 

Perhaps,forgiveness is an issue in your life. You have been holding on to hatred and anger towards someone who has hurt you deeply. I lived in the valley of unforgiveness many years because of the cold, cruel , callous and hate-filled words of my manic depressant schizophrenic father. “You’re a loser. I hate you. You are a weakling. You’re stupid. You’ll always be a failure. You disappoint me. You’re a mama’s boy. You are a mistake. You’re clumsy. You always cling to your mother’s apron strings. Your brother is smarter than you’ll ever be. Your brother will go further in life than you ever will. I wish you had never been born. “

Yet, it was the sickness and an evil that engulfed his spirit that as he was exposed to the dangerous cult of the Rosicrucian order by his own father, that caused my father to act this way. Forgiveness came as my Lord let me see the full magnitude of my father’s raging sea of torture within his soul. He died of pneumonia and probable complications from diabetes eight years ago near the start of the Christmas season.

This is a healing memory I keep close to my heart. I am five.My Dad carries me piggy-back on his shoulders. Ice-cream drips down my face from my ice-cream cone on to my father’s shirt. He tells everyone he can how much he loves me. Flash forward in time to an Owen Sound Hospital patient room.

In that cold  and clinical hospital room my wife, Karen and I, sing and pray my dad into the Kingdom. A vivid memory of my father’s love comes to my mind as tears of forgiveness flow then and now. It is 1996. I return from being a missionary in South Korea.  My dad shows everyone he can in Owen Sound an article I get published in the then Salvation Army magazine The War Cry. It is  about our search for God being clouded by our love for the god of technology. The piece is called Searching for God in a Megabyte. He would say, “My son,Kevin, wrote this article. I’m so proud of him.” Dad gets my story re-published in the Canadian Mental Health Association magazine.

God’s call for you to forgive yourself and forgive others is in the story my Lord wanted to share with you entitled Forgiveness in a Barrel Boat. This story and Karen’s story Sometimes the truth doesn’t make sense are in Kendall Lyon’s book 22 Life Lessons For Personal Growth. Below, are the links for Karen’s story and Kendall’s book.

Kendall’s writing from the heart of his experience with bullying and his own experiences with the call to forgive will touch your heart. He dares to be vulnerable with all of you in all he writes about. He exposes to you the deepest rivers of his own pain, so you would come out of the valley of your own suffering and live life as a conqueror.

All the authors on Mind’s Seat open up the deepest chasms of their own pain. They share lessons they have learned and are learning as they seek by the grace of God to come closer to His heart and His call upon our lives. I am a blessed man to be taught by Marmar and all of them as they share their journey of faith.

I would like to make a public acknowledgement to La Vonne Earl MCCPC Christian Life Coach and Trainer for encouraging and lovingly challenging me to transition from wounded to victorious healer. My life is being blessed through her as I let go of my past and embrace my future in Christ.

If you are looking for Christian life coaching to go from a language of woundedness to being a conqueror please contact YKI Coaching. Perhaps, there is a tug at your spirit that God wants you to embrace his calling on your life to be a Christian life coach. If you feel that is the case give yourself the blessing of the training and ongoing mentoring you will receive.

I pray that God will open the door for the funding to take the training to be a certified Christian Life Coach and an associate of Your Kingdom Inheritance Coaching. I feel a growing call of my Lord to call many to be more than conquerors in Christ. He is the greatest healer of all.

The Enemy is gaining too much of a foothold into people’s lives. Only Christ can free you from your inner prisons of torture and abuse. Only Christ can set the captive free. Only Christ can give you that lasting and enduring hope for a brighter tomorrow past the darkness of today, as we speak a new language of being victorious healers in His mighty Name.

May your life be blessed with healing and the enduring hope of Christ as you read Forgiveness in a Barrel Boat.

Forgiveness in a Barrel Boat

My cousin, Paul, wanted me to go down to the Beaver Valley River in my home town of Thornbury, Ontario. He wanted me to go with him on the river in a barrel boat made from a huge oil container. My mom refused me permission to go because it was not a safe thing to do. I swore I would never speak to her again. I was mad at her for not letting me go play with my cousin, whom I loved so much like a brother. We were kindred spirits. Wherever Paul would go, I would follow along. We would go through the town imagining ourselves to be noble adventurers on a quest like Don Quixote, the man of La Mancha.

Paul and his older brother, Stephen, went on the river in a barrel boat that day. The boat hit a rock in the river rapids, tossing Paul out into the raging water. He was knocked unconscious and swept away by the river.

A community search team began frantically searching the river and the river banks for Paul. I went with them even though I was too young to search. I couldn’t stay away: this was Paul! I remember seeing Stephen frantically diving in the river time and time again, trying to find his brother, to save his life. He recklessly risked his own life in the process. His logical mind knew Paul must be dead, but his heart hadn’t accepted it. It was a sad and gut-wrenching sight to see.

Three days later, Paul’s honorary uncle,Carl, found Paul’s body.

Tears streamed down my face and I was swept away by a torrent of sadness when I learned Paul had drowned. I relived the tragedy as Paul’s story blared at me over the news. The images and thoughts surrounding Paul’s death were with me for a long time after that fatal day, causing me many sleepless nights.

No more would we have our bold and daring adventures together. There would be no more laughter. Death had come for Paul far too early. He was an old soul with a maturity far beyond his years. In eight years on this earth he had touched countless lives with his smile and gentle loving heart. A light had gone out. He was now with his Savior in Heaven.

I asked Mom to forgive me for the horrible things I had said to her. In my silent prayer, I had asked my Lord to forgive me. He did, but it would be many years before I would forgive myself. I even blamed myself, thinking that if I had been more direct with Paul about not going to the river, he would be alive today.

When we feel that we are at fault for a loved one’s death because of what we didn’t say, we need to forgive ourselves. We have for us the greatest example of forgiveness in Christ when he was dying on the cross at Calvary as He said, ““Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34 NKJV).

Paul’s death taught me the value of forgiveness. Let us then forgive one another and ourselves. Our Lord doesn’t want us left in prisons of unforgiveness.