Abby started her junior year of high school today with a bomb threat.
In light of the fact that schools have been receiving similar threats from immature, crazed or ill-supervised children (and adults, undoubtedly) for decades now, you might think we'd just brush off this tiresome prank and go about our business. But when it's your child that you're potentially sending into harm's way, even an idle threat is no laughing matter.
So last night we sat around the dinner table and tried to decide whether Abby should go to school today or not. Her nineteen-year-old brother said absolutely not.
I'm still trying to dissect the motives behind his emphatic command that she stay home.
I said I felt like it would be safe to go to school if the school officials said it was safe after having the bomb squad from the nearby army post check it out along with their bomb sniffing canines. Still, I wanted Abby to feel free to stay home if she had any fear at all. I saw no point in her being miserable at school all morning.
We reasoned through the ordeal - me and my two teenagers (my husband was out of town for the evening).
Then I drove off to choir practice and called a friend for another mom's perspective. She echoed my sentiments and added a few wise thoughts I hadn't come to on my own. I still hated that my daughter's school year would begin with such a ridiculous scare, but I was feeling calmer about sending her the next morning.
At choir practice I heard a few other takes on the situation. Some were laughing it off (they had no children to send to the school the next morning, however), others had the same perplexed and worried looks on their faces that I undoubtedly wore on mine, and others dismissed the news and went on talking about their plans for the upcoming weekend. A high school bomb threat was no worry to them. But it was to me.
Finally, on the way home from choir practice, I talked to God about this ordeal. Sure, I'd "prayed" about it at dinner. My desperate cry for wisdom and my child's safety was sandwiched in between "God bless these waffles we're about to eat" and "thank you for this lovely day." I'd thrown out an S.O.S. to God, but I hadn't bothered to tune in to Him at all to see if He had a response. I'd reasoned with myself and hashed it out with others, but I hadn't given God a chance to utter a word to this point.
As I drove home and prayed scripture over the situation, my perspective began to truly change. No longer was I just telling myself not to worry and hoping for the best and trusting the bomb squad to do a thorough job, but I began to "hear" God speak to me.
He reminded me that He loves my daughter and will take care of her when I cannot. He reminded me that even when Abraham begged Him to save Sodom and Gomorrah and He could not because there were not even ten righteous men living there, He did spare Lot, Abraham's nephew, and his family because God loved them. He spoke to my spirit and let me know that even if something did happen at the high school, He could save my daughter...if He chose to. He reminded me that the bomb squad knows what they are doing and are worthy of my respect, but He alone is worthy of my faith and trust. And He told me that while "some may trust in chariots and horses (or bomb squads and dogs)," I should trust in the name of my God, for He is sovereign, good, strong, and over all (see Psalm 20:7).
By the time I got home I knew what we should do. I talked with Abby (who had also spent some serious time in prayer by this time) and told her I thought she should go to school the next morning with no fear. I told her the things God had laid on my heart and she confirmed that He had spoken the same things to her. She was still a little nervous, but she would go to school and trust her God to stop her in her tracks if she wasn't supposed to walk in the door.
This morning I tried to focus on the usual first-day-of-school fanfare instead of the bomb threat. I fixed her breakfast (the one time I'll do that this year other than testing days), chatted with her about the day ahead, snapped her picture in her specially chosen first-day-of-school outfit, and walked with her to her little blue Tempo. I watched her drive off and prayed more for her safety on the road than her safety in the school. She called about ten minutes later to say she was there, everything looked normal, and there were no dead bodies on the ground. We laughed and she went on with her day.
I went on with mine too. I picked up my daily reading Bible and read yesterday's scripture because I'm one day behind:
This is what the Lord says:
Do not be afraid or discouraged
because of this vast multitude,
for the battle is not yours, but God's.
Tomorrow, go down against them...
You do not have to fight this battle.
Position yourselves, stand still, and
see the salvation of the Lord.
He is with you...Do not be afraid
or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out
to face them, for the Lord is with you.
(2 Chronicles 20:15b-17)
In some ways I wish I'd read this passage yesterday morning when it was scheduled to be read. Maybe then I would have handled this whole ordeal a little better from the get-go. But then again, lessons learned in the morning sometimes fade by afternoon with me. I wish that weren't the case, but alas it often is. So I'm thankful that this morning I was able, by God's grace and through His sweet and tender proddings, to send my daughter off to a school that has been threatened with a bomb scare. And I'm grateful that this one-day-old Daily Bread has nourished my soul this morning for the day that lies ahead. I will not fear for her safety all day long or "be afraid or discouraged." Instead I will position myself under His mighty banner, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
It's a cruddy way to start a school year, but at least this little incident has driven me to my knees. I'd not prayed over this year to the extent that I usually do. That is changing.
Today I'm joining Dannah Gresh for her "30 Days of Prayer for Your Daughter"
challenge. Dannah's ministry is actually directed toward moms with daughters who are younger than mine, but there's no age limit on praying for our daughters, so I'm in. If you're interested, check it out here
. Today is day one in the challenge.
Labels: Abigail, family, fear, prayer, the Bible