A Flicker of Hope {Praying for Sandy Hook Elementary School Community}

Image Credit by George Ascencio Designs

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4
In light of the events of that took place last Friday in Connecticut, I find myself moved to share a few thoughts, links and scriptures that have given me hope. Although I have managed to stay away from all television coverage, I did read two news stories, one on Saturday, the other tonight as I felt compelled to know the names of the victims. I also read a few of my fellow bloggers posts who shared their hearts as we do here in this fellowship and community. I have tried to steer clear of the media with minimal pops onto Facebook as well. 
I wanted to dedicate a post to the victims of Friday’s tragic shooting. I know there are many tragedies throughout the world. I do not mean to take away from anyone or anything but just to allow a pause and acknowledgement in this particular one. It seems so close to home, in many ways beyond geography and has gripped my heart. 
Below are two fellow Bloggers who have have offered hope in their own ways.

Amy Sullivan shares a number of links that are helpful for those who’d like to offer hope/help: When You Want To Help The Sandy Hook But Don’t Know How

Wendy over at Saved Sister is coordinating a  Blogger Day of Silence on Tuesday, December 18th and also attempting to raise money for The Newtown Youth and Family Services.
Also Moms In Prayer Connecticut State Leader, sweet Pat Kenney,  has created a very helpful prayer sheet for her praying moms (but perhaps also for those who long to pray but can’t quite find the words or where to start)
I am grateful to belong to Moms In Prayer, and today I will be praying with other moms for our children, school and teachers.We will also be praying for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the community of Newtown, Connecticut. Praying for hope to be restored to those who are feeling the hopelessness that comes in times such as these. Praying for hope to return for us all. 
If you have passed this way today, will you hold up the family of each one taken in this tragedy?
Would you pause with me for a moment and pray for hope to be restored to their hearts?

“Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31

CHILDREN

Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, (age 6)
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05,  (age 7)
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, (age 6)
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05,  (age 7)
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, (age 6)
Dylan Hockley, 03/08/06, (age 6)
Madeleine F. Hsu, 07/10/06, (age 6)
Catherine V. Hubbard, 06/08/06,  (age 6)
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05,  (age 7)
Jesse Lewis, 06/30/06,  (age 6)
James Mattioli, 03/22/06, (age 6)
Grace McDonnell, 11/04/05,  (age 7)
Emilie Parker, 05/12/06, (age 6)
Jack Pinto, 05/06/06,  (age 6)
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, (age 6)
Caroline Previdi, 09/07/06,  (age 6)
Jessica Rekos, 05/10/06, (age 6)
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06,  (age 6)
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, (age 6)
Allison N. Wyatt, 07/03/06,  (age 6)
ADULTS

Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, (age 29)
Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65,  (age 47)
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, (age 52)
Lauren Russeau, 1982, (age 29)
Mary Sherlach, 02/11/56,  (age 56)
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85,  (age 27)
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; Lamentations 3:21-25

Gun Laws, Praying Moms and Christmas Programs {This Is Why I Pray}

Credit
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,”script”,”twitter-wjs”);
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Yesterday, I had a busy morning of errands. My Dear Hubby was home and we were spending time chatting over coffee, and planning Christmas details and his upcoming vacation time. I had a beach walk with a friend and a long list of things to accomplish before my sweet Girl’s Christmas program in the evening. 
I had planned to pick my daughter up a half hour early from school so that she would have a little extra time to get ready for her night. She is singing at the Christmas Program and this is a ray of light in a somewhat dark season of our life at this time. She often rehearses in the shower for an hour or more behind steamy curtain, under running water, before an unseen audience. 
It was a busy day and I do not normally allow myself a steady diet of news, although it comes my way various many channels including the social media kind.
I popped onto the computer for a quick peek into the Internet world and two comments catch my eye on Facebook. One is from a friend who speaks of Gun Laws, the next is from a sweet Bloggy sister via Twitter and mentions prayers for Connecticut families. I am in the dark, but immediately feel sick to my stomach. I shut off the computer as by the mercy of God my schedule does not have room today for me to jump into the News feed stream. I am expected elsewhere and my morning itinerary becomes my salvation. As I head out in the car, I channel surf the radio seeking more information. I think back to days before information overload and wonder it, at last settling on a local station that is speaking about details they are still piecing together and I am trying to absorb. Slowly details do emerge and my heart grows heavy as I pull into the school parking lot. 
I have learned that a young man in his early twenties has shot and killed one of his parents as well as a number of children in an elementary school in Connecticut. 

This is all I know at 2:30 yesterday afternoon as I arrive at my Girl’s school
The school nurse immediately shushes my mentioning the news, even though we stand in the foyer alone. She is protective for ears that might hear before parents have a chance to prepare them. I have grown to appreciate her fierce protectiveness and respect for privacy this past year. 
I scoop up my girl and with the few details I have mentally weigh when to tell her- before the onslaught from media assails her, sending fear straight into her already anxious heart. 
She is chatting, and I realize this too is grace…I am a parent torn between enjoying her presence at this moment and feeling the strong desire to weep for those that have lost their own precious little ones. I am living a double life. Beneath the surface with the little info I have I am imagining if it were my girl gone and feeling nauseous with suspicion of the magnitude of what has happened that I do not yet even know full.
We hurry home, I show her the scarf and tights I bought for her and she swoons.
She wants to shower. I fight the urge to turn on the news.
I debate if I should tell her.
“May I have my phone to listen to music while I shower?”
I give it to her.
She shuts the door.
“Wait, I need to tell you something, honey.”
I tell her the little I know and she is angry at me.
“Was it a Christian School?” she demands.
I explain that I wanted to tell her before she heard it elsewhere.
“Mom, now I am going to be paranoid. I wish you didn’t tell me.”
I am more sick inside, wondering that there is never a good time to speak of tragedy.
How it touches us all.
How I am filled with sadness for families I don’t know.
For children I will never know in this lifetime.
For all that is evil and unjust, I weep.
I did not want to tell her until after her Christmas program, as she struggles with anxiousness already,
but wanted to tell her before anyone else did.
I hear of so many children daily who are dealing with anxiousness.
Why wouldn’t our children be anxious?
The times are unprecedentedly evil.
Where children hate parents so deeply they wear anger like a badge and tote guns in their pockets seeking to kill.
Where God is not welcome in the schools, but everything else is.
This is why I pray.
I recognize that committing to one hour a week of praying for one school, those in that school and my child is needful, not optional.
I recognize that when I send my daughter off for 7 hours 5 days a week, it is a small sacrifice to commit to cover in prayer the students, staff and families who are part of this community.
I pray because sometimes I feel helpless.
I pray because the days are evil and there are no words for these kinds of events, but only crying out to God for hope and healing.
I am not saying that Gun Laws could not be better.
I am not a person who has much experience or knowledge of guns.
I am a mom who knows the power of prayer. 
I am saying that every school and child should have praying moms uniting together against the forces of evil and darkness. 
Last night we enjoyed the Christmas Program put on by our children at a neighboring church.I watched with both pride and joy for the children and my own sweet girl. I wept inwardly when a group of twenty or so 5-8 year old children sang, and parents clamored for pictures. My heart was breaking as I caught a glimpse in my mind’s eye of parents who have forever lost this opportunity. 
After the program, refreshments were enjoyed at our small school. 
I felt so grateful for this community.
Parents, teachers, children together celebrating, talking and sharing together.
Hugs are usually shared but they were a little tighter, longer. 
Children ran around the cookie filled tables, while parents lingered. 
This night the focus was our own children exalting the Babe in a manger with song and instruments.
But in the days ahead we will be mourning and grieving deeply for families who will need prayers and love and grace. 
Oh, Lord, God I am trusting in You for that which I cannot begin to fathom.That you will be the God of Comfort that you have been to me and many.That you will make Yourself known to every generation, and that your grace will be shed abundantly.In The Name of Jesus, I ask. 
A note: I have scheduled posts for most of December to allow for LESS computer time. I felt I had to share my heart about this tragedy. I also confess I still have not watched news and am trying to stay away from Social Media. The reason why is, I want to be able to pray and tune in to the Spirit of God more than the spirit of man. I know I could get sucked into 24 hour news bouts and really feel a strong conviction to pray diligently and fast from media for a period. My heart and prayers will be for the families and communities impacted through this tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
In His Grace, Dawn

911: A Perspective In Time-Re-Post {RJD September 2012}

It was a week after the tragedies of 911 before I could
attempt to express myself in a journal entry.
Like most Americans, I felt it was too big to put into words…

Hello my Friends, I hope you will understand  I am finding myself 
busy adjusting to this new Fall schedule
and I am  feeling a bit overwhelmed ! 
I have hit the ground running, and found I need to do some serious 
“recalculating” as to what is realistic for me with fitting in what God wants at this time and perhaps scraping off the plate any excess not on His menu for me.  

Some of you may have seen this post prior to now but I thought it would be appropriate to link up this Journal for our Random Journal Day this month. 

I posted this before we had Random Journal Day- so perhaps you missed it the first time around. Without further adieu – nothing like being late to your own party, right? 
I pray you are blessed as you glimpse into my journal, 
my heart, as I try to grasp the events of 911. The year they happened. 

*Re-post*

I journal pretty much every day. Occasionally I may be too busy or just need some time to digest life as it is fed to me, before I can safely articulate my thoughts and feelings. Such was the case, in the events of September 11, 2001. On this 10 year anniversary of the events of that day, I dredged out my journal to see how I actually expressed what I remember so well. Except, as I looked for the entry I realized that it took me a full week before I was feeling I could write. Writing is such a connecting point for me. It’s like breathing. My breath had been taken away and it was beyond a measurable expression for me to comprehend, let alone, write. It touched me too deeply as it did us all. I remember it was also the week my daughter was to be Dedicated at our church. The date of that event as 9/16/2001, five days after 9/11. How vulnerable I felt. How vulnerable we all felt. I felt connected to my fellow Americans and unsure of the future as I stood before the congregation and with my precious child.
I decided to share my unedited journal entry in remembrance of the day that took my breath away.
Our breath away. If you are reading this please know this is my heart, unedited. Handle with care. I usually write for an audience of One, who knows me, my rambly mind, and all. So keep that in mind!
September 19, 2001
Thank you Lord for today. It has been hard for me to write lately…Lord you know my inmost parts, my inner-most being. I almost don’t have words in light of the recent tragedies on our country. Where are we now…I haven’t been able to write in my devotional book for Katherine because I kept wondering, how do I write about this? But I must…and then I realized that I can teach her about the depravity of man and the sovereignty of God. Yet these are not small concepts. There is so much going through my mind…I think I am sick processing what it all means to me. I just can’t imagine the horror of what many have and are going through (in New York) and I confess it all seems unreal to me. Almost surreal. Our country, having been attacked by terrorists flying planes into buildings in New York and Washington by “Suicide Bombers”. But I know God is in control. Yet I understand so little.
And I must focus on the details of life…and I have – yet everyone in the country is changed by these events…People are really freaked out – But my God, I do trust in You. What I have seen happen in this country is amazing, powerful. There is a revival in Patriotism. Flags are everywhere. I remember as a school child we recited “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America”… I can barely remember it now – and do schools even do that anymore? I pray and hope they do and will. God You are doing something amazing – I don’t know what – but, Lord, thank you for America, my president, his wife. Thank you for freedom and liberty. Forgive me Lord because I have taken so much for granted. I have grumbled and complained when I should have been grateful and prayerful. Thank you for your mercy.
May God Bless America,  Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
9/11/2012
In memory of those who gave their lives, lost their lives, and those
who continue to suffer due to the sacrificial giving and dedication they
shared in service and to each and every one of their loved ones.
I remember.
*Re-post*

Re-post from September 11, 2011


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