I had sat down to eat lunch and check facebook during the first lull of that busy Friday morning when I first read of the devastating news of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Grief stricken and in a state of disbelief, I sat in front of the TV screen trying to comprehend the magnitude and heartache of what had happened...just like thousands of other Americans at that time.
I left early to pick the girls up from school and just sat in the parking lot. I was so anxious to put my arms around both of them and just have them under my watchful eye again. I couldn't help but imagine myself in the tragic situation that was happening in Connecticut. What if it was our elementary school? Our children? Our friends? Our teachers? What if that was our community?
People were already talking about trying to not expose your children to the horrific news of the day. "Protect their innocence" was one quote that I saw several times. I understand the thoughts behind such statements, as we do not wish to create fear in our children who are not familiar with the atrocities of our world. Nor do we want to unwillingly expose them to the heartache that death is not only reserved for the old and feeble.
Sadly, my girls are very familiar with the fact that some children do not live to adulthood. So many of our little friends afflicted with mitochondrial disease have passed away the past few years, and we all have learned to live with the silent daily reminder that the future of children born with this genetic disease is very uncertain. The poignant questions they have asked about their brother and our little friends who have died have provoked intensely emotional conversations that have bonded us together like nothing else and caused these two precious girls to mature in a way I had never imagined.
After picking my girls up from school Friday afternoon and hugging them for much longer than they ever anticipated, we sat down together as I explained what we knew had transpired that morning when we all were going about our normal schedules. I respect those who want to shelter their children from such tragedy, but in knowing the emotional level my girls can handle at this point in their lives, I wanted to be the one to tell them of the news of this act of utter and complete evil that had horribly broken the lives of so many families.
It was a precious but solemn time of communion with my 2 oldest children while explaining the unimaginable events of that day and answering any questions they had. I wanted to make sure they knew that we needed to be in constant prayer for the families who lost children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, and wives during this terrible time...just like I stress to them the importance of praying for the families who have lost their children to mitochondrial disease when our little friends die. And just as I expected from past experiences of ending these difficult conversations with my precious girls, Abby departed to a place where she could spend some time to herself and think, and Emma stayed directly by my side so she could ask more questions to understand the situation better and be able to seek the comfort of touch she needed by being directly by my side.
Tucked tightly in my arms, Emma and I talked about this terrible situation a bit before she instantly sat up and locked her compassionate eyes with my own. With tear-rimmed eyes and trembling lips, she uttered something that will stay with me forever: "God can make good come out of this."
God can make good come out of this.
It was the emotional utterings of someone who was the exact same age as most of the children murdered on that horrifying day that spoke volumes to my soul...a 6 year old child with the spiritual maturity to minister to her own mother.
I trust that God is hearing the cries of an entire nation and holding these dear families up during this unfathomably heartbreaking time in their lives. I pray that he is holding each one of them up in his arms. And I also pray that this disaster brings our families and our nation closer to Him. Come Quickly, Lord Jesus.