Randy Shankle: Wrestling With Forgiveness
By Zsa Zsa Palagyi
The 700 Club
CBN.com - It was December 23, 2004. Twenty-eight-year-old Carrie Shankle was supposed to see her mother and father for an early Christmas visit, right after she filed a restraining order against her boyfriend who had beaten her the night before. That was the plan she shared with her father, Randy Shankle. Before hanging up the phone, Randy heard a doorbell. No-one knows for sure who was at Carrie’s door or what happened. But it ended Carrie’s life.
Carrie never made it to her mother and father’s house. She ended up in the hospital instead. Randy Shankle remembers, “I went into the room where her body was laying and they did have her on that machine that sustains life and I went over there and I just lifted her eyelid up, there was a respiratory nurse in there at the time. I said just take all this stuff off my daughter. I said she’s not here, she’s not here. And she said, ‘Now who are you?’ I said I’m her daddy.”
Randy’s wife, Patricia Shankle, was there, too. Thinking about Carrie’s last day brings tears to her eyes. “I just went over and started holding her and talking to her, just oh my Carrie, you know, my beautiful Carrie. I love you, and I’m so sorry.”
The charge nurse at the hospital said that there were traces of cocaine in Carrie’s body. And since Carrie’s boyfriend was a drug dealer, Randy suspected he had everything to do with his daughter’s death.
He wouldn’t leave the hospital until he got some answers. “I talked with the doctor and I said I want her checked from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet for the contusions. I said she’s got hair missing, she’s got choke marks on her neck.”
Randy had been in the police force for years, specializing in drug arrests, so he knew a lot of people in the drug world. He talked to a number of them and did some private investigation into Carrie’s case. He concluded that what he had suspected was true --Carrie’s boyfriend had popped her a hot shot at her front door.
Randy explains, “In the drug world, that’s a shot of cocaine. The brain just starts shutting down all your functions and then in fact that’s what the doctor said, that the overdose had in fact sent a lie to her brain saying I’m busted.”
Usually with hot shots, foul play can’t be physically confirmed. That’s what happened with Carrie --and soon, her case was dismissed. The boyfriend got off with no consequences, while Randy was left with a heart full of anger and pain. It only escalated with the rain.
Randy had been up for days. “I said that’s it. I can’t take it. I said all I can think about is her laying in that, in that watery coffin.”
In Randy’s mind, it was time for action. “I just went in there on the bed, started getting my stuff together, getting my kit out and getting ready, cause I knew I was going to do some damage that night. I was going to go to the drug house where her boyfriend used to hang out.”
His wife Patricia tried to stop him. “I needed to get his mind on something else. In the next five minutes, we needed to get to another place.”
Patricia had an idea. She got Randy into the kitchen, where she invited him to look through “the blue book” –a scrap-book of all his accomplishments in the police force.
It worked. Fighting back the tears, Randy recalls, “She used what I had done that helped a lot of people to put before my face and say, baby you helped a lot of people. You tried to help Carrie, and it just didn’t happen the way you thought, but look at the ones you did help.”
By day break, Randy had put his weapons away. Still, he questioned God about the injustice of his loss. “What’s up with my situation? What’s up with my pain? Where’s my help? I thought you were my Father. What’s up with this? And that’s when He started helping me to understand that vengeance is his. That He will work all things to His good and He’ll prove Himself out.”
And He has. Carrie’s boyfriend has since gone to prison for another crime. While Randy has battled with forgiving him. “I’m like God, if you don’t fix me, ‘aint nobody going to fix me. And I’m hurting and this forgiveness thing, I’ve heard people talk about it. It didn’t seem to be real from some what I’ve heard them say. I got to understand this for me.”
It took remembering his own experience with God’s forgiveness to get there. “ I didn’t even know how to say Jesus. I just went to the altar I said God, clean me and He said, ‘You stayed at that altar for nearly an hour and when you came up, you said I’m clean, I’m clean, I’m clean.’ Why was I so clean? Cuz I knew I was forgiven. And He said, ‘That’s what you’ve got to have again to reach others. That’s what you got to have towards that man is you’ve got to want him to be as clean as you was.’ This bitterness from being a victim or losing someone -- it’s a bitter root. It’ll kill you. It’s worse than cancer. I don’t want to sound cliché, but you get it out by trusting and obeying in your relationship with the Lord. ‘Aint nobody else can help you like your Father can.”
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