Headlines often trigger emotion.  That’s what they are designed to do, after all.  The messages that claim to “spark outrage” or  promise “shocking new details” on the latest scandal will sometimes catch my attention enough to read an article, or watch a news clip.  But there’s one kind of headline that bypasses my head and freezes my heart.  A recent example illustrates:  Glee star Mark Salling Bought Cigarettes Hours Before Suicide.

As I catch my breath and fight back tears, I wonder, “What was so wrong in this man’s life that he couldn’t see light enough to make it right?”  “Where is his family now; his mother, . . what is she thinking?”  “Who loves him?” and “Didn’t anybody see this coming?”  “Oh Lord, what brings people to this despair?”  I read the article to find out.

Mark Salling was arrested in 2015 of possession of tens of thousands of photos of child pornography on his computer.  He pled guilty in December, was awaiting sentencing.  He was thought to be facing 4-7 years in prison.  The author reported that Mark Salling walked into a convenience store, bought cigarettes and went out to a tree by a river and hanged himself.

The details answered a few questions, but now a whole new train of thought raced through my head.  “What of the victims, the children in the pictures, their families, did they know of the violation of their children?”  “What of Mark Salling’s family?  How are they bearing up under this?”

And the ultimate questions

“Lord where are you at work in this tragedy and how can your people cooperate with you?  Send your men and women to the center of the needs of all the people involved.  Help us to love as you love. . . to love the victim, to love the one who victimizes, to love the people who love them.  Oh, Lord, bring hope out of despair, bring peace out of turmoil.  You, who are the God of all comfort, please comfort the families, the children, the caregivers.”

Then I remember that we are His people.  We are part of the antidote to the tragedy of this world.  We are the ones called to humble ourselves and pray and He will heal our land.  (2Chronicles 7:14)

At Where Grace Abounds, our work with people often includes listening to tragic stories.  We offer resources and prayers, and offer our presence to those who need to know there is hope.  That there is a way through, light ahead, reason for living, restoration for broken hearts.

When the headlines reach out and grab me; when I am momentarily paralyzed by the reporting of the gruesome cost of sexual sin, I remember that the Lord has called up a few to come alongside people who need to know He is real and ready to help.  It is such a privilege to be one of that company of committed folks that make up the staff of WGA.  We need your prayers as we do our best to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these hurting people.

Mary Heathman

Mary Heathman

Founding Director

Mary is one of the founders of Where Grace Abounds and served as Executive Director from its inception on July, 1986 through March 31st, 2007.  She speaks and teaches at churches and conferences across the country. She has also served on several boards of non-profit organizations, is a conference speaker on a variety of topics that include: Intimacy with God, Healthy Sexuality, and leadership development.  Currently serving in leadership in her denomination, Mary’s favorite ministry roles are discipleship counseling, group facilitation, and leadership development.

Mary often characterizes herself as “a seeker of Truth” and has a long-standing fascination with human behavior and motivation.  Her education consists of lay and discipleship counseling, independent study about the integration of psychology and theology, counseling and human sexuality. She also holds a BS in Human Services and an MA in Psychology from Regis University.

Mary attends a Friends (Quaker) Church.

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