The ballet. It's full of beauty and talent and art.
This Saturday, we honored our Christmas tradition of seeing the Nutcracker ballet. It was beautiful and artistic and full of talent as always, but this weekend it was different.
When tragedy strikes, even those things which are beautiful often become clouded by fear.
Tonight I sit at my desk in my new office in our new house, and none of those "new things" matter.
What does matter are the 2 post it notes stuck to my desk written on by my 5 year old kindergartener. Earlier tonight, she was playing "school" with her uncle Matt.
These past few days have made me look at scribbled on post-it notes in a whole new light. I have looked at my children differently this weekend, as I'm sure you have too.
If you're like me, it happened to you. You imagined it for a moment. You let the scenario creep into your mind as you placed yourself in the shoes of those parents who waited for children who never came back.
I can't even write it without tears falling from my eyes. It's too much. Too much for anyone to imagine let alone live through. And with the brutal reality of this past week's shooting, comes fear.
I have read many of your posts on facebook and twitter. Posts of fear.
Fear is the sword with which the devil fights. He uses fear to creep into our minds and our lives, and he attempts and often succeeds at controlling us through fear.
Interestingly enough, do you know what the #1 command in the Bible is?
Do not fear.
Be not afraid.
He says it over and over and over again.
It's not just a suggestion. It is a command. His greatest command to us. Yet we live intimately with fear, cherishing it so much that we often can't shake it.
Do not be afraid is a command that most of us have a hard time abiding by.
I recently worked through a bible study by Beth Moore over the book of Esther. It was an incredible study. But there was one video session that has literally changed my life, and it was all about fear. That lesson is where these thoughts gain their strength.
When I think about the events of last week, I can't keep my mind from wandering to the "what ifs." What if it had been here? What if it had been someone I know? What if it had been one of mine?
Fear lives through the what ifs that often overtake our minds.
Those worst case scenarios that we allow to consume our thoughts....that's where fear lives, and that's where the devil wins.
There has been a lot of talk about home schooling since the shooting. Is it what we should do? Is it what the Lord commands us to do? Many would say yes.
I'm not here to debate public or private school vs homeschooling. I honestly don't know what's right. But I do know without a doubt that what is right for one family may not be right for another.
But after a school shooting like this, everything in me wants to wrap my children up warm and snug in my bed and never let them leave me.
But the reality is, tragedy happens.
It happens in schools, in movie theaters, and even at the grocery store.
The thought of one of those tragedies is enough to make you want to lock your kids up in your house forever and never let them leave. But thinking about the reality of them all together is enough to push any of us over the edge and beg for Jesus to return to save us from our own fear.
If we let it, fear can consume us.
In Beth's session on fear, she talks about taking your "what ifs" aka your worst fears and pushing through them all the way to the end.
For example, this weekend, I have had to work through this one many times....(please note, this is not an easy read).
What if I waited for her to come running into my arms and she didn't come back? (I am now sitting at my desk sobbing. And I'm sorry if you are too, but I want you to read the rest of this.)
Beth explains that she had a moment with the holy spirit when she was consumed by fear...by those what ifs, and the holy spirit lead her to work through it like this. (And obviously I have no idea what this would be like. I can only imagine....and that is torture enough, but hopefully this resonates with someone tonight.)
So what if that were me?
Well, then I would lose it. I would probably scream and sob and they would have to put me on some kind of medication. I would be in shock. I wouldn't know what to do. I would hate everyone and everything, and I would be mad at God.
I would grieve. I would mourn. I wouldn't want to get out of bed. I would still be mad and hate the world. I'd feel like I had nothing to live for anymore.
Then eventually I'd have to be a momma to my other babies. I would have to talk to them. I would have to explain things. I would try to do it well, but I would cry. I would cry and cry and cry.
I think I would get tired of crying. I think I would get tired of feeling. I would probably battle depression.
I guess eventually I'd have to talk to God about it. I would open my bible and lay my face on it and sob. I would wish it were someone else. I would ask Him why it had to be us.
I don't really know what. I can't walk through what it would feel like. I don't know what, but I do know who.
If my greatest fear were to become reality, then GOD.
I don't know what else or who else, but I know God. And I know my God. And I know life is not fair. I also know we were not made for this world. This is just a moment for us. "We are but a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes." (James 5:14)
But if my greatest fear becomes reality, then my God will take care of me.
We can't just trust Him to make sure our greatest fears don't come true....We have to learn to trust Him no matter what.
And if my worst fears come true.....then GOD.
Then God, then God, then God.
He tells us not to fear. He tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us.
I know that if I were ever to lose a child, I would probably feel like he had left me and forsaken me. But I know this, He will not leave or forsake those grieving parents. Believers or not, he will chase after them in an effort to comfort them and bring them peace.
I understand so very little about His plan. He has this all worked out you know? And in the end, the good guy wins.
I have to remind myself of this promise often when I let fear creep into my soul....It is a promise to all believers found in Isaiah 43. It is so much a favorite of mine that it fell open to this page as I cried those tears of sorrow and pain tonight over children that will never feel sorrow or pain ever again as they stand at the feet of Jesus tonight.
May you win the battle over fear tonight. If ____________, then God.