Here I sit, in Okinawa, Japan, and the truth is I should hate being here. Years ago my mom was imprisoned by the Japanese. From 6 to 10 years old, she was held captive on the island of Indonesia. She suffered deeply through those horrific years and then into adulthood as she relived the trauma through flashbacks and nightmares.
PTSD. Depression. Pain.
My mom could have gone bitter. I could have easily grown up in a home where the Japanese were demeaned and dishonored. I could have been hardened as my mom fought through difficult days and sleepless nights. So much so that the mere thought of going to Japan would only bring harsh feelings and deep resentment.
But it didn’t happen like that.
As a young mom, my mother fought for her healing. She pursued her God. She sought out counsel. She did the hard work of forgiving… and she didn’t give up when she faced a setback or two.
As a result I am here in Okinawa with great joy in my heart. I’ve had the chance to serve at the military base, but also to go out into the community and visit shops and restaurants. The Japanese are polite, gracious and honoring. I ache for their deep losses in the recent tragedies and this weekend joined others to petition God for their needs. I am drawn to these lovely people and only wish I could do more in this painful season.
I wouldn’t feel any of these things if my mom hadn’t paved the way to the cross – refusing to give in to her past wounds and the potential bitterness that lived there.
I’m so proud of her.
Way to go, Mom. In your darkest moments, you probably didn’t realize the long-range impact of your choice to heal through forgiveness and grace – thanks for holding tight to our God and never, ever giving up.
I love you.