Free flow…ramblings…thoughts and prayers…

What is there to say? No words will suffice, yet they roll in my head not allowing room for anything else until they escape onto the paper. My heart is breaking with unexpressed grief and writing is my way of processing. However, when I try to pour the words out, they will not form coherent thoughts. Free flow is the only way…
I have sat on the floor, in the dark, with my students and attempted to have them remain quiet while someone bangs on the locked door demanding that we open it. I have seen them look to me for reassurance, because even our regular drills of such action can be a scary thing. I have smiled in order to transfer confidence to their fearful faces. I have told them that it is like playing hide and seek, and seen them visibly relax at the familiar experience of such a comparison. I have answered questions about what to do if a Code Red should occur while they are in the hallway, or the bathroom, or the lunchroom. I have explained the difference in a Code Red (intruder inside the building) and a Code Yellow (intruder outside the building). I have described that a lock down means no one gets in our out of our building, or classroom until the correct password is used. I have done all these things to prepare for the possibility of a day like yesterday happening at my school. Yet differences in possibility and actuality have my mind churning out questions, my stomach in knots, and my heart sick with grief.
I don’t like the idea of what it would mean for my students, or for myself. Because I know that in such a situation, even with lots of practice, calmness would be nearly impossible. Panic would rule and all the training would likely get jumbled in with the urge to scream, “Run for your life!!” causing students to scatter in every direction. It weighs heavily on my mind that, in these kinds of circumstances, I would be the one my students looked up at to see what to do and where to go. They would look into my eyes with complete trust. My directions in that moment could mean life or death for them all. If these thoughts don’t shake you to your core I don’t know what will.
I signed up to teach kids to read, and now I am the nurse, the mom, the social worker, the counselor and the encourager. Add to that list… swat-team leader. Our world has become a battle zone and that alone is reason to weep. The children are the most vulnerable targets; they always have been…for generations the enemy has been trying to wipe them out en mass. A traumatic event where children are executed brings him the most pleasure, because he not only destroys the lives of countless families, he also gets to watch the bickering and fighting as we point fingers and place blame afterwards. He laughs at our petty arguments and back biting, because he knows the cause of these things…HE is the cause. Yet we fight against flesh and blood. He violates with violence. He molests innocence, and steals peace. He infuses memories and nightmares into the minds of our children. Slowly, he weaves his way into our country’s subconscious until we begin to react at his bidding, not with voices of hope and healing, but with accusations and animosity. It is his strategy and we follow it with abandon, never stopping to really consider there is another way.
My Bible says, in Ephesians that we “do not fight against flesh and blood, but against powers, principalities, against the powers of this dark world, and forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” No question that today we know what that evil looks like. It is not human…only uses humans for its work. That much is clear. Do we think that God is absent when such violence is poured out upon the innocent? He is not deaf, nor is he dumb…but we must have ears to hear him. We cannot harden our hearts, nor let our hearts be troubled, for He has overcome the world. We wrestle with why he allows such tragedy. On days like yesterday we simply cannot always SEE his overcoming power.
Or can we? Are we not personal witnesses to his resurrection power? Did he not overcome the darkness and bondage in our past to bring us a new life? Can he not do it again? We feel that people are in the way of his actions and purposes, but I say to you, he is bigger than evil people, laws, guns, and arguments about all of those things…bigger even the true source of the evil. His purposes can be in this world even when wickedness seems to be running rampant. You can SEE him if your look. You can HEAR him if you listen. How big is your God? It is a spiritual battle, and it belongs to the Lord.
So why children? Why shooting? Why? I tell you there are no answers for why. Why is the wrong question. The real question is How? How can I be his light in the dark aftermath? How can I express his heart to those around me…in my own community? How can express love to my children? To my friends, co-workers and family? How do I avoid surface level finger pointing in order to examine and PRAY for the deeper issues? How do I pray for families whose Christmas morning will be deafeningly silent? How can I pray for those who will have to handle returning toys to the stores because they have buried the recipient of those toys? I pray by weeping God’s tears…by seeing and feeling his heart at the same time.
Oh Father,
Your word says that you draw near to the broken hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. We are both. I ask that you comfort the families, strengthen all working the scene, give wisdom to those leading the investigation. I pray the news media would be sensitive to the circumstances and respectful of the families. I ask that those who look to you in the midst of this painful time would feel your presence holding them close. That they could sense your heartbeat for this situation and your love for those killed. Comfort them. I pray for the community to be surrounded by your grace as they bury their children. I pray for the teachers to focus on the lives they saved rather than on the ones they couldn’t. I ask for your healing balm to be poured out on all involved.
I fully believe the battle is yours Lord, so I say no to the enemy. I refuse to believe that there is no hope for our world. I look to you as the light of the world that can overcome this darkness which is trying to choke out our children. Lord you have proven over and over again throughout history that you are FOR us and our children. I refuse to believe the lie of the enemy that you are uninvolved and passive. I refuse to give place to the lie that you do not love ALL people. I embrace your son, his sacrifice, and the love that such a sacrifice demonstrates. I choose to look and SEE the bigger picture rather that focus on the petty lies the enemy wants to pull me into. Your word says you take what the enemy meant for evil and you turn it into good. I pray that you would do that in this case…that your name will be lifted up rather than cursed. Forgive us Lord for always blaming you for our sinful state. Forgive us Lord for wanting you to rescue us from the mess we ourselves created. Forgive us Lord for always thinking it is someone else’s issue causing our problems. Help us instead Lord to search our own hearts. To seek your light there, and to be ruthless with the darkness you expose within us. Mostly I ask that your grace and mercy cover us, humble us, and protect us. We love you, we ask that you hear our desperate cries for our children. Amen

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