Remembering Sandy Hook

“Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness”

It is almost hard to believe that two years ago today we all learned of the name of the school Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam Lanza and Newton, Connecticut. My heart still aches for all of those who lost children that day. And for those families, I am sure it feels like just yesterday and not two years ago. In the days following Sandy Hook, I blogged several blog posts. One of my most read posts was this post: I Am A Daughter.

But there also was this one that I wrote on the day following the Sandy Hook shooting. This post was originally posted on this blog on December 15, 2012. The title of the blog is “Why Won’t the Tears Fall?” These words still capture so well how I feel some days when I look at the world around me. There are so many days when the tears just won’t fall because I have become…in some ways…numb to what is happening in the world around me.

Here is the post I posted on December 15,2012: This afternoon I had the privilege of hanging out at church while the SS kids practiced for the SS Christmas program! As they sang the words “Peace to all the Earth,” I wanted to cry as I thought of the families in CT who won’t hear their babies voices again! Such a senseless act! I want to cry yet the tears simply won’t come! Why?!? Why won’t the tears fall from my face? Is it because I’ve cried too many tears over violent acts like this in my thirty years on this Earth? Is it because I’m numb and cannot understand why 20 innocent lives were taken way too soon from this Earth?

Yesterday and today I found myself thinking about and remembering all my friends who are parents! I can understand why you needed to hug and hold them last night and today! I found myself telling them to give their children an extra hug or cuddle just for me! I’m not a parent myself yet I yearn to be so deeply! And then I wonder do I really want to be? Of course I do! But what world will my future child enter into? A world strewn with sinful people…a sinful world! Yet what I do know is that love….God’s love…always wins!

I understand that is hard to grasp in light of yesterday’s events! But what I do know and believe with every fiber of my being is that God was there yesterday! God didn’t allow the events to unfold but as they unfolded God was there…holding and embracing each precious victim. God sent Jesus into the world and Jesus proclaims “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these!”

As I write this blog post, I find myself typing as my fingers dance across the keyboard yet I still find that these words are inadequate! Why can I not find the words? Why won’t the tears fall? How do we know that God’s love always wins?

God sent God’s Son as this precious gift who is born in a manger in Bethlehem and then later dies the ultimate death for us and our sins! This child comes as the light in the midst of the darkness and now more than ever we need this light to come!

So even when my words are inadequate I find myself turning to Scripture and letting the sighs rise up to God. “With sighs too deep for words to express….”

Or in these words, “Lord listen to your children praying, bring us love, bring us power, bring us peace!”

And finally, maybe, the tears I so deeply want to cry will fall from my face knowing we live in a sinful and sin-filled world but that God in God’s love for us all ALWAYS wins!! Perhaps that is a place for us to begin and cling to in the coming days!

Shortly after I wrote this post, the tears finally began to fall. And tonight, two years later, I still find myself clinging to these words knowing that Jesus Emmanuel is always with us. Emmanuel reminds us that he is the one who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness. He is the one who ultimately will bring about his peace. “God’s peace to us we pray.”

“Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.”
“Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.”

(In addition to this post and the link I posted earlier in this post, I also wrote one other post related to the Sandy Hook shooting. This post was written the day of the Sandy Hook shooting: With Sighs Too Deep)

Hope Worth Waiting For

We wait all the time, don’t we? We go to the post office to mail a package and we wait. We go to the grocery store to buy groceries and we end up waiting at the check out counter. We wait for the anticipation of the next big day or the next big event. But what I have come to realize is that we are not very good at waiting AT ALL. And I am just as guilty as the next person. On my way to workout and I get stopped because a train needs to cross the tracks. I find myself tapping my fingers on my wheel because this is holding me up and I need to get to my destination NOW! It seems that in this high tech world, we have so much accessible to us that we have forgotten how to be patient.

Advent is the perfect time to truly wait and be patient. Now I realize in a house full of kiddos, that can be extremely difficult but I think it also is important for us to remind children the true reason for the season and the importance of being patient. This season is all about the waiting and the preparing and the arrival of this precious holy child; the one who brings light in the midst of the darkness, hope in the midst of despair, and joy in the midst of sorrow. This holy child is the one who can bring about peace, justice, and mercy.

As you prepare your hearts, minds, and homes this Advent season, may you take the time to be patient, to wait for this precious child born in the unlikeliest of places. This precious child who is the Prince of Peace, who is Emmanuel, who is the Savior of the world, who is Messiah. This holy infant born in a manger in Bethlehem is the embodiment of hope in the world.

” ‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ “–Luke 2: 11-14

Jesus was sent into the world by God to remind us that there is always hope especially when we trust in this holy child. This holy child who later sits with tax collectors and sinners. This holy child who will be crucified for our sins and then will be raised from the dead. Jesus is the hope that we all must cling to; a hope that only God can give, a hope that is born that holy night in a manger in Bethlehem; A hope in an injust world that will bring about justice; A hope in a broken world, that will bring about healing and wholeness; A hope in a violent world that brings about healing, reconcilation and peace.

Hope is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.”

And this, my friends, is a hope worth waiting for!

Out of the Darkness

I have
been doing a lot of driving this weekend. Most of my driving has been in pure
daylight but last night I found myself driving in the dark. I have never been
much of a fan of driving in the dark. I think a lot of that has to do with the
fact that I can’t completely see everything around me or that I have to constantly
keep my eyes peeled for deer who want to jump out onto the road and could cause
an accident. However last night I found myself reflecting even more on the
As I
looked up in the midnight black sky, littered with beautiful twinkling stars, I
found myself thinking about what it must be like to be pulled in by the
darkness of depression or a mental illness. Now I have never experienced it for
myself, but I have watched friends and family members who have been pulled in
by the darkness. As I drove, I wondered what it was like for them to be pulled
in by the darkness. Is it like their lives are constantly lived like they are
continually driving in the dark; no light in sight? I think often times that
yes, they are pulled in by the darkness and cannot find their way out…and
that makes me so very sad. I want to offer them healing and so much that I
don’t have the power to give them. Yet I know that God loves them in the midst
of their brokenness and can offer them those things they need.
God is the
one who offers light to them…even if that light is just a little glimmer of
hope. In many ways, it reminds me of a lit candle in a darkened room after a
power outage. The candle gives just enough light; enough light for us to see what
is around us; to find our way around the room. God is that eternal light; that
brings hope to the broken hurting people in the world. Yet so often in the
midst of mental illnesses and depression, I think that light isn’t always
enough. Those suffering with those illnesses need more light to overcome the
darkness that they are pulled into. Yet God asks them to trust him; to know
that God has the power to bring light, hope and healing into their lives.
I was
touched by the following words from writer Anne Lamott. Her words
remind me; remind all of us that God is with us even in the
uncomfortableness and that God promise to never leave us or forsake us. 

“Faith includes
noticing the mess, the emptiness, the discomfort, and letting it be there until
some light returns.” 

So let us
hold onto hope for and with each other until some of the light returns!

Ode to Cancer

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.”

Oh how many times I’ve heard or read that passage. Yet there are times when it feels almost
downright impossible to believe in or trust in. Tonight my friends is one of those nights.

The ugly “c” word has reared its head once again. A friend and classmate went in for more scans today. She is (and has been) battling cancer. I found myself thinking of her and praying for her on and off all day. Then tonight I was eager to read her post and when I got to her post, I was heartbroken. It was not the news her and her family were hoping for. The tumors have grown. She will begin chemo once again. This was not the news any of us was hoping for.

But not only am I sad for her, I am sad for her daughters. This isn’t fair…not for her, not for her daughters and not for anyone. She has already lost her husband and the girls their father to this awful c word. I want to scream at the top of my lungs; Screw You Cancer!!
(I am not a swearing lady but I truly would like to use stronger language than this!)

And their story isn’t the only one. There are so many I know who are currently battling cancer. Why them? Why does cancer have to once again rear her ugly head?
It simply isn’t fair!!

I pray and cling to hope but that sometimes is so much easier said than done. It often is hard to see the light when this darkness seems to be looming all around us.

Yet I know that there is this one; the Messiah our Lord who IS the light in the midst of the darkness;
who always triumphs even when it seems all hope is lost! I believe that this Messiah often comes in the form of caretakers and doctors; in the form of family and friends who love the patient in the midst of their struggles; and in their mat carriers who hold the mat for them and lift them through the roof to Jesus!

In all actuality, I wish cancer wasn’t around. I wish that people didn’t have to struggle with it. I wish for so much. Yet I know that it still is a reality so we must choose hope. We must cling to the one who is the light in the midst of darkness especially when our lives; our world seem so dark.

Because in the end, I believe light will always emerge from the darkness and that there will always be hope! I also believe and trust that Christ WILL have the final word!!

(But on days like today when someone I love; a sister in Christ is sick and hurting, it is so much harder to find the light and hope!)

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

It was a great day today. I started the morning with a friend. We had some great coffee, then we went and did some shopping in these cute little shops downtown. And then we went to her house, had lunch, and made some Christmas cookies. We tried a new recipe and the cookies were awesome. She dropped me off and I signed onto my computer to check FB and do some other things. My homepage opened to MSN where I saw the news headlines that there was another school shooting today. It took my breathe away. This on the eve of the anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook. And all of a sudden my great day didn’t seem so important.

My heart is so sad! I want our world to be a better place. Once I find my Mr. Right and I have a family, I don’t want to have to worry about sending my children to school. I want more hope and not fear. I want there to be more love and not so much hate. A friend of mine posted several questions on her FB feed today after the shooting and I cannot shake them. Her questions are in no way rhetorical. They need to be answered. And I find myself clinging to those questions tonight. She writes, “We have too many hurting youth, too many kids who don’t have hope, too many kids who don’t feel loved. What are we going to do about this as the people of God? How are we going to speak light into this darkness and hope into despair? How will we show love to all people today?”

Yes, my dear readers and friends, how are we going to show light in the midst of this darkness and hope in the midst of this despair? How are we going to show love to God’s people today? In the midst of the darkness, I cling to this precious one who was born in a manger in Bethlehem; the one who comes as the light in the midst of darkness, the hope in the midst of despair, and so much more. How do we help show that kind of love to those who are hurting, to those who don’t know love?

I am reminded of my dear mother who has lived most of my life with a mental illness, yet she is one of the most faith-filled women I know. I swear she would give the shirt off her back. She simply loves unconditionally. She has been an amazing model of God’s love for me and I am so grateful and thankful for that. But I find myself wondering where are those examples for those youth who are hurting and don’t feel loved? How do we show them that they are loved? How do we show them that there is hope in the world? I don’t know the answers, yet I want the answers! And I want those answers sooner rather than later. I want the answer not to be violence. I want the answer to be kindness and love and grace. I want…..

Tonight I am praying for this one who thought their only answer was violence. Tonight I am praying for Eric and Dylan who walked into Columbine. Tonight I am praying for all those who lost a child a year ago at Sandy Hook. Tonight I am praying for Adam who felt his only answer was to walk into that school a year ago. Tonight I am praying for all those youth who don’t feel loved and who are hurting. Tonight I am praying that we will be able to answer these questions that my friend posted. Tonight my prayer is simply…come, Holy Spirit, come…help us to show them light and love and hope!

Just A Little Light

All of a sudden I am sitting in darkness. Yep earlier tonight I had just settled in to watch “The Big Bang Theory” when all of a sudden my lights and tv flickered off. But they did not flicker back on, they stayed off. I thought perhaps I had tripped a breaker so I took the candle that was burning and worked my way down into my basement where I found the breaker box. Unfortunately that did nothing. So I worked my way back upstairs and found my way back to my phone so I could call the electrical company. They told me that it was a power outage that affected over 2000 costumers and it would be a couple of hours before it got restored. (It was about an hour and a half.) I was thankful that I had agreed to go out with some new friends for their Thursday evening Tavern Talk.

As I sat in my very dark house, I lit several candles. It is amazing how candles produce just a little light; and that little light can help us see. I didn’t need many candles to see just a little ways. But I am thankful for those candles that produce just enough light. And as I sat in the dark I couldn’t help but think of Jesus as the “light in the midst of the darkness.” Jesus truly comes in the light in the midst of the darkness especially when we need it most.

The Advent season is soon upon us and Advent always reminds me of the beauty of this precious Son born in a manger in Bethlehem who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness. For some reason, I find myself reflecting on this more during the season of Advent. Perhaps because the days are shorter and it gets darker earlier. Perhaps because there is so much consumerism that skews our view of what is important. God sent God’s son into the world to be the hope in the midst of the despair and to be the light in the midst of the darkness.

Like the little candle, we don’t need much to see God. God is continually the light in the midst of the darkness!


I’ve been trying to spend more time looking for the light rather than the darkness these days! Jesus is this treasured holy child who comes as this light in the midst of the darkness who calls us to cling to the light especially when we feel there is no joy, no peace, no hope! Jesus is that joy, that peace, that hope!!

Today as I was driving home for the holidays, I witnessed a moment of light that made my heart “leap for joy!” A black pick-up truck was in front of me as we drove down the road! On the other side of the road, a van was broken down; hazard lights on etc! Before I knew it, the black truck had their brake lights on and blinker as they turned into the other road. I couldn’t figure out what they were doing and then I saw that they were stopping to help the van!

I have no idea who any of these people were but they showed me LIGHT! Thank you strangers for showing me this light!

“The light no darkness can over come!”

The Light in the Midst of the Darkness

First off, I want to begin by saying “Thank you”; Thank You to everyone who read my last blog post. I have been humbled by the amount of people who have read it (89 at last count and the blog post hasn’t even been up a week yet). I am glad that my words could touch and bless you. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved!!

I am a daughter of a woman who has lived most of my life with a mental illness! I will ALWAYS be her daughter; a daughter of a mental health patient.

And this woman; my mom has taught me more about life than I can even begin to count! She would totally give the shirt off her back for someone else! I honestly can’t remember her ever saying anything badly about a neighbor either! As a child, I remember her doing simple kind things for others! She is seriously a beautiful kind grace-filled woman of God!

And as this grace-filled woman of God, she has taught me to look for the good in people! That is not at all easy because we live in a sinful world but that’s the beauty we need to look for the light and distinguish the darkness in our midsts! God comes in Jesus as the light in the midst of the darkness!

Let us spend time not letting the darkness overcome us but letting us trust in God and God’s promise to us all! May we continually look for those moments of light and hope especially when we feel like the darkness is overtaking us! I’ve seen lots of moments of light this week: a woman in TX buying all the caskets for the families of the children at Sandy Hook who lost their lives, dogs comforting those grieving in CT, a child sharing their toys with another child who doesn’t have any! And these are only a few moments of light I’ve seen! What is a moment of light you’ve seen today, this week, this month, this year?

“The light comes in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it!”

(Another blogger captures this so well! Read her awesome grace-filled blog post about looking for and bringing the light! You can check out her blog at Looking for the Light)

With Sighs Too Deep….

The names of every single child I know is running through my head this evening. I cannot help but think of them and their dear parents. The news out of Newtown CT is absolutely heartbreaking. Such a senseless act. I find myself turning to these words: “Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.” Yet it is so absolutely difficult to see the hope in the midst of the events that unfolded today. I can’t help but think of how each one of these precious children has been called and claimed by God. Jesus says to us in the book of Matthew “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (Matthew 19:14).”
I can’t even begin to fathom the grief these parents and grandparents and other family members are feeling tonight. How could these innocent lives be taken from us? Why is their still evil in the world? These are only a few of the questions swirling through my head tonight. I find myself clinging to the promise of Jesus who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness, hope in the midst of despair, and joy in the midst of sorrow.
I know that as more information surfaces and the world begins to move on, these families will not. They will forever be changed by the events of this tragic senseless day. Who knows what this person is suffering from? I know some will say it could be a mental illness and that may be true, but the reality is many people in this world live with mental illnesses and are the kindest most grace-filled people in the world (Two of my family members being those grace-filled kind people!) Mental illness can be treated effectively. So often it seems to me the world doesn’t know how to talk about this illness. There is such a stigma associated with the illness but this illness can be treated and people can live wonderful lives.
May our prayers be with all those in Newtown CT affected by this senseless tragedy. And when we cannot find the words, may we simply let our sighs escape and rise up to God.
“With sighs too deep for words to express…..”

The Resurrection; Here and Now!!

My cup is absolutely overflowing today!!!! I think so often it is simply so easy for life to get in the way! We get so caught up in the busyness of life that we can so easily see the darkness in our midst but we have a hard time seeing the light. This weekend has been absolutely full of light for me! Yesterday with about 500 other people, I witnessed new love…and new joy at the wedding of my friend Renee. Now some of you, my blog readers, know her story but others of you may not so I’ll give a quick snippet. Renee, Renee’s husband Ben and Ben’s cousin Jon were all in Haiti in January of 2010 when the earthquake hit! They were all seperated and Ben lost his life in the rubble. Ben spent his last moments of life singing! Over the course of the past two years, Renee and Jon have found their way to each other and formed a new love! This to me is light! This is the Resurrection in our midst; here and now!

Then yesterday morning I met up with a good camp friend over Breakfast. As we were visiting, she was telling me about her foster child. She does “parent support” fostering. As many of you know, it is something I have been praying about and thinking about for a little while now! I couldnt help but smile and think about how smart the Holy Spirit is; showing me another opportunity. More light…more Resurrection in my midst here in now! Then later that afternoon, I Skyped my mom for the first time! So much fun to see the light in her as she saw me and got to talk to me at the same time! Perhaps the Resurrection in my midst yet again?!?!

This morning I went with a good friend out to the church Renee serves at. We met up with another camp friend and her family who recently moved to town. The church is on the campus of the youth correctional center. We gathered with the boys and girls who are currently staying at YCC! I couldn’t help but wonder what their stories were! While at Heart River, I got to hear a dear Diaconal sister preach (She preached a rockin’ sermon that inspired this blog today!)More signs of light….more joy….more of the Resurrection in our midst here in now!

The weekend isn’t even over yet. I will get to see college friends later this afternoon who I havent seen in forever! We are gathering for an adoption benefit for a college friend and her family who are adopting from Bulgaria! I am sure I will see more light…more joy today!

Hard not to see the Resurrection in this Easter season as I look around this weekend yet it also is so easy like the gospel story we heard from Mark last week to be afraid, to let fear creep in, to doubt, and to see the darkness. May we spend more time always looking for the Resurrection in our midst! And in the midst of seeing the Resurrection, may your cups begin to overflow with love, joy, and countless blessings!!

Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!