Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I walked around my house this weekend, minding my own business, doing my work, making dinner... until I stumbled into something in the living room. It stood there, large and shadowy, almost invisible. I sidestepped it and then tried to paint it different colors to fit the décor. It didn’t work. I jumped into the kitchen and stole a glance around the corner.

Finally I looked at it straight on and decided to deal with it. I had to get it out of my living room for one thing. I circled it looking for an opening or some recognizable form, wanting to challenge it. I asked God what he thought and then it came crashing back.

One year, two maybe. No three.

Three years since my niece and her baby son were martyred.

Denial is a blessing, isn’t it? It lets me continue, do my work, make dinner, function. All the while it sits in my living room covering up the beastly things.

I lift the facade and yes, terror is still there. Haven’t I dealt with it all before? When will it go away and stop claiming space in my room? I know the answer as I beg the question. It will leave when I have wrung out every last bit of the instance that is so painful, so deep and so very wounding which means maybe not in this life.

Ok, I scream, flinging off the shroud only to retch in tears for hours that become days, adding to weeks, unveiling my soul in the horror of the memories. Haven’t I forgiven it all? Haven’t I grieved every last bit? Why then is denial such a demanding visitor?

Ah, Kate. She loved animals and rude people. I chided her once for defending someone who was utterly awful and still she kept it up. Her pure heart was her downfall in this world but not in the next. There she will wear righteous robes. She witnessed evil first hand and chose to love. Today her life sings from the grave to the hearts of murderers to repent. And they hear her, somehow they hear her, death is powerless to silence her sweet lullaby.

Sing on, dear Kate, sing on.


My niece, Katherine MacDougall, was killed by her fiancé, Taylor Hurst, on March 2, 2007. She was three months pregnant. When we found out what happened, Katie was dead for several days, her body finally discovered in her apartment by the authorities after her mother made continuous pleas to them to find her.

As a family we gathered at Paul's parent’s house in Dedham and together forgave Taylor. It was the only reasonable thing we could do. Forgiveness is not to be confused with reconciliation. Forgiveness is commanded by our Heavenly Father. Reconciliation is not.

Taylor is still battling his demons. We long for the day when he will let Jesus do that for him. We also know that we will see Katie and her baby again so our sorrow is not as great as it might be for Taylor who has yet to receive salvation. Please pray for him if God puts him on your heart. Katie has only been taken from us for a short while. Taylor might be taken forever.

We do not know what a day brings, but we do know a day is coming when the Lord will make all things right. Until then, we stand in the brilliance of his gaze and offer his mercy and his redemption to those who will hear. Sometimes it's a small sacrifice and other times it's unbearable but none of it can be compared with the glory to come.


  1. The photo above was taken when Katie was 12. The baby is our daughter Molly and that is Grandma holding her.

  2. Ah, denial, such a safe retreat, calm and peaceful. But how much can be stuffed? How much pain and regret can be swallowed? I have been useless to the Lord because I never realized what all was stuffed and swallowed. Just the thought of "Have your way Lord", is painful. But I will be CLEANSED AND FORGIVEN!!!! A vessel for the Master's use. And I will be a tool that satan fears!!!!

  3. But what was the physical thing in the living room? You said; "All the while it sits in my living room covering up the beastly things".

    What is "it"? A physical thing owned by Katherine? I need to know what it was. I am not deep enough as a reader to just know...

  4. Hi Clay, Good comment! The physical thing in the living room is a symbol of Denial, covering up the beastly things. It emphasizes how Denial can block us from moving ahead in our lives, but Denial is also useful in hiding things until we are ready to handle the pain, cause it's just too big to deal with all at once. many blessings, Karen

  5. JLongwell, you go! You are cleansed and forgiven and a formidable tool in the Master's Hand against satan!!! Yeah! :)

  6. Guys - I am so sorry. What an awful tragedy for you and your family. :(

    I have a friend whose three year old daughter was tragically killed. I am not sure about the denial thing, but he never "dealt" with her death. He stuffed it. Love my brother, but he needs to let it out of him. I guess there is denial, a denial that he is still hurting.

    Love y'alls hearts.

  7. Thanks, Warrior. Praying for your friend. Many blessings, K.

  8. Yes, I guess denial can help at times. It is weird how sometimes it leaves and we have to feel the pain again....


  9. Thanks Karen for sharing this with me...denial is a HUGE problem for some of us. Thanks for reminding me of an issue I need to deal with concerning forgiveness...of myself.
    Thanks also for following Life After The Storm
    Bless you Both, Wanda


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