I was recently selected to become a member of the Bethany House Bloggers Review Program. Admittedly, I am a little bit late on my reviews of two books they have graciously sent me. Thank you, Bethany House, for this opportunity and also for your patience with me.
(Photo credit to amazon.com)
The Nickel Mines Amish School Shooting that occurred in 2006, was a tragedy that rocked America to its core. Why would anyone want to harm such a peaceful people as the Amish? What tragedy must this person have faced to drive them to such violence? Could someone really be that intrinsically evil? At least these were the questions running through my mind when I watched the newscasters describe the carnage. I was only ten years old when this occurred. Some of the victims were younger than me.
Yet something even more newsworthy was about to occur. The Amish were going to extend grace to the perpetrator’s family. They were actively choosing to forgive.
This memoir is written by Terri Roberts, the mother of Charlie Roberts who was the man responsible for this dreadful event.
I was broken by reading Terri’s recollection of the tragedy. Her faith and trust in God was made evident through every twist and turn of the story. Her tone is compelling and honest.
If you have experienced any type of grief (haven’t we all?), or if you have the desire to help others cope with grief, this book is a must-read.
One thing I admired most about Terri’s story was that she refused to block out the good memories. In the face of such unbelievable trauma,she encouraged good memories to come to mind. She could never escape the reality of what Charlie had done. But she could always remember the good moments with him. The loving care that he provided for his wife and children, his tenderness towards animals . . . these attributes were just as real as the harbored bitterness that destroyed him.
Terri found a way to embrace the good memories while still examining what could have been done differently. What signs of bitterness and depression had she missed? How could other families prevent this from happening?
Although, I have never faced a tragedy nearly as devastating as what Terri has faced, her strategy for coping with loss would be beneficial for anyone. Remembering the good moments of a relationship that ended badly, remembering the lessons learned from a boss that fired you, remembering the happy times with a friend crippled by mental illness . . . These are all practical examples of how we can embrace the good despite painful memories.
The forgiveness of the Amish people was a tremendous expression of grace. There are no words to express how Christ shined through the hearts of this Amish community. They were as concerned for Terri and her husband as they were for each other. How different this story may have turned out if the Amish had expressed bitterness and hate, instead of forgiveness and love.
I wish I could share more about how God showed himself to the Roberts family through the Amish, but I don’t want to be a spoiler. You can purchase the book through Amazon today, available in Paperback or Kindle format.
Terri Roberts currently writes at Joy Through Adversity, spreading the message of the gospel through the pains of this life. Terri was diagnosed with Stage Four breast cancer during the writing of this book, and is currently undergoing radiation for treatment. She has remained close to the families affected by this shooting, and continues to exemplify a love for Christ through her writing and speaking.
Thank you for providing such grace for Terri and her family. Thank you for the spirit of forgiveness that you spread throughout the hearts of the Amish people. May we all be filled with your forgiveness and peace when tragedy occurs. Please bless Terri’s doctors as she faces this diagnosis. Thank you for the medical treatment available within this country. Please provide continual healing to the Amish girls who survived the attack. Thank you for sparing their lives, and spreading your love through them.
In Jesus’ Name,
Would you be interested in reading this book?
I’d love to discuss your thoughts on healing, forgiveness, and the power of Christ’s love in comments!
“Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer.”