I graduated high school in 1998, the year before the tragic Columbine school shooting. Four years later, I received my Secondary English Education Degree and walked back into a high school classroom in 2002 at 22 years old! My first year I was given 11th and 12th graders to teach! Most of them bigger and taller than me!
During my first year, we were trained for the ”in case of an event of a school shooting” procedure. I continued to pray all the years I taught, that I would never experience such a tragedy! We had a few bomb threats, a few verbal threats from students claiming they would come to a school shooting people, but thankfully no real incidents occurred during my years of teaching!
I stepped out of the classroom in summer of 2008 with the plans of a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) move and starting a family with my military husband. My husband and I talked and agreed that once I had our children, I would stay home with them. And since then, I have not stepped back into the teaching profession and do not plan to return at all.
Yet, my heart always breaks when I hear news of another school shooting in our public schools! I don’t understand why!
Valentines Day school shooting
This Valentines Day morning I taught a Happy Valentines Themed lesson with my 5-year-old daughter and my friend’s son at home. (Because my daughter’s birthday fell after the Kindergarten cut-off this year, my dear friend/neighbor and I decided to tackle the year before Kindergarten and teach our kids the basics at home. It has truly been one of the best year spent with my little one and my friend’s son. More on that sometime) But as we ended our morning and broke for lunch, this is what instantly tuned into when I turned on my TV: ”Breaking news: one of the deadliest school shooting in history just took place in Florida” …! How ironic on a day like today, a day of love!
My heart instantly ached for the parents who kissed their babies goodbye this morning and wished them a good day, not having any idea what the day held! I dropped off my daughter to school this morning. She waved with a smile as she carried her handmade Valentines Cards in a cute little bag to hand out to her classmates later today!
For the moment I had the TV on with my other daughter and friend’s son watching while eating their lunch, my sweet 5-year-old asked the most innocent question, “why would anyone want to hurt (or shoot) people on Valentines Day? Today is supposed to be a happy day and full of love??” If only we all continued to love and accept others like most children do!
My heart goes out to the parents and family members who lost a loved one today! I cried as I read the several articles about the events that took place at that Florida High School! The terror they must have felt! I know as a former teacher, it was part of my job to protect my students when they were in my care! I know those brave High School teachers were doing all they could!
I am still in shock after reading the statistics: “18 school shoots in 2018 already.” Really?? We just started the new year!!
Praying for healing, praying for comfort, praying for understanding, praying for protection and SO MUCH MORE for our public schools and all of our children today and every day! I will not bring myself to watch the graphic video being posted on social media of the killer’s rampage! I CANNOT!! (I grieve with the children who saw such a horrible act!! But I will also NOT live in fear every day my children go to school!
We need healing! We need a lot of change in our nation! And we need God to be allowed in our schools and allowed to pray over our teachers, faculty, staff and children in schools.
My sister-in-law gave me a book last summer by Stormie Omartian. The book is called, “The Power of a Praying Parent“. I have wanted to read it consistently over the last year, but truthfully and quite unintentionally life just took its course and I got busy. It has sat on dresser with a few other books stacked together on my “List of Books I need to read soon”. I read a few chapters, but just as quickly as I read through the prayers and spoke them once over my children, the prayers were honestly forgotten.
I wanted to end my post with the last section stated, but I felt I needed to add some more words of comfort…words of truth…especially on a day that celebrates “LOVE”. Tomorrow is Thursday and still a school day for one of my children. Next year, BOTH of my children will be in a public school and I cannot live in fear thinking about what will happen when I kiss them goodbye and release them to their classrooms.
So, in search of some guidance, wisdom, and Godly counsel for myself, here is what I reread in Chapter 3.
Psalm 91:11-12 “He will put His angels in charge of you to protect you in all of your ways. They will carry you in their hands so that you never hit your foot against a rock.”
Being a praying parent doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to your children or that they will never experience pain. They will, because pain is a part of life in this fallen world. But the Bible assures us that our prayers play a vital part in keeping trouble from them. And when a painful thing does happen, they will be protected in the midst of it so it will be to their best betterment and not their destruction.
This is where the Word of God again plays a vital part in your prayers and your peace…Things happen when we pray that will not happen when we don’t. What might happen, or might not happen, to our children, if we don’t pray today? Let’s not wait to find out. Let’s get on our knees now.
-Stormie Omartian, Power of a Praying Parent, excerpt from Chapter 3: Securing Protection from Harm.
At the end of each chapter is a short prayer to pray over our children. This prayer is one I plan to personalize, type up, and print out. I plan to make it a point to pray over my girls every day. If it is something you want to do as well, take, copy and personalize with your own child or children’s names. All we can do is pray for them all!
I lift (name of child) up to You and ask that You would put a hedge of protection around her (him). Protect her (his) spirit, body, mind, and emotions from any kind of evil or harm. I pray specifically for protection from accidents, disease, injury, or any other physical, mental, or emotional abuse. I pray that she (he) will make her (his) refuge “in the shadow of Your wings” until “these calamities have passed by” (Psalm 57:1). Hide her (him) from any kind of evil influences that would come against (her) him. Keep her (him) safe from any hidden dangers and let no weapon formed against her (him) be able to prosper. Thank you, Lord, for Your many promises of protection. Help her (him) to walk in Your ways and in obedience to Your will so that she (he) never comes out from under the umbrella of that protection. Keep her (him) safe in all she (he) doe and wherever she(he) goes. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
-Stormie Omartian, Power of a Praying Parent, excerpts from Chapter 2 and excerpts from Chapter 3: Securing Protection from Harm.