Every time I think of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary, I break down in tears again. Not the lonely tear that happens to escape my eye, but the heaving tears that I force out, hoping the pain in my heart will go with them. Even living hundreds of miles away, this one hurt me more than most because most of the victims were 6 years old - just like my precious youngest baby.
I haven't known what to do about my dilemma - do I continue to dwell on the tragedy, hoping to sensitize myself to it? Or do I put it aside and ignore it, knowing that it happened far away?
I am choosing something else. I am choosing to celebrate life in honor of the One Who made it.
The mamas of those babies can't say this, but I can. Hopefully, those mamas will find something else to be thankful for - and believe me, I know it can't be easy for them to look for it! But we were created to give God glory, and so I, for one, would like to do my part.
I know way too many moms or moms-to-be that were swept with the joy of finding out they were pregnant, only to have their dreams slip away in just a moment for reasons none of them could even figure out. So I, too, worried for the first 13 weeks of my pregnancies, and then just a little less after that, that the unknown reason for little babies' lives to end wouldn't find me. It never did.
I had three healthy children, and they all survived miscarriage.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The terror that grips the heart of every new mom. Even if you do everything right, they might just stop breathing. Hearing silence on the other end of the baby monitor sent me running into their rooms so many nights. When each of my children turned one, I finally breathed a heavy sigh and slept through the night myself. Many moms could not do that.
I had three healthy children, and they all survived SIDS.
This one will hit some of you hard. We are finding many of our friends - FRIENDS, people we actually know and care about! - struck by this indiscriminate hater. Or we follow the stories on Facebook or blogs about the 4 and 5 year old children who one day aren't feeling well, and the next are sent to CHOP for blood transfusions. Children are getting cancer. Not because of where they live, what they have eaten, or bad choices they have made. Just because they do.
I have three healthy children, who to this point, have not been dealt cancer.
They are happening more and more. Not just in big cities, but in little towns that seem too safe for armored guards. Heroes are being made of teachers, parents, principals, and custodians. But lives are still lost. Sometimes there just isn't anything that can be done when the trigger snaps in a crazy man's brain. That's what scares me the most. You just don't know who, and you never know when. But if you spent all your time protecting against it, nothing would be learned at school. Not joy, not friendship, not recess fun. And you can't survive without those either.
The "Columbine" years and the "Virginia Tech" years are still ahead for them, but up until now, I have three beautiful children who have come home from school every day that they have gone.
There are plenty more that will plague us through the years with which we have been given at home with these children. Accidents, abductions, the list goes on.
My little boy is terrified of fire. His biggest fear is our house going down in flames. At least once a week, we need to reassure him why our house is safe and he won't die in a fire. (It would have helped greatly if we hadn't been completely doused by the fire sprinklers in an accident at the mall one day when he was little.) Both of us know the possibility is still there, but we are doing everything we can to keep the probability to a minimum.
Sometimes, we need to do that for ourselves too. We aren't through the woods yet. Risks remain. But we have to remember that the probability is low, and not to let worry eclipse the present joy.
And that, in all things, good or evil, God reigns sovereign over it all.
Passion Under Grace,