Tag Archives: Marie Monville

When Grace Rescues You From Judgement (Amazing Book: One Light Still Shines – My Life Beyond the Shadow of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting by Marie Monville with Cindy Lambert)

“One should not judge a book by its’ cover.”

Well, I do.  Show me an eye-catching photo, design, or a hook-line-and-sinker phrase on a book’s cover, and I’m sold.


By the same token, we are not to judge others.

Well, I do.  I keep trying not to, but the very next pitiful-poor-person who crosses my path is usually categorized within three to five seconds  

Each and every time (nearly), I beg the Lord for forgiveness, and then whip around and “categorize” again.  (Categorize being a very functional word for the dysfunctional act of judging.)

The tirade in my brain ensues:

“Probably homeless.”

“Probably too tired to fool with make-up today.”

“Oooh!  Very, very full of himself.”

“The worst!  Bad botox.”

“Must be color blind.”

“It ain’t the 70’s anymore, pal.”

“Women drivers!”

Now that you’re certain I’m on a highway headed South, and I don’t mean Florida, please indulge me in a few more minutes of confession.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran up to a neighborhood drugstore.  Wanting to print some pictures, I snagged a chair, plugged in my pic-stick-thingy and began editing and ordering.

Out of the corner of my eye, a tall, young man began walking by me.  Not once, but several trips later, I became nervous and secured my purse with me up off the floor, into my lap.


To add to my anxiety, my order went haywire.  Deciding to take the stick back home and ask hubby for help, I removed it, put it in my purse, draped my purse over my head, over my shoulder, secured it with a bungee cord (kidding) and headed for the front door.

The very same young man, who I’ll call “Circling Buzzard”, was now near the front door.  Oh, wait!  This gets better!  He was now at the counter.  Well, not exactly at the counter.  He was behind the counter.  Yes, folks, crawling with humility I tell you, this young man was working behind the counter.




My “Circling Buzzard” is employed by this drugstore???  And yes, every time since then,  when I’ve returned, he’s been there working.  He’s the nicest young man, always ready to help.  Having misjudged him, I am in-the-slammer-convicted, one hundred percent.  (I believe the Lord orchestrates this man’s schedule around mine as a grace-filled reminder.)

We’re  taught by God, in His Word, not to judge.  Over and over and over.  Here are three of two hundred and eight times we see the word “judge”:

Luke 6:37 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. ..”

Romans 2:1 says, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

Matthew 7:2 says, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

I recently grabbed a book, yes, because of it’s cover, which includes the most amazing stories of grace, forgiveness, and overcoming judgment I’ve ever read.  Ever.

Let’s chat about One Light Still Shines: My Life Beyond the Shadow of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting by Marie Monville with Cindy Lambert.


I had only a smidge of a recollection about the Amish Schoolhouse Shootings.  All I remembered was the country being in awe of the Amish families who so willingly forgave the shooter and his family after the loss of their little girls.  Any time God gets the glory, nationwide, people pay attention.  (I was stunned to discover it happened over seven years ago, on October 2, 2006.)

I was aghast at the details:  The shooter, Charlie Roberts, walked into the Amish Schoolhouse.  He let the teachers and the male students go.  He tied up the remaining ten girls, ages seven to twelve, shooting each one.  Then he shot himself.  Five of the girls died, while the remaining five were seriously injured.

Out of honor for these families, let’s read their names and offer up a prayer on their behalf:  Naomi Rose Ebersol, age seven, Marian Stoltzfus Fisher, age thirteen, Anna Mae Stoltzfus, age twelve, Lena Zook Miller, age eight, and Mary Liz Miller, age seven.

I do not recall all the slanderous press and excessive attention “the Shooter’s Wife”, Marie received.  (How would you like that label?)  She had mountains of judgment against her from people all over the world. The media worked hard to hunt her down.


The happy flipside of that were the mountains of support, emails, prayers, and gifts showered upon Marie and her family.  She recounts encounter after encounter that’ll take your breath away.

Marie and Charlie had three children:  Carson – eighteen months, Bryce – five years old and Abigail – seven years old.  They lost their firstborn daughter, Elise, only twenty minutes after she was born.  Apparently, unbeknownst to everyone, Charlie never got over her death.

So why would Marie be bold enough to share this story?  How had her faith survived?  How had she stayed sane, and been able to trust enough to remarry?  How had she changed?

She answers, “The secret is this:  No matter how tragic your circumstances, your life is not a tragedy.  It is a love story.  And in your love story, when you think all the lights have gone out, one light still shines.”

There are two parts in the book I had to re-read to make sure I’d comprehended them correctly.  They are so astonishing, so only-God-could-pull-this-off, so full of amazing grace, I still can’t believe them.

While you’re still stunned over the shooting, thru’ Marie’s eyes, something potentially frightening transpires.  She looks out the window of her parents’ home and suddenly sees a troupe of Amish men walking down the street, then into their yard.  Holding her breath, (I realized I was holding mine!), for fear of their reaction, she hollers to her Father.  He goes out to meet them.

Upon their coming face-to-face, one of the Amish men embraces her Father.  He melts into their arms.  And one, by one, the rest of the men hug him individually.  They told her Dad they had forgiven Charlie.  Marie said, “They poured grace unimaginable and divine mercy generously into our lives.  Before my eyes, the gospel was being powerfully lived out.”

Grace.  Amazing Grace.  God’s  grace.



The other part that grabbed me and still won’t let me go was at Marie’s husband’s funeral.  Thanks to the police who’d done a great job keeping the media away, Marie and her family had been somewhat insulated.  That is, until the day of the funeral arrived.

When the cars carrying Marie and her family arrived, the media was in full force.  Anxiety building, Marie wondered what to do, how to protect her children, etc.  As she was scrambling for ideas, out of the corner of her eye, near the building, she saw some movement.  Within seconds, countless Amish people flowed effortlessly from around the building, lining up, forming a wall of protection so that Marie and her family could exit the car without being visible.

Marie calls this her wall of grace.  Isn’t that the most beautiful picture?  Families who had lost their little girls, surrounding the family whose father was the one who shot them, along with their friends, supported, forgave, and protected Marie and her family.

Grace.  Amazing Grace.  God’s  grace.

As God would orchestrate, while in my car today, I heard a song, I Am, by David Crowder.  The lyrics speak to those of us such as Marie who have gone thru’ storms of any size: “There’s no space that His love can’t reach.  There’s no place that we can’t find peace.  There’s no end to Amazing Grace…I Am, holding on to you…in the middle of the storm, I am Holding on…!”  Watch and listen to soak in the rest of the lyrics:

Thankfully, by God’s grace, He built on the already strong faith Marie had.  She clung to it as her very lifeline. She’s rooted like a redwood, rooted with her faith like we’re talking about for 2014.  Brutally honest, yet with open hands to God,  she received the filling-to-overflowing strength needed to get thru’ each day.  She cites Scripture after Scripture that sustained her.  What an example to us all.

When speaking of the Amish, my favorite quote of Marie’s is:  “Their love was abundant; it was selfless; it was extraordinary.  It was as if a host of angels was gathered there, pouring out rivers of grace from heavenly vessels.  My heart was showered, washed clean of Satan’s clinging stench, then doused with holy oil.”


Don’t miss the “rest of the story” in Marie’s book.  The theme of redemption runs throughout.  Like me, you’ll still be shaking your head.  God is good.  All the time.

To find out more about Marie, visit her website:  www.mariemonville.com

To watch Marie’s testimony, watch the below YouTube.

‘Til next time!






Filed under Book Reviews, Life Lessons

Happy New Year! Fun-n-Grace-n-Rooted for 2014…

What’s your favorite memory from 2013?  We have been blessed with several, but one particular evening brings a boatload of laughter for us.

My way-more-patient-than-I-deserve-husband recently had a thirty-fifth high school reunion.  For you Louisvillians, John went to Ballard High School.  For me, growing up in Lexington, and going to Henry Clay High School in the ’70’s (!!!), we were “taught” to rival Ballard akin to how The University of Kentucky rivals the University of Louisville.  (GO CATS—couldn’t resist…)


Anywho, because John goes to events with me I know he doesn’t really want to attend, I figured I’d best be a good sport and go to this reunion where I’d know basically no one.  To my surprise, I knew a couple of people and greeted them like long lost friends.

To my astonishment and high level of amusement, I realized that every single person I met and talked with had trouble hearing.  Granted the room had lousy acoustics, but this “problem” became comical.  We fifty-somethings were going to need to add “hearing aids” to our Christmas lists!!!  Guessing no one was brave enough to do so.

The most recent Costco catalog arrived yesterday and I said to John, “Oh, looky!  They have hearing aids on sale!!!”   File thirteen it went…


Moving right along….another fun memory from 2013 includes reading some mountain-moving books. Books that made an impact on me, and, I pray will on you as well.  I plan on sharing some tidbits of these with you over the next few weeks.  We’ll have fun in 2014, soaking in some incredible grace, while learning how to be more grounded, or my new favorite word from our walk today, “rooted” in our faith.


Here’s a preview of coming attractions we’ll discuss:

 329480_w185The Power of a Whisper—Hearing God—Having the Guts to Respond
by Bill Hybels


One Light Still Shines—My Life Beyond The Amish Schoolhouse Shooting
by Marie Monville with Cindy Lambert


To Heaven and Back—A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels and Life Again
by Mary C. Neal, M.D.


Balcony People
by Joyce Landorf Heatherley


Prayers and Promises for Worried Parents—Hope for Your Prodigal—Help for You
by Robert J. Morgan

In addition to talking about books, we’ll have some interviews of friends and authors who are well-rooted in their faith.  We’ll also talk about interesting road trips and travels, sprinkling in some chocolate treats from time to time.  One always needs incentives to keep one going, doesn’t one???!!!

Finally, for a new thought for the New Year, let’s hear from Billy Graham and Craig Groeschel.  In a daily flip calendar by Billy Graham, Unto the Hills, he tells us, “How many times in your life have you wished you could start all over again with a clean slate, with a new life?  Resolve to allow God to wipe your slate clean by confessing your sins and letting Him give you a brand new start.”

Billy adds a beautiful verse from Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”


Craig Groeschel puts it in layman’s terms:  “For many, it is difficult to accept that the past has passed.  Sometimes, it’s so hard to just leave it there, where it belongs.”

 Oh, we’d best repeat that:  “The past has passed.”  We must “leave it there, where it belongs.”

So, let’s vow to start out this year anew.  Don’t worry about resolutions. (I’m busted already and it’s January the second.) Let’s do strive to grow our faith, to develop strong roots together.  We’ll have fun-n-grace, and will be rooted like redwoods.

JAN MistyShoreLCHBlogPromo

My dear friend Liz Curtis Higgs will be blogging about “50 Favorite Proverbs” this year.  (Click here to go to her blog as she’ll be asking you to send in your favorite proverb.)  I’d like to cast my vote early and show you one of several verses we’ll be marinating in re: rooted.  Look at Proverbs 12:3 from The Message:  “You can’t find firm footing in a swamp, but life rooted in God stands firm.”

‘Til next time!




Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Friends