Author, One Light Still Shines, (2013)
Husband, Dan of 6 years
Three children ages 14, 12 and 8
Two stepchildren ages 21 and 14
Amish School Shooter's Widow Finds Peace in God
The 700 Club
CBN.com - UNSPEAKABLE HORROR
On October 2, 2006, Charlie Roberts entered an Amish school house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He ordered out all the boys and teacher then shot 10 girls, execution-style. Charlie then turned the gun on himself. Five of those girls died. The shooting shocked the nation and rocked Marie’s world. “I did not know there were dark secrets inside my husband,” says Marie. “Nor did I know there were clues to watch for.” Marie says Charlie called her on that fateful day. His voice didn’t sound normal over the phone. Charlie told her that he wasn’t coming home. Marie, unable to comprehend what he was saying, concluded that he had been in and out of depression over the years and was planning on taking his own life. “I had no idea it would involve
After Marie pleaded desperately with Charlie to work out whatever he was going through, Charlie told her he left a note explaining his actions then hung up the phone. Marie read the note and called 911. After hanging up, she heard sirens and saw police cars. “I knew it had something to do with Charlie,” she says.
In one gesture of love, some of the Amish community extended grace to Marie and her family hours after the shooting. “I was at my parents and saw a group of Amish people walking down the street,” she says. They put their arms around her dad and told him they came because they were concerned for Marie’s family. They said they forgave Charlie and were extending compassion over her family. “That opened doors and allowed me to be free from the weight,” says Marie. “And released me into healing.”
Marie says that horrible day was not the day her life ended. Marie grew up in a Christian home and turned to the Lord after the shooting. “I know God was very present for me even in those first moments,” she says. “I felt an infusion of hope.” Marie says that she had to trust the Lord and had to lay down many unanswerable questions. “I didn’t know how God would rescue us, but I knew that He would. It was like everything I believed in fused itself. Somehow, He would bring beauty out of the ashes.”
OUT OF THE ASHES
Marie wrestled with many things. How could she not have seen this coming? Why could she not have prevented this tragedy? She had to continually lay down her questions over the years. Marie began sharing her story at women’s groups and church events. Many people asked her to write a book but Marie never felt it was the time. Then one day near the 5 year anniversary, Marie found her voice. She felt the time had come to share what she learned. “Pain is universal,” says Marie. “We all have the same feelings inside. How do we find hope? This was a message I had to share that I couldn’t keep to myself.”
Marie and Charlie had been married for nearly 10 years at the time of the shooting. When they were first married, Marie miscarried their first child, a girl, at 26 weeks. “He never got over losing our daughter,” says Marie. The letter Charlie left said he was angry at God. “I simply cannot fathom the darkness that invaded Charlie’s head or heart,” says Marie.
Eight months after the shooting in July 2007, Marie married Dan, an insurance agent she had known previously. “It’s the beauty of God to have done this so quickly,” says Marie. “If this wasn’t my life story, I could never have expected that it would be this beautiful.” Marie reminds us that when we face tragedy and brokenness, something is released inside of us that’s beautiful that wouldn’t be released otherwise. “He can bring such startling beauty in the wake
Marie continues to have a relationship with the families of the Amish girls.
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