How I Added Hope to the Conversation With My Daughter About School Shootings
“Would I be safer if I had bullet proof inserts in my book bag?”
My oldest daughter (12 years old) asked me this question last night as I was tucking her into bed.
She continued to share that she hopes that she isn’t in the hallway or bathroom if an intruder barges into her school. She fears the nearest classroom won’t open its door to let her into safety because they’ll think she’s the intruder. She described exactly how she would run out the side door to flee the scene instead of trying to get into a classroom. She had it all planned out in her mind. She’d thought it through.
As a mom, I’ve had a lot of hard, uncomfortable conversations with my kids. This was a gut punch. My stomach dropped and churned as I soaked in the reality of her thoughts.
I willed myself to not show emotion as she talked, but I was grieving on the inside. I wanted to scream at the reality that these were her thoughts!
WHEN EVIL HAS A FACE
This week’s school shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, TN has impacted our family more than any other school shooting. It’s a mixture of the proximity to our home, the worry and fear for our friends that work or send their kids to private, Christian schools in the area, and the fact that Nashville is a ginormous, small town where everyone knows someone whose life is forever changed after the events of this week.
Evil had a face this week.
We weep. We mourn. We question.
We do all of these things with hope.
Weeks like this make heaven a little more real. We envision what it will be like to see Jesus face to face. We imagine the reunions we’ll have with friends and family who have gone on before us. The absence of pain, hunger, tears, and sadness makes us smile. These thoughts of a hopeful future give a relief to the tragedy of living in a fallen world.
Therefore, we hope.
ADDING HOPE TO THE CONVERSATION
When discussing the school shooting with my daughter this week, I did a lot of listening and fact-giving, but I always ended on the truth that brings true peace. There are many times throughout scripture when Jesus felt the same feelings so many of us feel when unthinkable tragedy strikes.
Jesus wept when he found out his friend, Lazarus, died. (John 11:35)
Jesus asked his Heavenly Father to take away the hard road to the cross ahead of him. (Luke 22:42)
Jesus, while weak and hungry, had to remind the real enemy not to put God to the test. (Matthew 4:7)
Jesus asked God to forgive the very people who hung him on the cross. (Luke 23:34)
Then, after He’d walked in our shoes and felt our earthly pain, He paid the ultimate price for our freedom and redemption by dying on a cross for our sins. (1 Corinthians 15:3, John 3:16)
Jesus dying on the cross is why we have hope.
MOVING FORWARD WITH HOPE
There are a lot of voices shouting at me about what actions I should take right now. I have my own opinions too, but trying to change problems in our society feels like a monumental task larger than me right now. I think the enemy loves it when we fight with each other after a tragedy and nothing gets done in all the shouting and chaos.
Once again, I don’t have the answers, but I have hope that leads me to what I will FOR SURE do next.
I plan to move forward with a fresh passion for loving the people right in front of me. When I don’t know what to do, I plant my feet, look around, and start there.
Maybe that’ll involve protecting my children with bullet proof back pack inserts. I don’t know. I feel crazy that I even looked them up on Amazon. If you’re wondering, they’re expensive.
I can donate (and you can too!) to Daystar Counseling Ministries who is offering free counseling sessions to all The Covenant School students to help them heal from their trauma.
Here’s a couple things on the horizon that I am personally most excited about doing.
I get to watch my daughter, who asked hard questions and thought unimaginable thoughts this week, get baptized on Easter Sunday. I’ll be the mom bawling on the front row. Her and I are also planning a weekly Bible study for middle school girls in our home this summer. We’ll lead it together.
Like I said, so much hope.
I’ll never have all the answers, but I always have hope and the ability to love the people right in front of me.