On Today's Tragic Elementary School Shooting in Connecticut {12.14.2012}

Senseless. 
Tragic. 
Devastation beyond belief. 
Heartbreaking and wrenching. 
Fear-producing.

 I'm so weary and yet I can't sleep so in an effort to do a bit of processing of today's horrific tragedy, these are my thoughts.

Tears flowed throughout the afternoon as I heard bits and pieces of the news from Connecticut.

I have a feeling that today's evil will be one of those days, in decades to come, where we knew where we were when ... We will remember the exact moment we found out that evil had devastated a small community in Connecticut.

For me, I was sitting around a table with some of my dearest Chicago friends enjoying a delightful Christmas brunch, when one of the gals heard her phone ding and happened to glance to see the news. And within moments she let out a gasp as she saw that 27 were dead. Kindergarten kids. Staff. It's the kind of news that makes you gasp and put your hand over your mouth and shed tears and somewhere deep within groans rise to the surface as you just can't wrap your brain around the news you are hearing.

One of my sweet friends said, "We should pray." 

And so we did. 

Through tears. 

Through disbelief that we were even having to entertain the words of the tragedy that had taken place. 

All of us around the table happened to be mothers with youngish children and I know we each wanted to run out and grab our children and never let them out of our sight. Ever again.

I got to school a few minutes earlier than normal today, itching for the school day to be over so I could gather up my babies in my arms. 

I needed to see them. That they were okay. 

While waiting for Jackson's class, the door opened and there stood Mrs. Shayne, Jackson's kindergarten teacher from last year. And then, one after one, her class of 5-year-olds filed out, looking for moms and dads and running into their arms. Little did those precious wee ones know what had transpired across the country, earlier that day. I found myself with tears running down my cheeks, behind my mammoth-sized sunglasses, just watching the beauty of child and parent reconnecting after a day apart. 

Something that I suppose until today I had taken for granted. A given.

And the thought that 20 such families several states over weren't getting to do that at the end of their school day is almost more than I can handle. Those moms and dads would give anything to see their sweet babies running out the school doors and into their arms.

Jackson ran out the door minutes later oblivious to the weight of the world on his mama's shoulders. I held him so tight and kissed him and told him I loved him. Something I do most every day but this day -- this tragic day -- it meant more to me that I could imagine. 

And without missing a beat he begged to play on the monkey bars and off he ran. 
The innocence of childhood.

Maddie followed shortly thereafter and I grabbed ahold of her too, and held her extra tight and extra long. And I whispered to her that I loved her {she's at that age where quietness is of the utmost importance when on the school grounds or around friends at school}

Tonight, I remembered one of my very favorite verses in the Bible. It says:

"God is close to the broken-hearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit."

Psalm 34:18

And I believe that God keeps His promises and right now He is working in Connecticut to calm the fears and pile on His peace and wrap His arms of comfort around those that need a special touch from Him. 

I believe that God is heart-broken by this senseless act of evil.

I am praying that those most deeply affected by this act of evil will feel God's comforting arms around them in the silence of tonight. That they will feel God close to them. That somehow, in some way, they will find the Hope that only God himself can give.

Please Heavenly Father, 
be a Rock and a Safe-Haven for those experiencing unbelievable tragedy tonight. 
Somehow help them to lie down and sleep in peace. Your Peace. 
Give them your Hope in the midst of a hopeless situation. 
Lord Jesus, my heart is so heavy for these families. 
I am heart-broken and deeply saddened for their losses. 

Please, God, show up in a big way so that these families know they are not alone. 

And I pray this in the sweet name of Jesus. 

Amen.

Today, I am abundantly grateful for these two rich blessings in my life.

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