Dear person (who stole my purse),






Dear Person,

I don't know why you thought it acceptable to come up my driveway
in the middle of the night and take something 
out of my car that didn't belong to you.

You took a potentially deadly risk by wandering onto someone else's property uninvited
and intending to commit a crime.

Apparently, you were pretty desperate for cash to have risked 
being targeted by our motion-detection light or confronted
(and maybe shot) by an angry homeowner.

What were you thinking when you tried all the door handles to see if they were unlocked?
Why are you wandering around in the middle of the night planning wrongdoings?
Who did you think you are, committing atrocities against another?
Where did you learn this behavior?
When did you plan to be a criminal?
How do you live with yourself?

I'll bet you don't give a second thought to the pain you cause
not only the victims of your crime, but the neighborhood as a whole.
Your only goal is to smoothly take something that you haven't earned;
your only thoughts are how to get away before being detected.

As my mind replays the past few days, 
from the first discovery that you left my passenger-side car door slightly ajar after your act of piracy,
to the searching of the car and our house from top to bottom,
to the signing of the police report, 
to the calling of the last store I was in the night before so the security personnel could check
all the cameras to make sure I'd gotten into my car with my purse
so I could narrow down the location of it,
to the notifying of my bank (and other institutions) that my information
had been compromised;
it has not even been the inconvenience of your misconduct 
that has been the most troubling to me.

No.
What disturbs me is how difficult I have found it to want to go outside my own home,
for fear you may be still watching our movements with intent to commit more depravity.
What troubles me is that you did this in the yard of my new home and haven.
What demoralized me was that you took with you, a total stranger to me,
some of my most personal information and private belongings.

But even for all YOU chose to do, what is by far the MOST bewildering to me is,
my own reluctance to CHOOSE to forgive you.

Your actions have really challenged my faith.
Your blatant scheme kept me bound by fear and loss.
I completely had forgotten how to "keep calm and carry on".

And as I coped with the choices you made, 
I too, was coping with the choices I was making.
Because of anger toward you, I was acting angry toward others.
Because of distrust toward you, I was acting distrustful of others.
Because of your desperation and fear, I was acting desperate and fearful.

And that's just not like me, my husband, friends, and family reminded me.
Almost hourly.
One of the reminders prompted me to remember who I am.



I am not of this world, I simply live in it.

I am called to change the world, not be changed by it.

I am not to store up treasures: a home, a car, a purse--
here on earth, I am to stockpile heavenly abundance.


Heavenly treasure is living now as if my heart is already in heaven.
My life should declare that I am not actually the legal owner of anything here on earth.
If I hold all my earthly possessions so closely to me that I cannot 
hear the faintest call of God for any part or all of it, 
my heart is still tethered to the earth and its resources.
I came here with nothing and I leave with nothing.






Dear thief, 
did you know that you  have played a part in my need for contentment?
After the hurt that you caused us, I can admit that we now understand more clearly 
that it is not what we have that makes us rich or poor.

Criminal person,
I am so sorry that your life's circumstances and choices
caused you to behave the way you did.
I am praying and hoping that you will soon understand AS I HAVE,
the great love that God has for you.





Loved one,
Maybe you have no one who cares about you or regularly prays for you.

Well, now you do.

I care, and I will be praying for you because I forgive you
because I have been forgiven, too.


Jaime

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16 comments:

  1. Very well said, my daughter. I will pray for your thief, and mine...some one stole my cane in Subway while I was in Texas.

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  2. I'm sorry, momma. It's hard to believe people do this to one another...but I am guilty, too, of hurting others. I want to be quickly forgiven, so I quickly forgive.

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  3. Leslie, What a beautiful, heartfelt post. My son-in-law had his wallet stolen from his vehicle while he was in the hospital sitting with his mother while his father had surgery Wednesday. It is so disheartening to think of how desperate some people are that they would risk life, limb, and freedom to take something that is not theirs, especially from folks who if asked would give the shirt off their back for another of God's children.
    Thank you for posting this reminder that we are but sojourners here to make the world a better place for others.
    Susan

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  4. Well said, Leslie! I hope you are soon able to find peace. *Hugs*

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  5. A beautiful and moving post, this really touched me. Peace and prayers to you and yours.

    Leslie G.

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  6. Beautifully shared, Leslie. I'm sorry this happened to you, but I'm thankful you quickly found the "meat" of the issue–forgiveness and eternal focus. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  7. What a wonderful post! I so admire someone who really practices what they preach...when in some circumstances like this one...it is pretty hard to do!

    Sharon

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  8. So sorry for your experience, sweet sister. Some experiences leave us shaken, b/c we feel helpless, our sense of safety & security is stolen from us, & our peace is drained. You have expressed your heart so well in this post. Several yrs. ago, on our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (2nd Mon. in Oct.), our paranoid-schizophrenic neighbour went off her meds. She not only stalked us, she banged on our door on several dif. evenings, threatening violence, esp. against me. I know this sounds very dif. than what you experienced, but some of the aftermath & feelings are similar. After a couple of wks. of hell on earth (I was fearful of going out, yet I had to drop the kids off & pick them up at school), & talking w/Mike, I gathered up the courage to go to church. The message that morning was exactly what I needed to hear--Mike taught about the things that some of the congregation were experiencing,,,things that steal our joy. Yep--it was custom-tailored for me. As soon as he said it, I knew that was what had happened: my joy had been stolen. I thought about it, remembered that Christmas is my fave time of the yr., b/c it's about JOY, & I went home & started decorating for Christmas (yep--it was still October). I tried to explain to Steve why I needed to do this; I'm not sure that he understood the connection between Mike's sermon & the Christmas decorations going up early, but he understood that I was a nervous wreck. Little by little, by engaging in the self-care that I needed, the fearfulness & all the stuff that went w/it, started to lift.

    I share my experience w/you to encourage you, too. I understand it wasn't just your purse that was stolen nor is your experience about being materialistic. There are intangible things that are stolen from us by the inappropriate & criminal actions of others. Praying for your peace of heart & mind, & for God to restore your joy, esp. the joy of enjoying your new home. Love & prayers, & hugs to you. Elizabeth H.

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  9. Well said!!! I'm so sorry that this happened to you, but I love your post!!

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  10. I'm so sorry this happened to you, Leslie. My neighbor called me last week to tell me his car had been broken into only to find out moments later my car had been broken into as well. Luckily there was nothing in there for the thief to take, but knowing he was in my car, the vehicle I drop my children off to school in made me sick. I hope things get better. Writing sure helps!

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  11. Dear Leslie...I am so saddened that the theivery happened to you. Such a circumstance makes us feel so used, violated and helpless. It's such a pain to replace all those important papers. Cheeze. What an awful thing to have happened. But you have the right idea to pray for the person who did it. God knows what you are doing. Bless you, my friend. Susan

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  12. Sorry that this happened to you. I admire the way you acknowledged how it changed you and how you had to remember who you are in Christ.

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  13. Leslie, I'm sad this happened to you, but glad for the good it did for you spiritually. I can't imagine the fear that must be experienced by that kind of intrusion, with or without thievery. My wedding ring was stolen in the hospital. It was pre-Christ years for me and I was hysterical, having to stay until I was well. I never wore a piece of jewelry in the hospital again, unless you count a MedicAlert bracelet :-). I hope your message somehow gets to the thief, it's surely one he/she needs to hear. Thanks for the heartfelt reminders to all of us.
    Janet

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  14. I am so sorry Leslie. I had this same thing happen to me a few years ago at a park. I hid my purse under the seat and the criminals watched me do it, how else would they know it was under the seat. They smashed out my window and ran to the gas station to fill two cars up with gas and then to Walmart. They spent 1000 in about 10 minutes. It was a big pain in a but. I mostly felt like you like my privacy was invaded and that someone has the nerve. It makes you wonder about everyone you encounter. It will get better but I know exactly how you feel!!

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  15. The thief may've robbed you of many things, but one thing that can never be stolen from you is forgiveness. "Here," you said of it, and gave it to him or her. What one desired for evil God has allowed for good. OUCH, I say, Lord, and bring it on. As Job said, "You can kill me and I'll still trust You." Money can't buy (nor replace) that.

    Proud of you, Leslie. Thank you for being a good example to me. I need you in this family. "And such were some of you..."

    Hugs,
    Kelley~

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  16. I am amazed at what I human can do to another human without even a shred of thought. A long time ago my beloved grandmother was mugged as she came out of the bank in Houston. The police report says that the man watched my grandmother (who was 80, weighed just 89 pounds, and suffered arthritis) go into the bank, the thought she was cashing her social security check. She was not, she made a deposit of my grandfather's check..so she had just $10.00 in her purse. That man, a big person over 6ft tall hit her in the face and grabbed her purse and knocked her to the ground breaking her arm. This was a few days before I gave birth to my oldest son. I was not able to get to her, it made me feel like dirt that I could not comfort her right away. She lived in FEAR the rest of her life. She kept her self locked in her house until my grandfather could drive her some place and go with her. She no longer took the bus to the local shopping center to have lunch with her sister. She did not answer her phone. She had a huge fear of colored men because it was a black man who robbed her. It broke my heart to see the true lasting fear that she had the rest of her life. She really never got over it. The people who do these crimes have not thought for one second what it means to the person they are taking from.
    I am sorry this happened to you. I know that you will find your forgiveness. You are a true person who loves Christ, you will follow His example.

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