This week has been full of horror in Orlando and unspeakable tragedy that hit too close to home for me. There has been too much sadness, heartbreak, and devastating loss central to one location, ironically located in the Sunshine State and referred to as ‘The City Beautiful.’ Orlando is a beautiful city full of sunshine, but there wasn’t much sun shining there this past week; instead a black cloud that has left too many hearts broken, needing mercy and healing. We need to take a lesson from the happiest place on earth, and are in desperate need of more Cinderella and less Scar from the Lion King. We are lifting you up in prayer, Orlando.
From learning a crazed fan shot The Voice star Christina Grimmie in cold blood, that a terrorist took the lives of 49 at a nightclub in the deadliest terror attack since 9/11, to the death of a toddler snatched by a gator at a prestigious resort, left us all sitting here with chills, shaking our head’s in pure sorrow and shock. Both, hitting too close to home for this mommy and daddy, who visited the same resort and locations, within days of all of these evil and horrid events to celebrate our son’s 5th birthday. This blog post was ‘supposed to be’ different. I had planned to do a happy recap of the time we spent at the most magical place on earth, yet, my heart has been so heavy this week. A terrible man that has a child my age, who came to Disney and Disney Springs doing reconnaissance the same time as me and my family were there. I’ve wondered, did one of us perhaps brush his shoulder in passing, did we eat at the same restaurant, did I smile at that awful man? I smile at everyone, so it’s very possible. If I did, I take that smile back and would do something quite the opposite, if I knew then, what I know now. Jesus certainly showed us a sign the first night we arrived with this rainbow, after it poured, while we ate at Disney Springs. Thanks to Disney, we were safe and he chose to go somewhere else.As a new family arrived, mine was departing, the beautiful cathedral like hotel, filled with charm and gorgeous scenery, to embark on a fun-filled family vacation. We’ve stayed at the Grand Floridian multiple times and that’s why we choose it again and again: the architecture, landscape, multiple pool’s, cabana’s, water slide, the magic within the resort, and the ability to watch movies and fireworks from the lagoon…that lagoon that haunts me now. I laid right there on the beach, relaxing, having no clue that within less than 20 feet alligators lurking behind me in their natural habitat. I was also with my four-year-old son, Knox, sitting on the bay right next to the lake in the grass in front of our room watching fireworks, several nights in a row. It’s such a frightening thought, to think that at night, when gators feed the most, not even knowing about the potential risk, we sat right there in front of them handing ourselves over like easy prey. They were watching the fireworks with us and no one told us otherwise. No danger signs letting us know that the lake was filled with gators that were portents of death and that the following week would grab a hold of a baby boy just like mine. There is nothing that mother and father did that was wrong and they are certainly not at fault. It could have been Fred and I going home without Knox and that thought is terrifying. Knowing now, that five gators would be killed the following week, and that they could have possibly lurked their way onto the shore right where we were lounging out on blankets, admiring the fireworks and boat show makes my anxiety that I already have sky rocket. It could have easily been our family that had our trip end in a horrific tragedy, opposed to the blessed hallelujah that I am now sending up to Heaven, while I raise their’s up in holy prayer. And with great confidence, I know that this Resort will go to great measures to make it safe for everyone and comfortable enough for my family to return again.This world is twisted, filled with hatred, and unimaginable tragic accidents that occur. Things happen every day that we can’t explain, things that leave us scratching our heads, asking why and thus, questioning God’s presence and will for our live’s. The fact is, that God is all we have during these times. It’s understandable to want answers to so many unanswered questions, but He is the same as He has ever been and will give us those answers soon enough. In the interim, our faith is all we have and in times like this I cling tight to the presence of my Savior and live in the light that shines bright.I have friends who have lost their precious babies by another animal called Pediatric Cancer. It may not be a psychotic fan, a terrorist, or an alligator, but at the end of the day, it’s all unfair and proves this life is temporary and uncertain. I don’t know the pain accompanied with horrific loss, and I pray I never do. What I do know is that all of these animals need to be contained and eradicated. Until they are, we are forced to live on this earth searching for the only presence that can make us understand the why. His name is Jesus.
His love for us is infinite and when tragedy strikes turning to Him for strength, grace, and guidance is our
best only bet. As much as it pains me to put the word terrorist and murderer in the same sentence, with an innocent two-year-old boy and his church going family, the fact of the matter is that we must pray for them all, as hard as that may be. Pray for the one’s that killed and murdered, all of the victim’s, and their grieving families.
A talented singer’s brother bravely fought off a shooter to try and save her and in doing so, saved so many of her fans, but parent’s lost their 22-year-old daughter entirely too soon. Thousands are mourning the death of their friends, family member’s and loved one’s, due to something so unjustified, as social or political injustice. A mommy, daddy and sister, lost their precious two-year-old, Lane, and their family will never be the same.
As we all gather our hearts, minds, spirits and confidence, after these horrendous events in Orlando, I pray that we can continue to rise above our circumstances, our situations, and the negativity that fills our spirit’s and heart’s with hate. That we will be brought to our knees to pray for forgiveness, love, mercy, fear, and change, and that we will all be able to walk by faith, together, in this broken world. #OrlandoStrong