Monday, November 6, 2017

When Terror Hits Too Close to Home

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Yesterday morning was like any other Sunday morning.  I fixed a hot dish in the crockpot for the fellowship dinner that takes place at church every week, picked out a suit and tie for Hubby, fixed the girls' hair, helped Nano with the top button on his shirt so he could put his tie on, got Davy dressed in corduroy pants and a button-up shirt, and made sure everyone had their Bibles before we left the house.

There are around 40 people in our little Baptist church on a normal Sunday, and we're all like one big family.  Hubby and I both grew up in this church.  Our parents and several of our siblings along with their families still attend as well so we have a lot of relatives in the church.  It's small and close-knit, and we love it.

When Terror Hits Too Close to Home

Like usual, 3 year old Davy struggled to sit quietly during church despite the crayons, matchbox cars, and mints I plied him with.  We sat in the back row on the right side of the church to minimize the distractions to others as they listened to the sermon.

When Terror Hits Too Close to Home
All 4 kiddos ready for church on Easter Sunday

As I sat on the padded pew, trying to pay attention to the sermon while simultaneously keeping an eye on my children to make sure they were sitting quietly, I had no idea that a tiny Baptist church in Texas, very similar in size and make-up to ours, was being terrorized by a man with a gun.  In just a few minutes over 25 people, including many children, were dead, and more were wounded.  The church was decimated, with over half of its congregation dead. 

When we got home from church later that afternoon, I sat down on my bed, exhausted from the day, and mindlessly scrolled down my Facebook feed.  An article shared by one of my friends about the attack on the Texas church stopped me dead in my tracks.  Every mass shooting that takes place feels personal, such as the school shooting in Newtown, but this one hit even closer to home.  I feel safe in my small town, but I'm realizing that there is nowhere that is safe from people bent on doing evil.  Even my tiny church where we spend time every Sunday and Wednesday is not safe. 

When Terror Hits Too Close to Home
Davy enjoying dessert at the fellowship dinner at church

I'm not sure why, but it's a scenario that has played itself out in my mind since I was a little girl.  What would I do if someone came into our church with a gun?  I only hoped that I would be able to dive under a pew with one of my younger siblings pinned beneath me for protection.  As a parent, I would do whatever it takes to protect my children, but the truth is that I can only do so much.  For the congregants at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, there was no time to react and nowhere to hide.

So, will this change anything for my family?

Not really.  We'll still go to church every time the doors are open.  The kids will still go to school.  I'll still go the grocery store.  I'll still take the kids to the library and to their doctor appointments.  As the number of mass shootings has increased over the years, so has my vigilance.  I herd my kids out the door if something seems off at all, and I find myself watching the people around us and staying aware of my surroundings.   

When terror hits too close to home:

Philippians 1:21 says, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."

That is how I choose to live my life and how I am teaching my children to live as well.  We have to live each day for God and not worry about when and how death will find us because dying just means going Home to be with Jesus.     

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