So, I just rewatched the "The Power of the Heart" Documentary again, and man, did it hit me hard. I felt this incredible connection and presence. One story in particular about Immaculée had me bawling my eyes out. I really hope it resonates with you.
Immaculée Ilibagiza, this amazing Rwandan woman, survived the insane 1994 Rwandan genocide by being super strong, holding onto her faith, and just going with her gut. Seriously, her story is unreal and totally inspiring.
Picture this: during the genocide, Immaculée, a Tutsi woman, had to hole up in a tiny bathroom for a mind-boggling 91 days with seven other women. They were trying to escape the absolute horror and carnage happening outside. While cooped up in there, she went through all sorts of terrifying emotions, and she had to watch her family and friends get taken out brutally. She got so mad at the people causing all the chaos, and you know what? Every time she felt that hate, she'd get pounding headaches and bellyaches. It's like her thoughts were off the charts powerful, and that fear was just eating at her.
To stay sane and find some sort of comfort, Immaculée turned to her faith. She'd read this little Bible she would pray the "Our Lord's" Prayer around a 200 times every single day. But when she hit the part that goes "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us," she'd freeze up. It was like a major red flag waving in her face. She got it, but how in the world could she forgive those trying to wipe her out? She wanted to, but she was seriously stumped. So, eventually, she started skipping that chunk of the prayer, hoping that God would get that she wasn't faking it. Once she started skipping that bit, she felt a whole lot better. After a while, a voice said you should not be changing Gods prayer. She knelt down and said God if you know how to forgive, help me forgive.
It got to a point where she saw the world was divided in two parts, love and hate. The group of love consisted of people like MLK, Junior, mother, Tresa, Gandhi. And even though they all suffered, they stood up for love. On the other side she saw people like Hitler, who were angry and vengeful. Similar to what she was feeling and the question came to her from God, where do you want to belong? The people one the side of love have known injustice, they have known hate, but they chose love. Seeing that, she knew which group she wanted to be a part of, no question. So what did people like Mandela and Gandhi believe? "That people could change" and that was a huge shift in thinking for Immaculée. She was able to observe herself changing with these thoughts and that set the foundation for her belief in people having the capacity to change. She felt so much love in her body. Then when she thought about the killers she felt compassion for them.
Despite the non-stop craziness and the constant risk of getting caught, Immaculée somehow pulled through those 91 days in that cramped bathroom. When she finally got out, she'd lost most of her family and friends. But she held onto her faith and the lessons she'd learned about forgiving and loving even when it feels impossible.
She went ahead and wrote this book called "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust." In it, she spelled out every bit of what she went through and how her faith carried her. Her story has hit home for tons of people all over the world. It's an example of how the human spirit can endure the worst and how forgiveness can be this mega-power even when life throws the worst stuff your way.
Some of her intuition nudges:
- Right before the chaos hit, Immaculée told her brother and family they needed to bolt. Her gut was just screaming at her.
- Another time, their lives were on the line again, and Immaculée was like, "Pastor, barricade that bathroom door with the bookshelf." There was a knowing in her heart, "They're coming for you this time." She was right, they tried and luckily the bookshelf covered the bathroom door.