Leaves me speechless: "Forgiven" by Terri Roberts with Jeanette Windle

Cover Art

about the book....

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.

my review....

I would definitely recommend reading this book with a box of tissues nearby, because there are many moments that will leave you battling tears. The story of the shooting that occurs in the Amish one-room schoolhouse is one that will break your heart, a trauma that any parent hates to even imagine occurring. And yet the real story is the forgiveness that comes in the face of that shooting, a story that seems unbelievable, especially for those who don't hold to the ways of Christ.

"Forgiven" is definitely different than anything else I've ever read, as the book is written from the perspective of the mother to the gunman. The ways that the Amish neighbours reach out to Terri and her family in forgiveness and love is simply other-worldly, something that could never happen apart from God's provision. I found myself considering what it would be like to be Terri and have a child do such a horrific action. I also found myself wondering if I could respond as the parents of the deceased Amish children do, making the choice to forgive even in the face of their pain and their anger and their questioning. The story of Terri and her Amish neighbours and friends flies in the face of everything our culture preaches about our rights and about doing what feels right for ourselves, even if it means taking revenge and holding onto bitterness. Instead, the Amish show that forgiveness is a choice that really benefits you as the one who needs to forgive, so that you no longer have to hold onto hatred and bitterness and let it eat away at your soul. The book itself is very well-written, and Roberts and Windle make a fine writing team, as the story was very difficult to put down. And that's not something I often say about non-fiction books!

Forgiven is such a powerful book that I can't even really rate it. Quite simply, this a book that you must read. The story may just change your life.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

 about the author....

Terri Roberts

Terri Roberts travels the United States and the world speaking about the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting, forgiveness, and hope. She has been interviewed by CBS News, the Associated Press, and Reuters. Terri is a mother of four sons and a grandmother of eleven, including two step-grandchildren. She and her husband, Chuck, live just south of Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Learn more at JoyThroughAdversity.com.

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