You may or may not know about our family’s struggle over the last eighteen months. What follows is just a bit of the most recent events. (NOTE: Names have been changed to protect my loved ones.
This is the statement that I made on May 12 of this year when we thought the nightmare would be over (for a while) and the sentence would be handed down.
I will never be able to fully express what I felt when we got the phone call that irreparably changed all of our lives forever. The words, “Charles is dead, and Gregory did it” will ring in my ears forever.
What followed was a very long & fearful night as we continued to play the “why did this happen” soundtrack on repeat.
I beg you to give up this delusion that you are innocent, and admit your crimes…ALL OF THEM!!
As your aunt, I will never stop loving you but I also cannot have you in my life in any way, shape, or fashion unless & until I have the assurance from God that you have genuinely repented of this egregious sin and are no longer a danger to anyone.
Then and only then will I be willing to speak to you again.
I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that others in our family have suffered since you decided to end your father’s life on December 20, 2020.
How can it be explained to your grandmother, your sister, your children, your wife, your nieces, your uncle, your aunt, and countless others?
Somedays the pain is still VERY fresh for us and it can be hard to even function.
My hope today is that you are sentenced to the fullest extent of the law and that you serve EVERY DAY of your incarceration knowing that you have dishonored everything that I thought you stood for.
But through clever last-minute maneuvering, the defense attorney was able to convince the judge to hold off for just a little bit longer.
Since that day, I have thought long and hard about what to say when Gregory was once again in the courtroom awaiting his fate. But the words just wouldn’t come…until today. God in his infinite wisdom knew that today would be the day that I “just happened” to come across the perfect scriptures. Therefore, instead of pouring my heart out again, I will simply share the passages below and trust that God and the judge will have a nice long talk before Gregory stands on his feet to hear the terms of his incarceration.
Thou shalt not kill. – Exodus 20:13 KJV
“Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death…But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death. Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.” – Exodus 21:12, 14-15 NIV
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. Romans 13:1-5 NIV
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. – Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. – James 1:2-8 NIV
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. Psalm 31:5 – NIV
A few last notes before I close.
I know I would not have survived the last year and a half without some amazing prayer warriors/encouragers:
Dear Heavenly Father, Barb has been given a difficult task and yet You promised to always be with us. To never leave us and never forsake us. You also promised that You would give us the Words to speak when we needed them. Lord, anoint Barb’s tongue for this assignment. Give her a steady steady peace in her spirit. Let a calm wash over her body head to toe that could only come from You. Lord, as she wrestles with what to say, let Your Words flow. Give her a fresh clarity for what to speak. Remove all doubt and spirits of confusion. Let her listen to Your voice only so that she can follow You steadfast in this situation and in all situations. Lord, as she leans on You in this, show her a fresh new Power that You have deposited on the inside of her. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Sending you hugs as you navigate this week.
At least twice I was prayed over in a zoom meeting and I have lost track of how many others have reached out to offer support. Even in our darkest times, GOD IS GOOD!
I told someone this morning that “I feel like I’m stuck in an airplane that has been circling for hours waiting for clearance to land.” I trust that today is the day, so that we can quit holding our collective breath.