Wednesday, December 19, 2012

lets LIVE

Last Friday looked a little different than most school days in our house.  Sean, my oldest, had been sick the day before, and due to a "fever free for 24 hour" rule, he was home again, although he was acting fine.  We slept in a little, and hung around in our PJs.  My 3 little guys were cuddled on the couch watching a Christmas movie, and I hopped on the computer to browse through FB for a bit before we started our day.

At first there was only one post, and I almost skimmed right past it.  A picture of a street crowded with cars and emergency vehicles.  But then I stopped to read the caption.  A shooting had happened at an elementary school in CT.  What the crap?  Who shoots an elementary school?  I started clicking links and searching so I could find out more.  A couple people injured.  No, 18 people have been killed.  No, wait again... 18 CHILDREN have been killed.  Then the final count- 20 children and 6 adults.  Like the rest of the nation, I sat in disbelief.  Tears streamed down my face.  I was sick to my stomach.  I looked up to see my 3 boys laughing and enjoying their movie, with no earthly idea of the evil that was happening at that very moment.

I told them I was going to take a quick shower.  I didn't want them to see me break down.  I hopped in the shower and lost it.  I mean LOST IT.  Deep, heavy, sobs came from some place within me that I had never known was there.  The pain was so intense, so real, so... PAINFUL that it was almost as if I had lost one of my children.  The initial reports said an entire kindergarten class was missing.  Kindergarten?!?!  I cried and cried and kept thinking "those babies!"  In my sobs, and somewhere amongst my prayers, I heard the Lord speak- so quietly yet so vibrantly in my heart- "I sent my son to die for him, too."  I knew who He was speaking to me about.  The man who pulled the trigger.  God was reminding me that His son did not just die for those sweet children and innocent staff members... but He died for that murderer too.

My heart became heavier.  What a lost, sick, hurting, dark soul he must have been to do such a horrific act.  No person in their right mind could commit such an unspeakable crime.  And now he was gone too- the eternal punishment he is facing is far worse than any punishment here on earth.  My heart aches.  

Soon more reports start coming out.  Names.  Birthdays.  Ages.  15 out of 20 children born in 2006.  Sean was born in 2006.  16 out of 20 of them were 6 years old.  Sean is 6 years old.  All of them in 1st grade.  Sean is in 1st grade.  And in a way I think only moms can understand, I grieve.  Because you see, those children are all somebody's Sean.  And the thought of losing him (or any of my children) is almost more than I can bear.  Yet those parents... those families... they are living through it.  It happened to them.  It could have been me.  

Newtown, CT is not considered a dangerous town.  People felt safe.  But something exists in Newtown that exists in every city around the world- hurting people.  You may not know it by just looking at them, but there are people everywhere who suffer from mental illness, inner pain, and who are just plain lost without Christ.  It's not about gun control or school safety.  It's about matters of the heart.  It's about taking care of those who are mentally unstable.  It's about sharing the love of Christ with those who need it most. 

I certainly don't have all the answers.  And I certainly don't know what any of that is supposed to look like.  But I do know that I can choose on a daily basis to love others, & teach my children to do the same.  I can share the love of Christ by words and actions.  I can choose peace, and not to live in fear.
 By the time Monday came around, my heart was prepared to drop Sean off at school.  So many parents were fearful.  Some didn't even take their children to school.  But I decided I was not going to live in fear.  Crazy to think that the normal task of dropping your child off at school was changed in an instant to a brave action, accompanied by tears for many.  I stood on the promises of God:

"The Lord is my light & my salvation- so why should I be afraid?  The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?" Ps 27:1

I took a picture of Sean as he got out of the car, and I posted it to my FB & Instagram.  Not because of the picture (although he sure is cute), but because of what I felt the Lord stirring in my spirit.  Underneath the picture I wrote this:

"For me, being a parent means placing your children in God's hands from day 1, and continuing to do so each & every day.  It's not always easy, but there is no other way that I would want to raise my kids.  We can't live our lives in fear... we need to just LIVE." 

So lets do it... lets LIVE.  Lets laugh and make memories and have fun and shed tears and feel pain.  Lets pray for others and grieve with others.  Lets rejoice with others and encourage one another.  Lets love with every fiber of our being.  And lets share the love of God with those around us.   Because we never know who is hurting & who is fighting an inner battle that none of us could understand or comprehend.  

Lets LIVE.


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