Friday, November 6, 2015

Forgiven | Book Review

Cover ArtAfter 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.

This is an amazingly heart-wrenching story! While I heartily agree with the message of forgiveness, I realize not everyone would be able to read this book because of the difficulty of the situation. I did not find any details to be too descriptive, but (me not being a crier), I fought tears for most of the book.

"Forgiven" takes you not only to the journey of Mrs. Roberts after "The Happening," but she reflects back to life how it was. It goes back and forth between past and present events. In no way does she try to diminish the choice of her son but makes it very clear his choices were a result of his bitterness towards God. Wow.

It was amazing to read how the Amish and Roberts families reached out to each other and bonded together through the love of Christ. Though I do not agree with the doctrine of their churches, what stood out was Christ and His forgiveness--His enabling to forgive. I loved her reminiscence of visiting the Amish the year after "The Happening." No words can describe how awesome it was!

You cannot read the stories of these Amish children without being touched. As I linked the Amish girls' ages to those of my younger sisters, this story took on a deeper meaning for me. And! You just have to read the book to get acquainted with her and her family.

*I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Reviewers for my honest review*

"His losses were no greater than those countless human beings have experienced...But according to his letters, he'd allowed bitterness and hatred against God to build up inside him."

"'The journey begins with you making the choice to do that [forgive].' He wasn't suggesting that forgiveness is easy. It's still a process."

"Yes, I was a survivor. But I learned that day that it is not enough simply to survive the storms. It is in surrender that true peace and healing are found."

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