As published in The Christian Post:
Scores of beloved mothers throughout America cheerfully anticipate a very special day ahead. Most are excited about plans to gather with their children and reflect upon cherished memories and significant lessons gleaned along the twists and turns of typical parenting adventures. Some of these precious moms, however, will not be shedding tears of joy, but instead very painful ones upon being reminded of deep grief from the loss of their precious offspring. Whether those untimely deaths were from illness or other causes, these women can feel a seemingly inconsolable emptiness on “Mother’s Day.”
My heart will especially ache this second Sunday in May for those who have endured the unimaginable loss of children ripped away in senseless acts of gun violence. Some of these tragedies have occurred in educational institutions – like the Parkland, Florida high school – which intended to hold the promise of a bright and meaningful future. Others transpired in houses of worship, like the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Horrified mothers impacted by these bloodstained events will need special prayer and counsel to endure this historical date of celebration – which has now become their annual day of intense mourning. And even more difficult this day will be for moms in homes where fatalities were impetuously committed with a family owned firearm. For all of these hurting women, Tara Watkins Anderson offers this inspiring bereavement quote: “The strongest person in the world is a grieving mother that wakes up and keeps going every morning.”
Sadly, each day in America concludes with additional shooting victims – and more weeping mothers. The USA owns nearly half of all the world’s firearms – with the shameful status of #1 in gun fatalities among the wealthiest nations. At this writing, the Gun Violence Archive indicates that over a thousand children have already been shot in 2018. Johns Hopkins University researchers discovered that our teens are eighty times more likely to die from gunfire than in other developed countries. As a parent of five children, I myself am greatly concerned for the future of a society that promotes liberal gun ownership – as if the more firearms accessed, the fewer deaths would occur. On the contrary, multiple studies since the 1980s have revealed quite the opposite.