Koehne’s Chapel visit puts face on forgiveness
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
To fully appreciate everything Mia Koehne has done and is doing, you need to watch the video of “You Are Not Alone.”
Sometimes the pain inside your darkness,
Cuts so deep you’d rather die,
Standing on your own has left you wounded,
With an emptiness that longs to feel alive.
You are not alone, I’ll be there when you fall.
And I will reach out My hand to let you know,
For this battle you are worth it all.
For this battle you are worth it all.
The video features person after person holding up a sign sharing their transgressions, some of them serious, and then turning it over to indicate their new life in Christ.
She holds up a sign, too.
“I thought forgiveness didn’t apply to my adultery,” it reads.
And then she turns it over.
“God showed me what forgiveness looks like.”
As she told the Chapel audience Monday, “He exposes our sin … and that was His gift to me.”
Koehne told a condensed version of her story, detailed here. She began with the effect it had on her when her brother Chris died of cancer when she was only 7. One look at the childhood photo of the two of them, displayed on the screen behind her, told you all you needed to know about how much he meant to her. “He was my everything,” she said.
“It left this little hole, this hole in my heart, and that little hole was going to go year after year after year of trying to fill that hole and make it feel better to take the pain way,” she added. “It would build up walls of protection, walls that said, ‘I don’t want anybody to love me because when I love people, when they love me, they leave me.’”
Her brokenness led to a series of poor choices, choices she still was making even after she got married. Rather than seek forgiveness when her husband, Bob, learned of the secret life she was leading, she left him and her three children and continued to spiral downward, to the point of contemplating suicide.
It was at that moment that God sent her a life preserver in the form of a caller from across the country, who asked, simply, “Have you had enough?” Finally, she was ready to put it all behind her. She said what she called the greatest prayer in her life: “Jesus, help me!”
Little did she know, after she went through rehabilitation, was forgiven by her husband and returned to her family, that God would use her story to proclaim His name. And Koehne, whose children all attended or are attending GCU and whose son Aaron works in the Spiritual Life office, had a lot to proclaim in her talk. A sampling of her God-inspired wisdom:
- On truth: “You trace that word back, it means ‘hiding nothing.’ … The God that I serve, the God that created this world, is a God of light, He is a God of truth, and He will not allow the darkness to stay hidden.”
- On repenting: “Sometimes, that’s scary. ‘You can forgive me? How can you forgive me? I’ve done so many things to hurt you.’ So instead of receiving grace, instead of receiving mercy, I ran. I walked out on my three kids and my husband.”
- On miracles: “The miracle can happen, and the miracle in our family was this: There was a broken, hurting 7-year-old girl – yeah, maybe she was 30-some years old, but she was a 7-year-old broken little girl – and she had finally been healed, and she finally realized that her identity was not in who her brother said she was – although her brother said she was pretty awesome – her identity was in who Christ said she was.”
- On forgiveness: “I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with bitterness in your heart and anger in your heart and resentment in your heart. There are miracles that are waiting to happen when you say, ‘I’m going to forgive you.’ I love the Lord’s Prayer when we say, ‘And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ It’s not a suggestion. It’s not, ‘Forgive us our trespasses and I might forgive someone if I deem it OK.’ It’s, ‘I will forgive,’ because when we forgive we teach others how to forgive.”
Koehne said her ministry can be wrapped up in verses 3-4 from Chapter 1 of the second book of Corinthians:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Now she is doing the comforting, in words and in music. It is worth it all.
● For a replay of Chapel, including the music performed by the Worship Team, click here.
● Next week’s speaker will be Dr. Tim Griffin, Pastor and Dean of Students.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.