Joni interviews Linda and Jennifer Barrick, and asks if and how they were able to forgive a drunk driver who completely changed their lives forever.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and welcome to Joni and Friends.
Last time we met you had an opportunity to hear from my friends, Linda and Jennifer Barrick. The Barrick family having gone through a terrible tragedy, hit head-on by a drunk driver in their van and every family member sustaining injuries and Jennifer’s severe head trauma was life-altering.
Joni: Jennifer, I’m so glad you could come back to the studio today. Thanks for being here.
Jennifer: It’s awesome to be here as well.
Joni:…and it was fascinating to hear how you came up out of the five-week coma praising God, not angry, not embittered, not cursing, but sharing praise scriptures and singing to the Lord Jesus. Jennifer, when you look back on that drunk driver who hit your van head-on at 80 miles an hour, totally devastating your hopes and dreams for your future, have you been able to forgive that man?
Jennifer: Yes, I have in God’s grace, and in His timing. It was very hard at first because I was trying to forgive him in my own strength and I could only do that half- heartedly because he has affected my family completely. We will never be the same. But then I had to come to the point of realizing that by not forgiving him he would become an idol in my life and I also wanted to be free because I wanted God to forgive me. So after petitioning God and seeking His face, with His help He gave me the strength and the stamina to help me forgive the drunk driver that hit us on November 5th.
Joni: So you’ve really put into practice those wonderful words from the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, God, as we forgive others who trespass against us.” What did it do to you, Linda, watching your daughter have this spirit of forgiveness?
Linda: I think as a mother it was a little harder. Jennifer was joyful and God had given her a peace, but as parents it is so hard to watch your children suffer and Jen had severe headaches every day and memory loss and severe stomach pain and so many problems, just ongoing and it was hard to be able to forgive. I think it is important for everyone listening to know that when you forgive someone you are not condoning what they did, you’re not saying that it’s okay. In once since you are taking them off your hook and putting them on God’s hook and really we forgive because we want to be free for ourselves just to have that freedom to not limit what God wants to do in us and through us. And so, I think when we hold a grudge against someone else it just hurts us. It’s like a bitterness, it’s like a cancer that just eats us alive and so as Jennifer said, we can’t forgive in our own strength but ask God for help every day. Joni, there was a lot more than just the drunk driver… it was policeman that didn’t handcuff him, it was the insurance company that wanted to send Jen home early. You know, all these things that were to protect us didn’t and yet the Lord met our every need.
Joni: Well, I know there must be friends listening right now who are harboring resentment against someone in the family, a neighbor, a co-worker, perhaps someone who wronged them and I think your story has spoken powerfully, not just to the listeners today, but to me as well.
Linda: Thank you so much.
Joni: And friend listening you need to learn much more about Jennifer’s story and you can do this through reading the new book “A Miracle for Jen.” You must get this book, it’s a must read, and don’t forget to watch on-line our TV episode on The Barrick Family. Just visit our television page at joniandfriends.org.
Thanks Linda and Jen for encouraging us as you always do.
Linda and Jennifer: Thanks for having us.
Joni: And once again, let me remind you of our website. Come by and visit us at any time – its joniandfriends.org.
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