Skip to main content

Finding Sanctuary: How the Wild Work of Peace Restored the Heart of a Sandy Hook Mother


I did not want to read this book.

The review copy of Finding Sanctuary: How the Wild Work of Peace Restored the Heart of a Sandy Hook Mother by Jennifer Hubbard arrived in my mailbox and after a glance, I determined it would be too painful to read and set it aside. But something about the beautiful cover with its active, yet soothing, colors, the butterflies, and that “sanctuary” script kept drawing my eyes. Curiosity finally got the best of me, as I wondered, how? How does someone survive losing a child at Sandy Hook and go on to write a book about finding Peace? Too many people experience the loss of a child, through accidents, illness, suicide, drugs, and for Jennifer Hubbard, the unthinkable – a school shooting. What could she write that would help others understand and walk forward from that kind of pain?

So I started reading it, even though I was afraid of that first chapter – the one that holds our own worst nightmare. I’m not going to lie, that was an ugly cry moment. However, she shares that day without giving us more than we needed to be able to walk with her through the wild work towards peace. There was one particularly breathless moment in that first chapter, in a section titled “Living in the moment of It,” where I found myself right there in my own moment of “It.”  And just like that, we were connected in the story together. I knew what she meant, the before and after, because it really doesn’t matter what your “it” is; everyone has one.

After the first chapter, I settled in as she shares the experience of moving forward and lessons learned. She invites us to sit with her “…in the unexpected places where graces are afforded…” and there are chapters that felt like she is talking directly to me. Her journey did not happen overnight, but through everyday perseverance to choose another day, to be open to God in her pain, and to allow others to walk with her. In the end, she accepted that which she did not choose and found God’s peace. 

I didn’t read this book in one sitting, rather I took it one chapter at a time. Each chapter concludes with three questions. Don’t skip over them. Whether you’re reading this as part of a book club or alone, privately journaling, spend time pondering these questions.  

The real beauty of the book is her ability to capture those moments when God spoke to her or revealed the gift of His presence, leading her to peace. And some of her prayers are my prayers. Maybe they’re your prayers too. At times I found myself physically nodding my head in recognition: that moment of leaning on God, asking Him “Do you see me?” and then a catch of breath when she receives such a clear answer in such an unexpected way. Maybe each of us are more the same than we think. 

If you are still holding onto the pain of your “It” moment, longing to know God Sees You, and afraid of walking forward, I invite you to let Jennifer Hubbard’s experience of Finding Sanctuary inspire you to start walking and know that you are not alone. 

I’m so glad I read this book. 

“In lieu of flowers…”  

Please visit the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary for more information.

Receive New Blog Posts by Email

* indicates required

Connect on Social

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Popular posts from this blog

Don’t Leave Facebook for Lent – Take it Over!

  So many Christians leave Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels for their Lenten devotion or fast.  With the purpose of Lent being to rededicate our lives to God and grow in holiness, I understand why so many fast from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more for Lent.  Our social media feeds these days are full of darkness, sadness, and temptation.  They are far from the original purpose of the platforms to bring community together. Pope Benedict said in his message for World Communications Day 2013, “Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important.”  He continued. “Social networks… also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships.”  This is part of the reason why I dedicate my time to sharing the Good News online.  I believe in my call as a Christian to go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS – eve

Prayer to End the School Year

Another school year is coming to an end.  And what a year the 2017-2018 school year was..... The events of the last 9 months have made me not only thankful to see it end but needing to get on my knees to Thank God for many things.  This school year began with Hurricane Harvey hitting our area and ended with the devastating school shooting at nearby Santa Fe High School. In the middle of the crisis around us there were so many beautiful things, events and people that touched and changed our community and family for the better.  Let's just start with the teachers and administrators who have interacted with my kids this year...  A special social studies teacher that made a fast friend out of my geography obsessed daughter, an ELA teacher who slowly won my oldest daughter over with her love of the written word, a soccer trainer who pushed my son harder than he thought he could handle, and then helped him recognize how that hard work paid off.  What about a school nurse who repeated

12 Quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta

St. Teresa of Calcutta made a deep impression on me as a young girl as I watched her on tv and in news. Who doesn't remember the iconic picture of Mother Teresa with Princess Diana splashed across all magazines, newspapers and news shows?  To me, Saints were people who lived a long time ago, but here she was, a saint in the making.  Mother Teresa was a role model of how to become a Saint in our modern world, by giving her life to God through her dedication to the poor. On her feast day, I want to share with you a few of my favorite quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta.   Her words are seemingly simple and straightforward but packed with meaning.  My selection comes out of a new favorite book I picked up called, Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom by Carol Kelly-Gangi.  This little book contains hundreds of quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta centered around specific themes as well as a summary of her biography and quotes about her from others.  "God does not demand that