870 children waited in fear as their elementary school rushed into lockdown mode. As the nation faced yet another Sandy Hook story of tragedy, one woman rewrote the ending.
Yet the story doesn’t start with those first steps Michael Hill took into that Atlanta elementary school. It starts with Antoinette Tuff, a woman who faced her own pain, hurt, and rejection, yet held onto grace, faith, and hope. A hope that anchored her in the most high-stakes moments, a grace that allowed her to empathize with a hurting young man, and a faith that gave her the courage to love him back from the brink.
This is more than just the amazing account of tragedy averted. It’s the evidence of what we can do when we allow ourselves to be used by God. And it’s a story of how God uses all of our life experiences—the good and the bad—to prepare us for our own moment of divine purpose.
Antoinette Tuff did what many of us couldn’t. She faced a man who was threatening the lives of hundreds of students and teachers with courage, poise, and calmness. I know when I’m faced with tense and confrontational situations, my heart starts to race, thoughts sometimes turn cloudy, and my hands start to shake. While I’ve never encountered situations with people wherein I felt physically in danger, I can only imagine what it would feel like to be in the position that Antoinette was in.
But Antoinette didn’t do it on her own power. As she states, “…they weren’t my words. It was God speaking through me.” God was with her every step of the way, leading her, giving her the words to say, and telling her what to do. Antoinette further illustrates that not only was God with her at that moment, but he was with her previously in her life, using her own circumstances – good and bad – to prepare her for this very moment. She knew how to communicate with kids as she worked in a school and was a parent; she knew how to deal with difficult personalities and emotions through various people that filtered in and out of her life; and, she also had plenty of experience in soldiering through difficult, heart-rending circumstances, as she encountered many throughout her life. I loved how she pointed out the key to it all - to trust God. Antoinette started each day with her Bible and talking to Jesus. When you set your day in a firm foundation, God will give you the strength to take whatever life throws at you.
An inspiring memoir, Prepared for a Purpose, is a story I will not easily forget.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.