Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Mom Moments - Testimony

This month’s blog was all typed up and almost ready to go, about two weeks ago. The finishing touches were going to be put on it. However, God had something else in mind. Now that has been put to the side and I am being directed to share something completely different.

I love how God uses the experiences in our lives to touch others. That is what I believe He wants to do through this. The word I have for this month’s Mom Moments is: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRAYER! I am not talking about the kind of prayer where you see instantaneous results, as awesome as those experiences certainly are. I am not even talking about prayers that are eventually answered. I am talking about prayers that you may pray on a daily basis, that become almost rote…these are prayers that are sometimes answered in the unseen world, ways in which we never visibly see the hand of God.

Think of some of the prayers you may pray on a daily basis. “Bless his/her day,” “Give him/her a good day,” “Protect so-and-so.” These are some of the prayers that we may pray and never give much thought to. As a mom, praying for protection is a daily one…it is one of those prayers that you don’t expect to see anything specific result of it. You just expect your child to be safe and secure. It is these types of prayers that we can easily take for granted. I think I had done just that and God was going to show me how much He really does hear my prayers and answers them.

It will be very hard to forget this day…Thursday, January 29th. As I do every morning, I had prayed for my children. I prayed specifically for God to protect them. It is just one of those prayers that I pray every day without a whole lot of thought to it. We ended up running behind schedule that morning. One of my children was taking longer than necessary to get out the door and I was getting quite frustrated. I was harping on her and telling her how she was going to make me late for work.

We finally got into the car to go and I was feeling mad. I hate running behind schedule and feeling rushed. I had to drop my two younger children off at a friend’s house, take my friend’s oldest son and my oldest son to school and then get to work. I did it make it to work in time but still…it was a rushed, stressful morning.

Just before 8 am I receive a phone call from my husband. He tells me that our son Daniel’s high school is in lockdown, something about a stabbing. I immediately feel overcome with fear and panic. Instinctively I want to run to my son, to make sure he is okay. I try my best to keep listening to my husband, when all I really want to do is hang up and drive to the school. When our conversation ends, I begin making phone calls—to my son, to friends who have children that attend there—there are phone calls coming in regarding the situation and phone calls going out. It’s confusing and maddening. I am trying to make sense of it all. Since I work in South Milwaukee, the district this happened in, even at my preschool there is knowledge of what has happened….word travels fast! I am having a difficult time feeling at peace because I don’t know 100% that my son is okay. I know he is not the victim in the stabbing but a continued sense of dread overwhelms me.

At one point I get word that he is locked in a classroom with his friend, whose family we are good friends with (I am thankful for technology at times like this—and the wonder of texting). I feel better but still, that lingering sense of dread is over me. Suddenly the thought comes to my mind, “Please don’t let it be a friend of Daniel’s.” It seems a somewhat strange thought as he attends a huge high school and the chances are pretty small that it would be a friend, let alone even an acquaintance. A few minutes later I get a text from my son…he wants to come home and then I read the words, “My friend was stabbed.” My stomach dropped. Suddenly my worst fear (after knowing my own son was okay) is realized. I begin to cry, wanting nothing more than to be there with my son, imagining how scared and sad he must feel.

I only work five minutes away but it felt like it was taking forever to get to him. It was like a scene out of a movie as I drove into the school parking lot, the whole place surrounded by police, television news crews and a helicopter flying overhead. There were kids milling all over. Parents were backed up in a line at the office, trying to get their children out of school.

Thankfully it didn’t take long before I was able to get him. His face broke my heart. He looked so scared. As we walked out of the building, I asked him who it was and he said, “Mark.” At the sound of his name, my heart broke. Daniel talks about Mark a lot. Daniel was new to the South Milwaukee district last year in 8th grade and Mark was one of the first friends he made. I knew they hung out together before school started, during lunch and had a couple of classes together. He was in shock, unable to understand who had done it and why. But as he talked, and as I would later hear the news cast, I was able to piece together that in the midst of this tragic situation, God was in control.

The incident happened sometime between 7 am and 7:15 am in a pod area, at some tables just a few feet from my son’s locker. His friend Mark was sitting at a table, the same table Daniel sits at every morning. Only this morning, we were running a little late. Daniel should have been there when the incident happened. God knew we needed to get there late—so despite my frustration in the morning about the kids dragging their feet, God was in control.

Mark was talking to another student, a junior, who apparently my son knows from spending time in the morning with. According to the news story, for no apparent reason, the junior, who was the stabber, suddenly took out an 8 inch kitchen knife and stabbed him in the back. He dropped the knife and fled, but was later apprehended at his house. Mark managed to stand up and make it a short distance down the hallway, collapsing eventually.

The whole situation was shocking. Daniel kept expressing how the boy who stabbed Mark was friends with him, so it made no sense. It worked out that Daniel’s cousin was off school the next day, Friday, so we ended up driving him to my sister’s house Thursday night so he could spend a couple of days there. He said he wasn’t ready to return to school on Friday. My husband and I both felt that Daniel needed some time to get through this and it would help to take his mind off things if he was with his cousin.

Thursday night and into all of Friday, I would record every news cast, on every station, trying to piece together the why of what happened and how Daniel’s friend was. There were so many different stories going around. I didn’t know what to believe or think. At one point on Friday, I decided to give it a shot and leave a message with Mark’s parents at their house. I knew the situation was still under investigation and that they had so much going on, they would probably not return the phone call but wanted to at least let them know our family was thinking of them.

By Friday night all I knew was that he had possibly been pierced in the kidney and that the boy who stabbed him was getting charged with 2nd degree recklessly endangering safety with a weapon, with up to possibly 15 years in prison. The whole situation was weighing heavily on my heart. I couldn’t help but wonder if Daniel had been there any earlier, could he have been a victim? I hate to admit it, but I almost hoped to hear that Mark had been specifically targeted, that there was some specific reason to make sense of it all. By all accounts, the boy who stabbed Mark was a good kid who got good grades. Daniel described him as being very nice. It just didn’t make any sense at all.

Saturday morning I was in prayer, praying intensely for the situation. I was praying for Mark and his healing, his family, along with praying for the family of the boy who stabbed him. I cannot imagine being the parent in either one of these families. I literally just finish praying and my cell phone rings. It was Mark’s mom. Inside I was rejoicing—God had answered my prayers! She went on to explain how she was picking and choosing which calls to answer, trying to avoid the media. I don’t want to get into a lot of detail here, as this is still an ongoing investigation and she did feel comfortable enough to carry on a lengthy conversation with me, but all I can say is again: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRAYER!

Apparently, the boy who stabbed Mark says that a dark veil came over him and he snapped. Obviously he intended on stabbing someone, as he chose to bring this knife to school—the only question that was remaining was who he would stab. In his words, he “snapped.” It became quite clear to me that if we had not been running behind that morning, my son may very well have been a victim. There are other boys who also gather at this table in the morning before school who also were not there—God was in control! In fact, this very afternoon I was able to take Daniel over to Mark’s house to spend some time with him and Mark shared with me how the boy who stabbed him was making him uncomfortable, talking about religion and sin. The boy then said, “I am about to commit a sin,” pulled out the knife and Mark tried to get away, which is when he was stabbed in the back.

Why it had to be Mark, I don’t know. All I can do is trust that God is going to use this situation. A door has been opened with Mark’s family. It has spoken to me how God is truly answering my prayers, even those that I don’t put much thought into. I also believe it is going to speak into my son’s heart, how REAL God truly is. I have been talking to him about the Lord’s hand of protection and how that can never be taken for granted and how God can use Daniel in Mark’s life. I see so many possibilities with this situation. I don’t know what is going to come in the days ahead, what God will do, but I do believe that He has something much bigger in store than I could even imagine.

I am happy to report that considering the damage done to Mark, he is physically doing well. His mom expressed concern about his emotions, as this was his friend who did it—a friend who was suddenly overcome by evil. The world of darkness is out there ladies. It wants to encroach upon the lives of our children, so our prayers for protection can never be underestimated! I have always known that I can trust God for my family. I home schooled Daniel for half of his school years, kindergarten through 4th grade. When we decided to put Daniel into school in the 5th grade, we did so according to the Lord’s will. Everything we do with our children, we pray about and seek the Lord’s direction. Yes, Daniel has had to deal with a very scary and tragic situation. But I see God’s hand in this and how it can all be turned around for good. God knew that Daniel could be a potential victim in this situation—He made sure we ran late that morning so he wasn’t. But I also believe that God knows what can be done through Daniel’s life to reach a friend who doesn’t know the Lord. I know Daniel is where he is for a reason—that helps me to feel okay about taking him back to school Monday. Will it be easy? Not necessarily. I admit it will be a little difficult dropping him off Monday morning—now seeing all the more clearly how you never know what life will bring you. At the same time, I know that everything is filtered through the hands of God. I also know that it will probably be difficult for Daniel. You don’t expect to go to school and experience a stabbing. You expect to be safe. It is going to be hard to be there and to have Mark absent from their morning get together, their lunch table and the seat empty in the classes they have together. It will probably be even more difficult to see the area where it happened. If God can protect his very life, I can trust that God will see him through the emotions of all of this.

I have so much more faith, so much more confidence in the power of prayer. I hope that this testimony will encourage you. This may not be my usual style of sharing “Mom Moments” but this is clearly a moment in my life that cannot be kept from others—God’s goodness must be shared and the word He has for me He also has for you-- NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRAYER!

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