Immaculee Ilibagiza and the Power of Forgiveness

Frustrations In Perspective

A few weeks ago, I had one of those days.  You know what I’m talking about.  You’re going to a meeting when someone suddenly cuts you off.  You decide to grab a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks.  Instead of moving at the normal fast pace, the line seems to take forever.  Finally getting your coffee, you glance at your watch and think you have just enough time to make it to the meeting.  But when you rush back out to your car, you find someone has decided to park behind you.  After locating the offending car owner, you are back on your way only to get a phone call asking if you could delay the meeting until tomorrow.

Life’s frustrations.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget what truly matters.

During this particularly frustrating day, I heard something that immediately changed my point of view.  Immaculee Ilibagiza was visiting Nashville in a few weeks.  Just thinking of her story changed my perspective in an instant.

Do you know her story?

One of the Most Powerful Stories I’ve Ever Heard

Immaculee grew up in Rwanda and had a fairly normal life until 1994 when everything changed.  Hutu extremists seized control of power and began a genocide that would rip her world apart.  Immaculee hid for 91 days with seven other women in a small bathroom as killers searched for them.

When she finally walked out of the bathroom, she weighed only 65 pounds.  Her family and friends were all viciously murdered.  It’s estimated that up to one million people were killed.

If that were the end of the story, it would be another horrific tragedy for history.  Incredibly, Immaculee found peace and forgiveness in the midst of one of the world’s most horrific events.  She began a deep, spiritual journey in that bathroom and developed a life of prayer that transformed her.  She’s personally forgiven the people who murdered her family and friends.

When you meet her, there’s not a trace of anger or hatred.  You sense only peace, forgiveness and love.  She has a presence and an awareness that we can all learn from.

The story of what happened to Immaculee hiding in that bathroom, and how it fundamentally transformed her life is something I will never forget.  Of all of the stories I’ve ever heard, this one had a profound and lasting impact on me.  You can read about it in her best-selling book Left to Tell.

Immaculee also holds retreats where you can see her in person or register to watch online.  You can learn first-hand how the power of prayer and forgiveness can offer healing and light.  To learn more about Immaculee’s story, her books and her retreats, visit her website:

Her perspective will help you with:

  • The ability to let go of past hurts and pain
  • The power of forgiveness
  • The healing that comes from prayer

What Really Matters

Hearing her inspirational story again, I’m reminded of what really matters.  It’s a powerful reminder that no amount of traffic, of busyness, of work or life stress is worth an ounce of concern.  Immaculee was “left to tell” her story and share its lessons with the world in a way that inspires, uplifts and encourages.


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