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This week I submitted a letter to the judge for the burglary hearing that sentenced the man who stole from us. I spent days puzzling through my thoughts and finally composed this letter, parts of it have been edited to protect us and the individual, but I want to share it. I can't help but think how this can pertain to others too. I pray that it will bless all who read it.

Violation. That is the word that has stuck in my mind since we were robbed. It was devastating to know that a stranger walked through our entire home taking things that were not his to have. It left us feeling anxious in the one place that should give us peace, our home. But for us, the hugest part was the incredible loss we felt all over again. My mom died several years ago, and many of the stolen items were things she gave us, items that were reminders of her. Most of the things we lost were reminders and memories of people we have lost. These things were sentimental things that cannot be replaced. It felt like we were losing my mom, my boyfriend, and my grandfather all over again. So much of our losses were sentimental things. For months I have thought about our losses and grieved over people that have meant so much to us. I have also thought about the man who stole from us. Many have asked me what I would recommend for him. As I have thought about this our loss and the other family that was also robbed, a thought has formulated in my mind. I know drug rehab is not always successful. People have to want to get better in order for rehab to be successful. But I believe there is one solution, and that is God. He is the only person capable of changing us. I know that I can’t force any of this. Nobody can. But I also know that there is a solution and hope if a person is willing to reach for it. I do think that drug rehabilitation is a good suggestion, but I would also recommend a program called Celebrate Recovery. I know that healing is possible if people are willing and ready to receive it. I see it like this. Each and every one of us has a choice. We can either reach for God or for our addictions. I can’t make this choice for anyone, but I can pray for this choice for people. Yes, we were violated, but that will not stop me from praying for more positive things to happen, for a permanent change to happen for him. In time, my hope is that he will completely turn his life around and serve the only true person that can bring hope and wholeness to his life, God.

Hurts happen to all of us in this life, but in order to be free from them, we have to learn to forgive. Forgiveness is a lengthy process, but I believe that if we ask God for help, He will begin to do the work inside of us to help us let go of our bitterness and resentments towards others so we can begin to forgive. Is there someone you need to forgive? My prayer is that God will help you to forgive.

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