Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

When grace HURTS...and then?

In the Spring of 2006, we were vandalized.
Yes, again.

We were hit previously on Halloween of 2005.

 How bad?

Our 14 foot trampoline was cut around the rim with a box cutter.
The police said if one of the kids (3, 8, 12 and 15 at the time) had slipped their foot into the holes, they could have very easily lost that foot. The nylon weave is so taut that we didn't see the cuts. And because the sliced nylon was so sharp, well, you do the math.

Our white siding was spray painted.
Our roof was spray painted.
Even our wood pile was painted.

They came back 2 nights later.
Spray. Rinse. Repeat.

Our neighbours were spared.

Therefore, we knew, as did the police, that we were specifically targeted.

We weren't allowed to discuss it outside our home, because it was an ongoing case. Over time, we settled into our routine again and then...

April of 2006. Six months later. My husband was out of town. With both older boys. I was alone with a 3 year old and a stressed out 15 year old daughter. Poor girl. It affected her bigtime.
Then very late at night, I heard glass breaking. 

And I felt God say, very clearly, "Don't move a muscle."

The next morning, I found this.

And this.

That little black bag to the left of the van? That's the CSI guy's goody bag. 
That window shattered into THOUSANDS of tiny pieces. Our neighbours cleaned it up.

And this too.


Our world imploded into visits with the police, LONG discussions with detectives, neighbours, friends, pastors and finally the nice doctor in the ER who told me I was having "an externally triggered chemical imbalance".

I was having a meltdown. Annnnd I went on meds.

Between that weekend, and June, our lives were either normal or a whirlwind. Nothing in between.

Then one day, a crack in the case.
And another one.
And then? 
A confession!

We had alot of suspicions, and they proved true.

We chose to mediate with two different police forces and the families of the boys who did the crime.
But we learned, also, the lengths bullying can reach. 
The fear of two of the boys was visceral and quite frightening. Two sets of parents were grieving what their sons had done. One set basically blamed the other two, even though their son was one angry and volatile young man.
The police knew exactly who did what.

So we chose restitution and a contract with the police to stay out of trouble. One of the nice police officers told the boys if any of them as much as jay-walked, they'd be in deep trouble.



I had to CHOOSE to forgive those boys. I absolutely had to.

Anger is never sated. Its appetite knows no bounds. 

So over the summer, I'd see one of the boys working at the supermarket to pay off his debts. To us. I'd see the look in his eyes and change it with a "hello, how are you?"

I am not saying I changed this kid's life.
God's love for us both did that.
But I walked the road of forgiveness with that kid and sharing that experience with him was not easy, but God's grace took us one step further each day.

I received an email this morning that let me know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that grace is stronger than our trials, and God's memory is much longer than mine. 
I'd forgotten about that day.
But these words brought it all back, and finally, we're on the sunny side of the mountain.

This was from his father, to a mutual friend.

By the way, remember the trouble that we had with D---- a while back? He is now Captain L----- and is making his mark as quite a leader in the Military. He is a God fearing, passionate young man. It is a good thing that everyone worked together to resolve that problem, otherwise his career would have been screwed.

I know it is quite while back but thank you. I don’t know if the Major’s still go to the church, but it would be nice to let the Mrs. Major know that D---- is doing very well. This was a significant event in his life to help him turn the corner from where he was headed as a follower , to become a leader.

I am SO proud of that young man. And thankful to have been a part of his life.


  1. A-ma-zing grace.
    A-ma-zing story how you chose to live out grace rather than unforgiveness.

    1. Thank you Beth. It's been a long road. But it's nice to look back and see God's hand all along the way.

  2. Grace. I recently read a book where the young girl prayed in one word: "Grace" - when asked why, she responded that every praise and request in the world was wrapped up in that one word.

    Isn't it true? Grace, my friend.


    1. Oh wow. I love that! And it's SO true!!
      Thanks for the visit. ;)

  3. God's

  4. Oh, Jenn. What a horrible experience. I know God is so proud of you for choosing to forgive and overcome evil. What a testimony! It brought tears to my eyes to hear that God has changed the heart of one of those boys.

    I have also felt targeted. I haven't experienced anything close to what you have, but enough to know its hard to forgive. Especially when your precious son and husband are the ones suffering. I'm telling you, it brings out the grizzly bear in this Mama! But I have to forgive, I have to show God's love, for the chance that it may save a life.

    1. I KNOW how you are feeling. Grace is HARD. Forgiveness is HARD. But in the end, rising above what has been done is what Jesus did, right?

  5. How scary. It's one thing when we are targeted, it's another when it affects our kids. I'm so proud of you for honoring God with your actions. You're a light to the world.

    1. Thank you , Jill. You're very kind. And God is good. He's the only reason any of us came out of that experience better people.

  6. Oh my word, I can't imagine. And yet, how remarkable that you've played a part in this boy's growing up into who he is now. Amazing story, Jennifer!

    1. Thank you Heather.

      I'm thankful on so many levels.

  7. Wow! Best piece ever on your blog! Thanks for sharing and for writing it so well!

  8. This was a great story, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing with us!

  9. This choked me up--thank you for sharing with us, Jennifer.

  10. Okay, I know I'm late to this party, but Jennifer. Thank you. Your story brought tears to my eyes. And to see how God honored your willingness to forgive and gave you a glimpse of what He is doing in that young man's life. Grace lived out. Beautifully.

  11. I remember this time period I was helping with the girls' Sunday school. I can't imagine dealing with that kind of fear. Tears came to my eyes when I read how grace and forgiveness freed you, the victim AND the bully. Your decision to choose grace changed lives that continue to change the lives of others. Rebecca D

  12. That's the thing, right Bec? The trickle down effect. I'm just thankful God sees the big picture.
    Thanks for stopping by!!