A Polish reader of Aleteia shares how a terrifying experience helped her discover God in her life, and the gift of being able to forgive.
Asia, a Polish reader of Aleteia, sent us this testimony. With her permission we’re sharing it with you all (edited and formatted for our website).
Jesus Christ be praised!
My name is Asia. I’m currently happily married to a wonderful husband, and the mother of three wonderful girls. In our lives, as in every life, we struggle with the problems and worries of everyday life. However, we also have daily joys that are only seemingly small. In fact, every new day is a great gift from God!
That’s how it is today, but it hasn’t always been so… Our daily life, which is primarily influenced by inviting Jesus into our lives every day, has changed since 2021 when we entered the formation path of the Domestic Church. Since then, step by step we have been nurturing our personal, marital, and family spirituality. However, today I would like to share an event that took place 13 years ago, about which the Lord touched my heart recently.
A home invasion
In June 2009, right after graduating from high school, I went to Germany as an au pair. After staying with a family in Frankfurt for 2 months, on September 17, 2009, while I was alone in their home, I was attacked by a knife-wielding man under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The man had invaded the house there in search of money and valuables. For about an hour he threatened me with a knife held to my neck, saying he would kill me if I didn’t tell him where the money was hidden.
The man tried to tie me up so that I couldn’t escape. He threatened that if I tried to escape or didn’t stop screaming, he would kill me. When he loosened his grip on me for a moment, I tried to get out and lock him in the room but failed. He threatened to kill me right then and there. I begged him not to do it. I cried, I screamed …
At some point, as I realized that he was going to carry out his threat, I began to pray the “Our Father” aloud. At that moment I was stabbed 3 times.
I had a good guardian angel
The man left me and walked away. I remember that the only thought running through my head was “God, it can’t end like this …” I felt a paralyzing pain. Moments later, the 8-year-old boy I was taking care of at the time came home from school, and I don’t know where I got the strength to call out to him to “run to the neighbors, because it’s dangerous here.” The neighbors called for help. I was taken to the hospital in a life-threatening condition. I lost a lot of blood. They performed CPR on me. I received a blood transfusion, and life-saving surgery.
Upon waking up, the doctor told me that I had a good guardian angel, because I had survived!
The man was captured by the police two days later.
I went through a long physical and mental recovery. A year later, a trial was held against the man. As a result, he was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison.
Discovering meaning in the experience
Every experience has a deeper meaning in our lives, even if we don’t understand it or see it right away. For many years I treated this event as simply a bad experience. Something I have had to deal with, because the effects of that day keep coming back to me.
But after 13 years and 6 months, which is exactly how long the punishment of that thief lasted, the Lord gave me the grace to know what really happened that day. Exactly 13 years and 6 months later — exactly to the day (I’ll admit I didn’t think about it at the time) — when I was at my weekly face-to-face meeting with the Lord, I opened the Scriptures to the words:
As my life was ebbing away,(Jonah 2:7)
I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer came to you…
And before my eyes I have the image of Jesus speaking to me, as to Nathanael in the Gospel (cf. John 1:48): “I heard you then, I saw you then … I am!”
At that moment I realized that in my own life, I had tangibly experienced the living, real, and present God who heard me, saw me, and gave me new life.
A gift that I did not deserve
The other day after that period of adoration, I went to the Eucharist. There was a Lenten retreat at our parish. I remembered only one sentence: “What is your testimony of life?” The answer came to me immediately. This is my testimony of life! I also realized that I wanted to talk about it. I experienced the living and true God, who listened to me when I cried out, who saved me and gave me a priceless gift: life. I didn’t deserve this gift in any way, but that’s the way it is with His love; He just gives it to us for free.
Today I also recognize that I experienced another special grace … the grace of forgiveness. From the beginning there has never been a trace of resentment in my heart towards this man. I pray that God will let him know in his heart that I have forgiven him.
I thank God for the gift of life, for this experience that I have accepted and lived, thanks to which I can testify that God is always with us.