Forgiven by Terri Roberts
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Bethany House
Publishing Date: October 6, 2015
After a son does the unthinkable, how can a mother go on?
On October 2, 2006, a gunman entered an Amish one-room schoolhouse, shooting ten girls, killing five, then finally taking his own life. This is his mother's story. Not only did she lose her precious son through suicide, but she also lost her understanding of him as an honorable man. It was a trauma that none should ever have to face.
But the biggest headlines came when her Amish neighbors did the unimaginable, reaching out to the family of the shooter with comfort and forgiveness. Today Terri lives in harmony with the Amish and has built lasting relationships beyond what anyone could have thought possible. From the grace that the Amish showed Terri's family from day one, to the visits and ongoing care Terri has given to the victims and their families, no one could have foreseen the love and friendship that have been forged from the fires of tragedy.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy today!
My Thoughts:That first line of the summary hooked me immediately: "After a son does the unthinkable, how can a mother go on?" As a mother myself now (of almost two!!), I had to know how a mother couldn't know how her son could be capable executing several girls. I also wanted to know more about the story itself. I remember seeing headlines but in October 2006 I was a freshman in college trying to find my footing.
Being forgiven by the Amish is supposed to be a big piece of this novel, but it is not what stuck with me as I turned the last page. Instead two other things have stuck with me: 1. We never really find the answers. I was fully expecting 'Forgiven' to be an emotional novel, but we don't dive into Terri's emotions as much as we do her memories. She takes the reader back through the years, honestly searching for the "Big Thing" that made her son go off the rails. We hit a few big things, death of pets, death of his firstborn baby, and how Charles stuffed all his emotions away. But we never really find 'it'.
And that is what has stuck with me: it could be anyone. A person doesn't have to have a huge traumatic incident in their life or a psychological disorder, it could just be a normal person hitting their limit, letting it stew, and blowing up. It could be anyone, anytime. That thought doesn't make me scared so much as it makes me want to love my family, friends, and neighbors a little bit more fierce than ever before. Don't expect to find answers in this book, just like we don't always get answers in real life. All we can do is rely on God and His Love and Strength.
2. Give thanks in all things. This point is less involved than the first, but perhaps more significant. The Bible exhorts us to give thanks in all things (1 Thess 5:18) and every now and then I remember to shoot up a prayer thanking God for my many blessings. But Paul says "in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you..." This means in the good AND the bad. Terri Roberts clung to this verse in the aftermath of her son's devastation. If she can find ways to thank God after her son shot ten Amish girls, than surely I can find a way to be thankful in my valleys. Surely I can find something, anything of which to be thankful for in my blessed little bubble.
Terri's strength and determination are like a beacon shining in the dark. Her story is heart wrenching, but her ability to continue on and trust the Lord are absolutely beautiful. Sometimes the world just falls apart for no apparent reason, but God can bring beauty from pain. Terri's story is the definition of this. 4 stars and I can recommend it to anyone looking for a story of strength, bewilderment, forgiveness, and God.