To begin, I will say that my family and I spent the perfect day together yesterday.
Just two hours north of where we live, is heaven on earth. Picturesque drives, roads lined with the most beautiful pine trees ever seen and fresh mountain air.
Nothing like the brown, hot, desert conditions we have grown accustomed to. One could almost say that it's like being in two different States.
It was magical, it was beautiful, it was cold, and it was just what we were needing. Couldn't have asked for a better day.
We left home in the morning, and first on the agenda was a quick bite to eat at a local restaurant.
As we sat waiting for our breakfast, I happened to look up at the TV and my heart lurched at the Breaking news upon the screen. I didn't want to believe that this was happening again, not again, not to more innocent children.
I watched as the story unfolded, along with many other diners who had the same look of horror on their faces. My own children sitting around me staring in disbelief, asking questions "but who did this? Wow mommy that is sad, those poor kids and right before Christmas. That's not fair."
It was supposed to be a day of just happy things, but unfortunately it was also masked by tragedy, by a broken heart, a weight on my soul and many thoughts and questions swirling in my mind.
There was not a single moment during this whole trip, that I was not thinking about those beautiful children, the brave teachers and the hurt the families must have been feeling.
I've been on this sort of haze since that first news report.
I didn't know any of these families, I don't live in the area, I have never seen them, I don't know anything other than what I see in the news, and yet, it hurt me deeply. It cuts right to the core.
The reason, I am sure, is that I'm a mother and I can't for one second imagine the horror that those little kindergarteners and first graders must have felt, crying for their mommies, terrified of the bad man causing harm.
It's unfathomable. The pure evil that entered that school is something I will never understand.
And so I grieve, with the rest of the nation, with the people of that quiet town, with the family and friends of the victims.
I have lost count how many times I have found myself staring at my own children since yesterday morning, or how many times I've said "I love you", or how many kisses and hugs I've showered on them, thankful that I still have them in my arms but hurting deeply knowing that many out there will never be able to feel the little arms of their babies around their necks.
I know I'm supposed to just go on, get right back to Christmas preparation and happy times and smiles and all that. But I can't.
And I know I'm not the only one feeling like this. I couldn't even fall asleep last night, it was like I was plagued with the photos, with the accounts, with the faces on TV. It almost felt overwhelming, like I couldn't catch my breath.
Today has been much of the same. The feeling of being stuck in this horror, of not knowing how to make sense of it, how to explain to your children that this world is not filled with just horrible evil people, that they can be fearful but they need to move on and live their lives and not be scared of going places.
But how? How do you do that when you yourself are finding it hard to deal with?
Do we just stop living? Do we find ourselves terrified of malls and movie theaters and schools, of always worrying that the bad people are right around the corner?
I am in constant prayer. The need for comfort, for peace is immense at this moment.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18)
As we drove home last night, my husband and I listened to our favorite Christian radio station and the program Focus on the Family.
Something Kathy Keller said really struck a chord with me. Learning to see every phase of our life as an assignment from God for that time period and glorifying Him in everything you do.
So often I find myself fighting something that I don't like. I mean, it's easy when it's a happy moment, when it's something good for your and your family, but what about those moments that are filled with anger, with pain, with hurt, with sadness, with being in a place you don't want to be?
THOSE are the times that we need to do our part. I need to learn to look at my life and what is going on around it, as an assignment from the Lord. As me needing to be where I am, needing to go through what I'm going through and doing my best as a Christian, to give glory and thanks to God through every single moment, no matter what.
The tragedy of yesterday could have completely derailed my day with my children. But I chose to enjoy every second, to love them, to cherish them, to give thanks to God that I have them with me, while all the time praying for everyone directly and indirectly impacted by the senseless killings at Sandy Hook Elementary.
I am not just ONE Christian, I am one of MANY who will continue to stand up for what is right, who will continue to fight in our Lord's name and who will continue to exhalt his name, even as many around us try to do the opposite.
Lord, we know that your Heart is broken, as well. Please wrap your loving arms around those that have had their lives forever changed by this tragedy. While we see things here on earth that we cannot explain, we rest in knowing that you are a loving God, who promises that one day every tear will be wiped away.
"The waves of death surrounded me; the floods of destruction swept over me.The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death itself stared me in the face. But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I called to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears." -- 2 Samuel 22:5-7