A Holy Spirit Story: On Broken Relationships and Healing Forgiveness

Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”



For today’s story, the author wanted to remain anonymous to avoid any possible identification of the persons involved. This will encourage many others in such places in their family with strained or broken relationships. May the honesty here disarm you, the patience encourage you, and the witness embolden you toward acts of grace and mercy. 


Four years ago one of our adult daughters did something so incredibly hurtful that it broke our family into sides and pieces and ultimately separated us from our daughter and a dearly loved grandchild.

I’ve been on this walk with Jesus for a little over forty years now, so I’ve experienced time and again the healing and peace that comes when I forgive those who have hurt me. Even so, I could not get to the place of forgiveness in this situation. I tried to keep my feelings boxed up and neatly filed away, but every little reminder sent me back into a spiral of frustration, hurt, and anger.

I can’t say exactly how long I stayed stuck in that place—a year and a half, two years? It was too long, and I knew it was too long. All this time, I was still talking to God, praying, and seeing him move in other areas. But in this place, the hurt wouldn’t go away.

Finally one morning I prayed, “Lord, I don’t even have the want to want to forgive. Could you give me that? Could you start there?”

God in his goodness answered my prayer by giving me the desire to start praying for my daughter again. At this point, I had stopped praying for her because every prayer had reminded me of her hurtful actions and set my mind back in a negative loop where I just remembered over and over all the unjustness of what had been said and done.

As I wondered how I could pray in a more positive way, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a Scripture my youth group used to recite at the end of our meetings way back in my teen years. It’s funny because when the Lord brought it to my mind, I didn’t even realize it was Scripture. I had just thought it was a little saying we all said together. I had to Google it. We were reciting Numbers 6:24–26.

The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you,
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

In the days that followed, I began to pray that blessing over my daughter and her family. Anytime my mind started to go into the loop of the things that had happened, I replaced the thoughts with that prayer. To begin with, I was probably praying that prayer twenty times a day! As I prayed, the Lord began to replace my anger and frustration with his peace and patience. He began to show me places where I also had been hurtful and mistakes that I also had made in the relationship. As I sought God’s grace and forgiveness for myself, I was finally able to have grace and forgiveness for my daughter.

Even though God did an amazing work in my heart, communication was still shut down in this relationship, so the relationship was still completely broken. But God . . .

Our daughter lives and works in another country. When she had trouble getting some of her needed official documentation for her job, she was forced to reach out to me for help. Because of all the work the Lord had done in my heart, I was able to speak to her from a fresh place of forgiveness. One good conversation was followed by others, slowly building back a relationship.

A few months ago, our daughter let me know that she would be traveling to a city near us for a work trip. At first, we made plans to drive over and meet her for a meal. As time went on, we offered to have her fly into our city and then we drive her to her destination. She agreed and planned one night at our house on either end of her trip. Later, she decided to extend the time to have more days in our home.

Not quite two weeks ago, my husband and I took our daughter back to the airport. There were genuine hugs and “I love yous” passed all around. It was truly a wonderful visit.

God is blessing. He is building back what was broken. He truly does make mountains move and giants fall and I am so very, very thankful.


Abba Father, thank you for the humble honesty of this witness. Search our hearts and our relationships. Do we have the “want” to forgive and mend? Do we have the want to want to seek healing? We know this is the way, for it is the very essence of your life in us. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen. 


Is there brokenness in your family and its relationships? Might the Holy Spirit be giving you the willingness to begin to pray and speak God’s Word over the rift? Start with Numbers 6:24–26.  

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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P.S. Are you in the Tyler, Texas, area?

I apologize for the late notice, but I will be preaching at Marvin United Methodist Church in Tyler, Texas, tomorrow (Sunday) at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. If you are in the area I would love to see you. Please do say hello if you come. I’ll be bringing seeds. ;0) 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. Love cancels all fear.
    1 John 4:18
    There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love.
    Father, teach us to love perfectly as You love us.

  2. There is a reason Jesus said for us to pray for our enemies, if we do it right, it changes us so that we can love our enemies

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