I took Liam to the library a few days ago and saw the images above enclosed in a glass case on my way out. They are the 21 victims that lost their lives in the school shooting on May 24th in addition to the husband of slain teacher Irma Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later.
The new school year is approaching, and a deep ache settles over my heart as I think about it. The abundance of school supplies that line the shelves at our local grocery store is just a cruel reminder to some parents that they have one less child to send to school this year. For others, it’s an emotionally-charged time as both children and parents face very real fears.
Would you remember our community in these coming weeks? And as you do, would you pray for us?
I don’t doubt that God is writing a redemptive story for our town that has yet to completely unfold, and although I’m not entirely sure how that will look, I do believe this—that the prayers you pray for this town are a beautiful and meaningful part of it. So, thank you for investing in this community in such a vital way. I and others value it so much.
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Hello again. If you read my last blogpost, you’ll remember that I decided to take a break from blogging for a while. At the time, I had no idea how long it might last, but I knew I wanted to seek healing after a series of hardships followed by loss.
Although I have more healing and reflecting to do, I recently began to feel a strong desire to blog again, and I started praying that God would show me when and what my next blogpost should be.
Ironically, the topic leading me to blog today is not the one I would have chosen to write about. I wouldn’t have chosen it because I would have written a different ending for the events that took place on Tuesday when an armed eighteen-year-old entered Robb Elementary and claimed the lives of nineteen students and two teachers, additionally injuring many others that day.
I know that I also stated at one point that I don’t necessarily want to be writing about every tragedy that wrenches at my heart, because I don’t think multiple opinions are always beneficial. Sometimes more words merely turn into background noise, and that noise does not help those who mourn. Our words are often better formed as prayers to God for those who suffer.
This event is a little different for me however, because it hit close to home. Literally. About two and half miles from my front door.
Because we live in town and have a next-door neighbor that is very connected to the community, we were aware of very general details in the moment as events unfolded. We also became more aware of the seriousness of it all as we continually heard sirens around lunch time and then watched one ambulance head to the scene from outside our back window, then another, and then another and another and another in a row. But we had no idea of the complete devastation until we turned on the news later that afternoon and learned of how utterly destructive and heinous this crime had been.
That evening, as JJ and I tried to process all that had happened that day, we stepped out onto our patio with our young son, and I felt comforted in sensing God’s own sadness painted over the sky—a canvas of stormy clouds streaked in shades of gray. He grieved with us. He grieved over how such precious lives were taken that day through a horrific, demonic crime. And He mourned with each hurting individual in our small-town Uvalde.
It rained several hours later, and the flashing lightning and distant rumbling of thunder kept me up for some of the night. The following morning, I woke up wondering how a small community like this could survive such a tragedy.
That evening, however, as I attended a prayer event at the Uvalde County Fairplex with what seemed to be everyone in town, the speakers shared a Christ-centered message and prayed for hope and healing within our community, and God confirmed the answer to my question that I knew in my heart all along. We would survive this through the help of God.
Lately, as JJ and I hear of more tragedies happening around us and throughout the world, we are reminded of the simple fact that Satan knows his time on earth is short. His time is short, and he seeks to kill, steal, and destroy anything while he can. But God knows this too, and His purposes shall prevail.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10 ESV
Would you pray with me that this community would find abundant life in Jesus in the weeks and months to come? Let’s also pray that we, as a community, would be able to see God more clearly and to recognize that He is victorious.
There is an anchor that stands in the middle of town—a large, cement structure that feels so out of place in this land-locked town. But when we first moved here not long ago, I instantly fell in love with it and found comfort by it because of our own loss as a family earlier this year. That anchor reminded me of what we know to be true as believers—that we have hope because of Jesus.
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
As this community mourns, I pray that the anchor in town will ultimately become a symbol of hope to many others also through new, renewed, or strengthened faith in Jesus, and I’m asking God to make me and the many other believers who live here to be a light and a source of comfort to our community. Please join me in praying for that too.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”