Anne Graham Lotz Learning to Forgive Herself After 'Wallowing in Guilt' Over Husband's Death
Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz said she is learning to forgive herself after dealing with guilt and self-blame stemming from the death of her husband, Danny, back in 2015.
Lotz marked the two-year anniversary of her husband's death in a blog post on Thursday, sharing with followers the journey she has taken in trying to find peace.
"For three years I was my husband's full-time caregiver. I loved the role. But on this day, two years ago – August 17th, 2015 – I found him unresponsive in our pool. Three days later, my beloved husband of 49 years, Danny, went to Heaven. On my watch," she wrote.
"And thus began a difficult journey of forgiveness. Of myself. If I kept blaming myself and wallowing in the guilt, I knew I would spiral down into bitterness and self-hatred. I could actually feel the downward pull into that black hole from the moment I found Danny."
Danny Lotz, who was the son-in-law of evangelist Billy Graham, died in August 2015 despite intensive care treatment after being found unconscious in the swimming pool of the family's home in Raleigh, North Carolina.
He was married to his wife for 49 years, and was remembered for his strong faith.
"At the age of 50, Danny developed a severe case of Adult 1 diabetes. For over 10 years following his retirement from dentistry he fought the ravages of the disease, earning him the beloved nickname, God's Gladiator," the family said in a statement then.
Anne Graham Lotz recalled last year the distress she suffered when her husband died.
"One year ago this August, my husband of 49 years moved to our Father's House. He left suddenly ... without saying goodbye. The shock was horrific. But even during the days that followed, I knew that God had not been caught by surprise," she wrote last year.
In her latest post, the evangelist said that she began to forgive herself by turning to God in prayer.
"God, who loved my husband, and who loves me, used doctors, nurses, and friends to comfort me. I was told that there was no evidence Danny had drowned, or had a heart attack," she wrote.
"It seemed that he had simply gone to sleep in the water. But I was still left with the stinging self-flagellation...blame...guilt...and all the 'what ifs' and 'if onlys,'" Lotz continued.
"Then God seemed to whisper to my broken, grief-stricken, guilt-ridden heart... 'Anne, I forgive you. The blood of Jesus is sufficient for the forgiveness of any and all sins, including your temporary neglect of Danny and his subsequent death. You have said you were sorry. You have asked Me to forgive you. And I have. Now accept My forgiveness and My timing. I called him home when his life was complete. I had numbered his days. Trust Me. And forgive yourself.'"
Lotz reasoned that if God forgives her, she must forgive herself as well.
"Once we tell God we are sorry for our sin and failures and accept His forgiveness, then forgiving others—including ourselves—is an act of worship. It's a decision we make not only in obedience to God's command, but also in response to His own love, grace, and mercy extended to us. Pure and simple," she wrote.