Thursday. It seemed so normal. Breakfast. Coffee. Brush teeth. Clip my RN credentials to my freshly pressed uniform. Give my Jess a see-ya-later kiss and off to the children’s hospital to love on some of the most tender little ones and their families.
We all do it. Check the boxes in our day, brush teeth ‘check’ make grocery list ‘check’ get the oil changed on the car ‘check’ get some work done ‘check’.
And that is exactly the kind of Thursday I expected; that is not the kind of Thursday I got.
I’d worked a little later than usual to try and tie some things up, so by the time I’d pulled into my driveway the stars were bright and my small world seem peacefully tucked in for the night. As my foot crossed from the flagstone walkway to our wide front porch my phone rang and my Thursday became anything but normal.
Hearing my daughter’s voice sound a way that I’d never heard it sound before I felt the color drain from my face and my heart begin to race.
“We are safe… we are at the police station… it was terrifying… I covered the kids with my body… the gun mom… the shooter… they kept screaming that they didn’t want to die…I was so scared mom… why would someone try to kill us…”
In a matter of an hour we had plane tickets bought, arrangements made for our home and livestock, and I’d called and spoken with one of the doctors I worked with and one of my nurse managers. Jess flew into action with the ranch and I started throwing things into a suitcase. We attempted to sleep for two hours but only tossed and turned, cried, and tried to make sense of the attempted murder of a young family. OUR family. Our beautiful daughter, our darling small grandchildren, our strong and ambitious son-in-law, of all people why would this happen to them.
But why does it happen to anyone’s family?
The plane arrived early for our first connecting flight and the second also arrived early at the gate. Jess and I moved swiftly and without speaking as we made our way to our precious loved ones. It was hard to do the speed limit between the airport and our daughter’s and I feel the the Lord in His mercy made the trip seem like only a quarter of the distance.
Upon reaching their home I fairly leapt from the vehicle and ran the rest of the distance. My daughter met me half way and as I encompassed her in my arms I felt her body relax into sobs and mine did the same. There are no words to describe the level of relief and thankfulness I felt as I kissed their faces and stroked their hair.
As I sat with our grandson the next day and then snuggled both him and his little sister that evening they told the story of what happened from their perspective and what was said has changed me forever.
Because this is an ongoing investigation and for the privacy of our children I will speak in generalities rather than fine details but you won’t miss what truly matters.
After giving the details of what happened our grandson stated matter-of-factly that “God’s hands were there.” He told how the shooter fired at him and his mom and how loud the sound was and how there were “lots of bullets” and he said he could hear them coming but “God just moved His hand and the bullets would just go all around us.” I asked him what he meant and he retold the story. I asked him if he saw the Lord’s hands and he answered, “No, I just saw the bullets sent away.” Our granddaughter nodded her head and said-as if it were a normal and expected thing-“Yeah, it was Dod’. He made the bullets dough’ do duh’ drees’ past our hair.” (Yeah it was God. He made the bullets go to the trees past our hair.)
I looked at Jess who said, “don’t discount it, I’ve learned to not do that.” As Jess and I talked privately later that night he told me that if we looked only at the facts of what happened we have this:
- A man with a gun fired it at our kids.
- He fired the gun at close range.
- He fired it at them, not at the sky.
- Not a single one of them even received a surface flesh wound.
We see that as a miracle and we are grateful beyond words. I don’t understand the rhyme or reason why. Why did it happen? Why them? Why our family? Why did it happen as they were getting out for church? And why are some not able to tell this same story of children and family spared?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are my ways higher than your ways
And my thoughts than your thoughts.
I keep reciting that verse to myself over and over and I keep thanking the Father that our precious ones are still here for us to hold and touch and see. I keep reminding myself that they are safe. I keep reminding myself that God is trustworthy.
The world looks a little different to me these last few days. The Lord is easier to see somehow and my perspective is slightly different. I also feel less in control of my world but I have no fear of that. Life is so fluid and so unpredictable but we can have an anchor in our faith.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
I feel bolder, stronger, more resolute, and I pray for the courage to continue to walk forward unafraid.
In every life circumstance we face a choice. How will we respond? Will we draw inward and close our hearts, will we lash out in bitterness? Will we give up, will we turn away? Will we say that God is not here or will we say thank you Lord that you are near?
Please be encouraged today. Your life is measured and you are given an opportunity to choose who you will serve, how you will live, and how you will respond to the daily fears, disappointments, and victories. What you do, what you say, how you behave, all have lasting consequences-either good or bad-and those choices become the road in which you will travel.
We are choosing trust and forward motion. We are facing down fears. We are thanking God for his mercy, his provision, and his care. Our daughter and son-in-law have already replaced the vehicle, the children have been allowed to be afraid and their parents have modeled for them courage, forgiveness, and victory rather than fear and feeling forsaken. Our prayers are that the person who attempted to take our precious ones from us and end the early beginning innocent lives of two babies will come to a realization of the evil and wickedness of such an act. Our son-in-law and daughter moved like a perfectly choreographed team to protect our little ones and one another. Not for second did either one panic or freeze up and run away trying to save only themselves. In the words of our grandson, “mom jerked [sister] out of her carseat so fast she tore the material on it and then she threw us on the ground and got on top of us.” Our son-in-law made an immediate decision that absolutely saved all of them and not only are we forever grateful but we are also forever in awe of the bravery of them both.
In my ears I might always hear the questioning from our granddaughter asking us “why did he want to make us died?” And from our grandson, “I saw the bullet Mamaw it was coming at me but then it just went up.” The grace and the glory in what has happened has forever changed all of us and may it always be. We hold tight to the truth that we serve a living Savior and are known by our almighty God that is unchanging and has promised that we would never be forsaken nor left defenseless. He is our hope and help and as we journey through this my prayer is that our story will bring a hope to you as well. May not one of us feel defeated by the pain and hardships of life but may we know that we are capable and that the ability to bring encouragement, hope and help to those around us, is ours.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Amen and amen. He has OVERCOME the world and in him we are forever safe.
Love and peace,