It makes no sense and it probably never will. Senseless, shocking violence in America. Again.

You've probably read numerous blog posts, status updates, and responses to the mass shooting in Connecticut yesterday. I'm sure you are still processing all of the information streaming out of your computer or television and if you are anything like me, you are feeling sufficiently overwhelmed. And sad. And scared. And then the anger came to me this morning after the concept settled in a bit. Which makes me crave the therapeutic typing of a post on these keys. I doubt I have anything new or especially inspirational to say to you today but I want to say it, just the same.

The 'why?' and the 'how?' seem to be the most popular questions at the moment. Why would this kid do something so gruesome, horrific and devastating? Why an elementary school? Why victimize innocent children--a seemingly untouchable population that truly symbolizes goodness and hope and the future? If he was mentally ill, seeking attention and fame in the news, why didn't anyone in his life notice that he was about to snap? Why?

And how could this happen? How are we going to prevent it from happening again? How can we go on after such an insult on our sense of safety?

Can we feel safe anymore in this country? Should we stop flying on airplanes, shopping at malls, going to spas, going to church, and sending our kids to elementary/high school/college? If we live our lives in fear then terrorism wins. 'They' win. Evil dominates even more than it already does in this broken world. Don't get me wrong, I understand the sentiment of wrapping your children up in a bubble and never, ever letting them go. I get that because like millions of other mothers last night, I held my children more fiercely than ever before. I drank in their scents and swallowed a lump in my throat while praying to God for protection. For hope. For peace. For healing. These precious babies of mine are safe and I got to smother them in kisses when so many parents did not have that privilege last night. How? Why?

If faith and religion are not your thing, or it's too painful to think about how God could 'allow' something like this to happen, then you can skip this paragraph. But like most circumstances surrounded by pure evil and sin and undoubtedly Satan himself, I find myself going to God in prayer. Today I read a passage from my devotional app that was appropriately centered on hope and heaven.


I believe in heaven and hell. I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that those innocent children will know no more pain, sadness, or disappointment in this world as they run with the angels in heaven. And I also believe that this sinful world is only temporary. There is more to life than this. But at the same time, that doesn't make the reality of the present day any easier to accept. And it's hard to remain hopeful about the future when it seems our time here on earth becomes more muddled with sadness every day.

I can't even pretend to understand what the parents of those sweet children must be feeling right now. Attempting to wrap my head around their immense pain sends my brain into 'shut down' mode---it's just impossible to imagine their loss. Unopened Christmas presents. Folded clothes that will never be worn again. Favorite snacks never to be eaten. Empty car seats and toddler beds and empty hearts. Memories never to be had. Loss. Immense loss. And the children who survived--the trauma that they endured is also indescribable. My heart goes out to the entire community of Newtown because my brain absolutely cannot handle it.

Today I received an email from a reader who lives just 10 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary. Her name is Christy and her sister-in-law, Kelly, has a blog post with an idea for responding to this tragedy. Christy asked that I pass along her message of supporting change in gun control laws and mental health assistance. This is not a political blog (mentioning religion AND politics in one post is so unlike me!) but it's very obvious that something must be done by our government. Something. Anything. Kelly's idea is to send an extra Christmas card to local legislators requesting that they work hard at creating change, to better protect our children from gun violence. Making it personal with a Christmas card seems like a wonderful idea to me. I think it's natural to want to help in some way, to reach out and do something. To feel a sense of control. A sense of purpose. Although it will never make sense. We can still respond anyway we choose.

I look at Truman and Cecelia and I am angry that they are being raised in a time of such senseless violence. I simply cannot imagine what other types of tragedies their innocent eyes will see in their lifetime. I feel sick, enraged, and hopeless. I want to hold them forever and promise to do everything in my power to keep them safe. But I refuse to let evil steal the joy from my family. I will not let this shooter, and all of those that came before him, scare me away from enjoying this short life on earth. I choose to accept the new perspective that has dropped into my lap. Perspective seems to stop by every now and then, usually after a major catastrophe. Perspective on what is important and what is not. What incredible blessings we have despite the challenges. And how it could all be gone with a sick twist of the story.

I choose to search for hope in this sick world. Because evil may have won yesterday. But we owe it to ourselves and to the families in Newtown to gain perspective. Pray for peace and hope and change. And to hug our babies more than ever before.

Whether you are still in shock, if you are sad, or confused, or angry, or scared---no matter where you stand in this mess, I hope you can find the strength to smile today. It's the little things that matter most, after all.


  1. You said it, sister. So sad, so senseless, but we can't let them win. I was just talking to my mom last night about this and said I hope good, Christian people aren't scared to have more kids. We can't let "them" win...we have to keep bringing good, positive people into this world. Yesterday was such a horrible day. I can barely wrap my head around it....I have no idea HOW those parents are processing the devastation.

    I agree that something has to be done about gun violence and I don't want this to be a political debate (out of respect for your blog and the victims) but stronger gun laws would not have prevented yesterday. I believe in our right to bear arms. I know they are so dangerous and kill people but if someone had a CCW yesterday, the tragedy might not have been so huge. Guns terrify me! But I can't imagine being told I couldn't protect my family with one. If it came down to it, I'd do whatever it took to keep my babies safe.

    1. I agree that the right to bear arms to protect your own family and to hunt is a good thing---I just wish there was a feasible way to make assault weapons, and a large number of guns, harder to obtain. I realize they think the guns he used were registered under his mothers name, but there needs to be some way to regulate better. Without completely eliminating the right to bear arms---which is why it's hard to find a solution.

    2. You are totally right. Such a difficult problem! And really, who needs assault weapons? They are only for one purpose and we don't need any of that in our world.

  2. Well said, Julia. It's so hard to remember when tragedies like this take the center stage, but I am trying to remember that there is SO much that is good in this world. Really, so much. I am not even that much of an optimist, but I do believe that 99% of people really are good people. It's just a shame that the 1% can be so horrible and that overshadows it all.

  3. I agree with you 100%. I am so sad to go to school tomorrow and have these difficult discussions with my students. This isn't a problem in other countries and anyone who cannot see the problem with our gun laws is in some kind of denial. They aren't going to ban guns 100%, but it needs to be harder and NO ONE needs to have assault rifles in their homes.

  4. I shouldn't have said "in denial". I meant that there is a fear that people will lose their right to bear arms. Personally, I don't think that will ever happen. I just really believe that we need to do SOMETHING different with our laws because there are too many senseless deaths becuase of guns.

  5. Beautiful post, Julia. I agree that we cannot live in constant fear, because that's no way to live. It sure is hard when these tragedies keep happening, but we have no choice but to go on and hope like hell that we can somehow avoid it all. And pray that somehow we can find a solution to prevent these things from happening so often.

    Guns scare the crap out of me, and I do wish they were harder to obtain. But I also agree with Andrea that we should have a right to bear arms and protect ourselves from bad guys, from our government should we need to, etc. And I think that if every school and place of business had a gun in a safe, locked place for instances like this, we'd see fewer horrific tragedies in which dozens of people die.

    I also struggle with so many posts and comments on these things "putting things in perspective" for people. I'm sorry, but if you need something like this to remind you of how amazingly blessed you are to have children, to remind you to appreciate them, to hold them tight every chance you get - well, I think that's sad. And that isn't aimed toward you, since you have that perspective always. Your love for your kids and this life shows so very much. I wish more people had that view every day, not just when horrible things happen.

    I also agree with Erin that it's important to remind ourselves of all the GOOD in the world. Most people are good, and there is so much good happening in the world every single day. It's all too easy to focus on the bad, but the good outweighs the bad by so much.

    So many prayers for those families and our whole country.

    1. I think the idea of perspective really just means prioritizing---meaning of course we love our kids like mad and hug them tightly no matter what (I'm glad you know I do that at least!). But perspective for me means that maybe being stressed about last minute Christmas shopping, or a dirty house, or a whiny toddler---all of that no longer holds priority. Perspective when looking at the bigger picture is a good thing. Yes, it's sad to think that something awful has to happen for us to push away the things that don't really matter. But it's human nature to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of the bottom line. Which, for me, is that raising kids is the most rewarding but also the hardest job. And they grow up too fast!!

      I also want to say again that I am not against the right to bear arms. I agree with LC in that I don't think that right will ever be stripped here in America. But I also think the rules and regs have to change---there isn't an obvious solution but this current set of gun laws is not working. Why is America the country with these awful mass shootings? What are we missing?? I'm fine with having a gun to protect your family--but this issue is about really scary, assault style guns being in the hands of mentally ill/unstable people. No clue how to fix it but we have to try!

  6. I agree with you. We cannot and we will not feel safe any longer. If a person can kill 20 innocent children, they'll do anything to anyone else! I'm in fear of my life, even though I do not live in Connecticut. This tragedy has affected me, even though I do not have children, none at all. I do want a family someday, and we've decided to home school them since people have the tendency to walk into a classroom and shoot every child they see!


    1. I totally get why you and other moms would want to homeschool after this tragedy. But I just want to point out that those of us who still plan to send our kids to public schools are not making an irresponsible choice--since, thank God, it is not the norm for someone to walk Ito a school and shoot. It's awful but thankfully very rare. Here is probably a better chance of a child being killed in a car accident than a school shooting. We take a risk as parents putting our kids in a car, taking them to school, bringing them to a mall or anywhere where some deranged lunatic could possibly open fire. But again---you have to live your life and can't function in a state of fear. It's a tough choice to make---and I know every parent at sandy hook and across our nation but be struggling with how to go on. But we must educate our kids and homeschooling is such a complex decision, one that is not for everyone.

      Didn't mean to start a debate about homeschooling here--I get that decision. But I also don't want it to seem like those who choose traditional schooling are purposefully putting their kids at risk.

  7. I agree. I am a homebody by nature (could easily stay home for DAYS -- maybe weeks -- at a time), so part of this tragedy pushes me farther and farther into this comfort I find in our home. But I cannot allow my kids to be raised in a bubble... you are spot on, that it could happen anywhere. God knows when he is taking my family, and there is nothing I can do to stop His timing... as much as I wish there was a way I could control it all, I can't.

  8. You're very right that it's natural to get wrapped up in the stress of daily life and it all just melts away when something like this happens. Because really, who cares, because we have all we need when we have the ones we love with us and safe.

    And yes, so, so many more kids die in car wrecks (and by freak household accidents) than in school shootings. To home school because you fear a school shooting is a little crazy, in my opinion (even though I see plenty of valid reasons why someone would choose that route - just not the safety thing.) These shootings happen in places of worship, too. Should people stop going to church, too? And in malls. And salons. The list goes on.

    I hope we can find a solution. These things happen way, way too often in this country.

    1. Since it has come to light that the arms belonged to the murder's mother... I can't help but wonder if the very arms that took her life were accquired to protect it?

      Wonderful post, Julia!

  9. I have such a wide range of emotions.

    As a mom of a lil one almost the same age as your son, & I am pregnant, i can't fathom the loss of innocence in these childrrns life. The loss of a sibling, the loss of a child. :-(
    I want nothing more than to embrace those children, every single one in a warm cocoon of complete shelter. And i look at my daughter and i just. It's unthinkable. Thank God there is a God. I couldnt bear not thinking of those kids in His warm embrace.

    And i want to focus on that. But I can't as a reaoning adult. I find myself just asking "what is the point of bearing arms if (for example) it didn't do any *good* for Nancy Lanza?" what *good* if the profits of those bullets, those weapons were pocketrd by the company who made them, the store who sold them- imbedded in those victims? I am struggling with the concept of "right to bear arms" when the life of innocent people are taken at a hugher ratio than to a "hero" who never had a gun.

    And then i wind up thinking... If only we stopped spending resources to argue/debate over women's reproductive rights and turned that same devotion to mental health reform or gun law reform how many current lives would be spared?

    Lastly, I become frustrated that this will all just be for nought. Just conversation and scared that maybe nothing constructive will come from all of these discussions or political ponderings... What will it take to effect meaningful action?

    So i just hug my child. I thank God for reminding me what is really important this holiday season. Family. And try to do everything thru Christ and try to be respectful to the fragility of lifes precious moments.

  10. What a lovely post and idea. Hugs!


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