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This weekend I had the privilege of going to Time Out For Women. One of the speakers was Alissa Parker, mother of Emilie Parker one of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. Let's just say there were a lot of tears listening to Alissa speak.
|Me and Alissa Parker after her presentation|
Alissa told how empty she felt almost unable to function.
Then she began talking about the angels; the angels in her life in the forms of her friends and family and those around her. How they cared for her, how they reached out for her, how they did what they could to somehow try and help.
She talked with a counselor asking how can I help my kids through this and the counselor wisely told her, first you need to work on you.
*******As mothers I think our instinct often is to take care of those around us, make sure their needs are met; but as a mother you are a person too! If you are broken and empty, it will be impossible to truly take care of others.
She said as time went on, she felt like she needed to choose. To choose to let the light in, to choose to see the tender mercies, the help from the angels in her life.
Then she said something I will never forget--
"There is a correlation between healing and forgiveness."
She said at first she almost felt guilty, like taking away the pain felt like a disservice to what happened to her daughter. She wanted to think of the shooter as a monster, it was easier, it felt right. Ultimately, this is not how she could live her life.
She said that after meeting with the shooter's father, it began to humanize the shooter, and almost gave her a closure. She realized that it was not her burden to judge and know how the shooter would be held accountable with God, she didn't need to carry that burden with her, she could turn that over to God.
She testified that God can take the hardest and most broken hearts and can heal them, but we have to choose to let Him do that, we have to choose the light above the darkness.
Alissa has written a book about her experience-
I went an immediately purchased it after hearing her speak
I have read many survivors stories, and one commonality is their hope of something more; something more than just this life, also their ability to forgive. Once they forgive, that person or those people who harmed them- the people and the crimes lose power over them. They no longer need to be victimized by the horrendous crimes that were committed against them; they are able to find peace and purpose in life. That is true power. That is how you forgive when forgiving seems impossible.
**Please note-forgiving is not the same as forgetting. In some situations, actions need to be taken to protect yourself and others. At times, seeking professional help is necessary**
**********Now just this week, there was another shooting in a school, a domestic dispute- played out in the classroom, taking the lives of the teacher and a student, another student hanging on for their life. As I saw the news of this, my heart broke once again. Men's hearts are failing them. This world needs peace, this world needs the ability to find light, hope and peace.
This true peace, this true light, comes from one source, our Savior Jesus Christ; he truly is the Prince of Peace.