“I set myself free when I let him go.” - Monica Hawkins
Monica Hawkins often woke up during the night to pray for her son, Donte'. On one particular night, something felt very different, so Monica prayed harder. Earlier that evening, Donte' had called his mother to let her know he was on his way home from college. For the second time that night, she awakened, this time to answer a phone call. “As I ended that call, my life, as I once knew it, ended as well,” states Monica. Within the next few hours, Monica said her final good-bye to Donte', who had been shot and killed.
Monica experienced a wide range of emotions, including a deep desire for revenge. The “person of interest” in her son’s case was not prosecuted because no one would testify. She wanted that individual to feel the pain her family felt but knew this would never bring Donte' back. Eventually, she found healing through forgiving. “I set myself free when I let him go,” she shares.
If you are struggling with unforgiveness, here are some points to consider:
Choose to forgive.
Letting go of the negative emotions she felt towards the “person of interest” did not come naturally to Monica. We must make a decision to forgive people who have wronged us.
Forgiveness is the key to freedom.
When Monica focused on revenge instead of forgiveness, she created a stronghold for negative feelings. Forgiveness was the key to unlocking the door to that emotional prison cell.
Share your story.
Just as Monica's story has encouraged you perhaps your experience could help someone else. Please consider sharing your story with this website by clicking on the following link: Share Your Story
Find new purpose by reaching out to others.
Monica started several foundations to help others in crisis. Look for people around you who might need encouragement and support in situations similar to yours.
DMH Foundation - The foundation created to honor Donte's memory by providing college books for students.
Revive 2 - The outreach ministry to help teens and young adults begin again after a tragedy.
"Jesus forgave an adulteress, a thief on the cross, a disciple who had denied ever knowing him. He tapped that traitorous disciple, Peter, to found his church and for the next advance turned to a man named Saul, who had made his mark persecuting Christians. Grace is absolute, inflexible, all-encompassing. It extends even to the people who nailed Jesus to the cross: 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing' were among the last words he spoke on earth" (149).
Words to Live By:
“O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety…” (Psalm 61:1-2 NLT).
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:14 NIV).
The loss of a loved one through murder is a traumatic life event. The impact can take an emotional and physical toll on family survivors. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares, and general feelings of insecurity are all common emotional reactions as a victim searches for a place of emotional security. To grieve the violent death of a loved, one takes time. Survivors sometimes question how or why someone would take the life of their loved one. Feeling great anger towards the perpetrator is normal. However, anger, on its own, can lead to bitterness and long-term conditions like depression. During a tragedy, victims can struggle to remember that God is in control when it may feel like He has deserted them. Trusting God, in the midst of the pain, is an important step towards returning to positive emotional health.
Boundaries - Dr. Henry Cloud
A Shattered Heart: A Journey of Hope, Trust, and Healing - Monica Hawkins
I Need You Now - Bill & Gloria Gaither, featuring Smokie Norful
We trust the stories and resources we have provided have helped you answer the question, "Why is this Happening?" You may find yourself asking, "What do I do now?" We invite you to click the link below to access steps which will guide you through the next chapter of your journey.