When dealing with a tragedy, we can’t help but ask God why. Why would He put us through this pain? We must remember that God has a plan for everyone’s life that we may not understand in these times of struggle. The Yates and Calderon family of Illinois are leaning on their faith after the tragic loss of Melanie Yates.

Melanie was a vibrant young mother who was passionate about her faith and Jesus Christ. Her family says that she loved Jesus with every fiber of her being. She was also a registered nurse. Tragically, a stray bullet would cut Melanie’s life short, leaving her family reeling with pain.

On October 18, 2021, Melanie was doing what every parent does: putting her 7-month-old daughter to bed. According to Melanie’s father, Shawn Calderon, she was reading Bibles stories and praying with her daughter. In the other room, her husband Daniel was putting their other daughter to bed.

Suddenly, Daniel heard what he thought were fireworks. When he called out to Melanie to see if she heard the same and didn’t respond, Daniel went to find her. When Daniel walked into the room, he found the unimaginable. Melanie was shot in the head by a stray bullet.

While the paramedics rushed Melanie to the hospital, Daniel took his daughter to Melanie’s parent’s house. Naturally, when Daniel told Melanie’s parents what happened, they were shocked. Melanie’s mother, Lam Calderon, says that she didn’t believe him at first. Paramedics got Melanie to the hospital in extremely critical condition. Sadly, she died the following day from her injuries. Police don’t believe that Melanie was a target and continue to investigate the situation.

Melanie’s family is unsure why this happened to them, but they’re holding on to their faith. Melanie’s mother says that they have the hope and the assurance that she’s in heaven with Jesus and hope that they’ll see her again one day.  Her family made a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses, which raised more than $140,000. Melanie’s family said they will miss her witty humor, beautiful singing voice, and powerful, passionate prayers.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says that we must trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our understanding and submit to Him, and He will make our paths straight. No one may ever know why God allowed Melanie to die in such a tragic way. However, this verse in Proverbs reminds us that we shouldn’t lean on our understanding but God’s understanding instead. Melanie was a young, vibrant mother who loved Jesus with all her heart.

Though her life was tragically cut short, her family must know that she is with Jesus and that they will see her again one day. Until then, they must revel in her memories and share stories with her daughters about the kind of woman she was. They’ll share the good times and their favorite memories of Melanie. Her family must take comfort in the fact that she’s no longer in pain and can walk around heaven all day.

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