To The Man Who Held My Family At Gunpoint.

I believe in face-to-face confrontation. I’ve never been a fan of the open letter concept. However, I’ve been processing some feelings about a recent incident. When I have the chance for confrontation I will take it. If I could speak to him today, this is what I would say to the man who terrified my family.


To The Man Who Held My Family At Gunpoint,

The day you came to the door, my kids were spending the afternoon with their Grandma. As I left that day something prompted my 7 year old son to ask about the Holy Spirit. “Is the Holy Spirit here?” he asked. “Of course,” I said confidently. “God has a plan for your life and He’s with you all the time.”

The truth is, I have a hard time leaving my sons. I rarely let them out of my sight. They had a rough start to life. They each spent three years in the foster care system before we finalized their adoptions. They witnessed domestic violence and experienced neglect. They faced an uncertainty that no child can comprehend, especially one so little. It’s taken a lot of care, patience and guidance to bring them to a place where they feel confident and secure.

They had a rough start but they have one huge advantage, Family. They have a birth family, adoptive family and friends who are like family. We are a praying family. We are a family of faith. We believe that our sons were made for a purpose and that their rough start in life is just a tiny blip in the storyline of their life. They are stronger for their experience with adversity.

They were in a good place the day you came to the door. They were happy, safe and filled with creative curiosity. They had begun to trust the world around them, then you lied. You said you were looking for your lost dog. You pushed your way into their safe place. You threatened their grandmother and pointed a gun at her. We’ve spent the last 7 years teaching our children to take their power back but in this moment they were powerless to stop you.

Their grandmother bravely stood up to you. She asked you firmly not to shoot her in front of the babies. She looked you in they eye, not pleading, not begging, simply asking. What changed then? I don’t know. You turned around and walked away.

I’m pretty angry with you today. My kids haven’t slept in a week. They are angry too. They aren’t really angry with you, they are just angry. Their cereal is soggy, their lunch box didn’t keep their sandwich cold. They hate homework. Their sister looked at them funny. The dog licked their shoes. The bus came one minute late. They are angry with you but they can’t even wrap their little minds around it.

I’ve been thinking a lot of bad things about you. I have had hateful plans for you in my heart. Things I cannot even speak out loud for fear of my own darkness. I have questions for you. Why? Why would you do that to the people I love? Why would you scare someone like that? What is wrong with you? I want to scream in your face. They are questions that don’t really need answers though. Your answers wont change a thing.

You were arrested shortly after you threatened my family. Good. I’m mad at you. I hope you’re scared now too.

I just learned something though. You aren’t even a man yet. You’re a child! A 16 year old boy. A kid. I have a 15 year old myself. She’s still my precious little girl and now my head is spinning. My heart is changing. Are you someone’s precious child too?

My children were knit together, created by a God who has not let go of them yet. This frightening day will not define them. They will rise above this because that’s what people of faith do. They will continue to walk in the assuredness that God intends for them to live another day. But what about you? You were made for a greater purpose as well. You have gifts and talents which are uniquely yours.

Will you let this one cowardly act define you? There is time to decide. Will you be just some screw up who bullies little children and their grandmothers or will you lay this aside and become a man?

I truly hope it is the latter.

Kristin Berry

Question: Have you, or your family, walked through a traumatic situation? What was the outcome? Share your story with us in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • MaMeex5

    Oh my I am sorry to read this. I can only imagine the fear they experienced as well as you when you heard about it. I am so glad he had a change of heart and everyone is safe. You all will be in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Melissa Kugler

    Wow…..I am in awe. You never let on that anything had happened…you stopped to listen to every parent that needed encouragement including me. How do you do that? You don’t let life wreck you for a time. I am in awe of God’s power in your life…thank you for sharing. I am praying for God’s redeeming power with your children. We didn’t have a gun pointed at us…..the weapon of choice was the internet. One of my children (not the one I would naturally assume) stumbled across porn. A natural curiosity gone bad because I didn’t protect our Internet access. Now…….I need counseling because of all my past that reared it’s ugly head and so does my child. They have been acting out, wearing shame and guilt….none of which is of God. Thank you for sharing your story thus opening up the door for others to connect.

    • Kristin Berry

      Oh Melissa, Thank you for the encouragement. The internet can be such a scary, dangerous place for our kids. You aren’t alone there. Having a child’s innocence taken away like that is infuriating. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Thank you for taking the time to encourage our family and share a little of your story too.

    • Melissa, thanks for your kind words. We are honored to have gotten to meet you and know you.

  • Allisonm

    I’m so sorry this happened. Your children’s grandmother is a pillar of strength. I was the victim of a violent crime more than twenty years ago and I remember God guiding my words and actions so that I didn’t end up dead in a field. Your children didn’t need any more trauma, but they are so blessed to have parents who understand how it is affecting them and can help them heal and develop an even deeper faith in God. How blessed you all are that the perpetrator has been apprehended so that your children and grandmother can feel safe at least from him. It took several weeks to arrest the person who assaulted me and the feeling that he might come back was terrifying. I felt safer still after he went to prison, but the ability to walk alone on city streets in daylight came back much more slowly. Trauma is so much better understood now. I hope your family heals at the pace God knows is best for each of you.

  • elke etcheberry

    I am so glad your family is physically safe and nothing horrible happened to them. You were such a blessing at Refresh to me and I was so glad you were there…. We on the other hand a year ago this month were woken up to a phone call at 228 am about my older son, his wife, his roommate, my niece and her friends son were shot and 2 killed one seriously injured. My family is still trying to feel safe and just are now opening curtains, not locking every window and door. The nightmares are less frequent, and the little ones are feeling safe and secure again. Next month the trial starts and so we are all a little nervous…. We will pray for your family just know that God has played a large role in healing my older son who was severely traumatized by this event and the rest of the family is doing much better as well. Its hard to remember that the people who do these things were probably traumatized and neglected when they were younger and this is the result because there had been no positive intervention from a friend, foster family, family… God is trying to work in them even though it looks hopeless.

    • Oh man, our hearts break for you. I can’t imagine that pain. Prayers for you.

  • Toby

    OH BOY Mike! I feel your pain, your anger…I mean…I FEEL IT TOO!! What a way to write to this young boy…you were right, he is a boy. I can only pray for this letter to reach him, wherever he may be right now. We will try to remember to pray (just being honest) for your family to come out of this situation stronger, more resolute, with a shining example of God’s great Mercy and hedge of protection around your family. I know why he walked away…to me, it was the Holy Spirit…without a doubt, invading this boy’s mind and heart. I am sure this boy was so blown away by this invasion of the Holy Spirit, that he didn’t even know what to say, how to say it or anything else. He simply walked away. Wow. Tough, but amazing at the same time. I applaud your willingness to share. Blessings, Toby