Newtown, Connecticut: What can we do?

“They look like ours,” I said to my husband Doug as I was looking at the small faces pictured online of the beautiful children killed in the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut a few days ago. “They look like our kids.” My heart sank thinking of the parents sitting at home on this night longing for their children.

What can we do for them? What can we do for the family members of the adults who heroically died saving children’s lives? What can we do for those who have seen this crime take place? What can we do for those that were first responders who have images in their mind of this incredible atrocity? What can we do?

We can’t make sense out of senseless.

I was on Facebook this past Friday reading people’s thoughts about the massacre. I read a conversation between two young adult men that went something like this. The first man posted, “Let us pray for these families.” His “friend” replied and said, “Forget praying. Send these people some money. They don’t need your prayers; they need money for funeral costs.” The first young man replied back, “Just because you don’t believe in God, don’t come on my post and slam me for telling people to pray.” And, then they kept bantering.

I thought about their exchange and it actually kept me up that night thinking. It caused me to remember when I found myself in a traumatic situation where my life got turned upside down in a matter of unforeseeable minutes. I remembered back two years ago when I almost left my husband and two children behind when I suffered an amniotic fluid embolism where I died for ten minutes. I woke up from the incident feeling so much closer to death than life. Not knowing if I would have the will to survive because of how much went wrong and how poor my health was. People responded to me in many ways. Some sent money and I remember my heart being warmed by their generosity. The money helped us in our time of financial need, but it did not get me out of bed in the morning. Although it was an amazing gift, it was not the thing that gave me the strength to survive.

What got me out of bed in the mornings when I was depressed, when I was in pain, and when I felt hopeless was the outpouring of prayers. I would constantly think of people praying for me and I would remember their words and that was where I found solace and hope. The abundance of prayers infused strength in me.

My friend Francesca who writes the blog For the Cause of Love (www.forthecauseoflove.blogspot.com) lost her five-year-old daughter tragically and unexpectedly a few years ago. Her sweet girl had the flu and went to take a nap never to wake again. It was unthinkable! It was heartbreaking! We were able to raise money for funeral costs and for her family. I think she would agree that the money was an incredible blessing to her family, but if you read Francesca’s blog, you will see it is prayer that gets her out of bed in the morning. It is trust in God that gives her hope and even joy in the midst of her unquenchable, unfathomable pain.

Will prayer solve this tragic outcome? Probably not. It won’t bring those innocent children and brave adults back. But, prayer is the place where Christ meets us in the middle of our suffering and becomes our strength when we are weak. Scripture tells us that as we become weaker, Christ becomes stronger.

All I know from my own experience of dying for ten minutes is that God is real! Heaven is real and God is love! God can bring us from the depths of darkness, depression, sadness, anger, hatred, and anxiety and bring us into the light. And, every word of prayer whispered, God hears!

Scripture tells us, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Let us continue to unite as so many have already done by offering vigils and prayers to comfort those who are mourning right now. We will never understand why God permits tragedy to happen, but in the words of my friend Angela who recently passed away from cancer leaving two children and her husband behind, “Jesus still rose, so I will trust.”

I hope we all send money, food, and any supplies this community needs, but even more I hope we devote ourselves to prayer. It may just be the thing that gets those affected by this crime out of bed in the morning to get their other children fed and clothed for the day, or that gives them strength for that moment in the day when they just want to fall apart or curl into a ball and hide. It may be the thing they need to encourage them to hope, to believe, and to trust. Let us not be distracted by politics, media, or God-less friends from being courageous and humble enough to beg for prayers and to get on our knees and plead for Christ to comfort the countless souls in mourning because of this injustice.

To those in Newtown who have lost a child, a daughter or a son, a wife or a husband, a sister or a brother, a mom or a dad, or those who had to see this crime scene as first responders, know that I am praying for you and my heart aches for you. Know that many in this country are uniting with you in your pain and suffering and offering our hearts to you.

For those reading this blog, I encourage you to leave a prayer in the comments and I will post them. Let’s cover those who are suffering with our love and prayers!

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

-Romans 8: 38-39

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6 comments

  1. Tanya Gallegos Perea · · Reply

    Tanya – Eternal Loving God: Father of us all and lord of all life.

    We come to you today with hearts saddened by the death of our (children, brothers,sisters, mothers, fathers) all who are wounded in Newtown, CT.

    We need the tender touch of your great love and mercy.

  2. As a teacher, I walked into my class a different person today. I looked at my students and thought how can anyone want to hurt them. I looked at them and thought I would take a bullet for each and every one of them if it ever came down to it. I pray for these families that they may find comfort in Christ and the love of family and friends. I thank God for the quick thinking of the adults who stoped this form being even more horriable then it alreay it. God reat thier souls!

  3. Francesca Morgan · · Reply

    Prayer is not the least we can do, it is the most. It may not feel like enough but we are not God and we implore Him. He is enough. A lesson not always easy to learn.

    1. Adam Polito · · Reply

      I have felt that praying sometimes feels like it is not enough and sending Money is the easy way out. I feel that I want to be there in person to help familys as I feel I can be more at peace with myself that I could hug someone and let them know I am here for them and minister to them. So I have aked God to let me know what he wants me to do, for now I am praying for everyone that is ivolved everyday and I have asked poeple on facebook to pray for Newtown CT and all involved.

      Adam Polito
      God bless them my brothers and sisters

  4. Please Lord Jesus, comfort all those suffering first hand from the tragedy in Newtown. We are all overwhelmed by this horrible situation, and in many ways we are all suffering because of it. Have mercy, Sweet Jesus, on all the souls of the faithfully departed, that by Your mercy, they will rest in peace. Heal the hearts of all those broken by this tragedy. Bring Your peace to each and every one, lifting them up, and helping them to fly on eagle’s wings once again. Please dearest Jesus, draw our hearts to You. Give us the grace to turn to you in trust. Please teach us all, through this tragedy, to turn to You in our every need. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

    Thank you Melanie for the invitation to offer prayers for those suffering in Newtown.
    In my darkest hour, I turned with trust to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I know that They hear my prayers and comfort me in my every need. I have lived through my own tragedies and it was the incredible power of God’s grace and intercessory prayer that got me through. Thank you for sharing what you did. It is only the healing power of God, and the strength from being lifted up in prayer that gives us strength to carry on. I pray for this every day, and will continue to pray for all those affected by the tragedy in Newtown. God’s richest blessings on each and every one!

  5. WOW !! What a nice tropic and great sharing to newtown, cheers author for your nice site .

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