It was 9:00 A.M., the kids had left for school and I was sitting down to my first cup of coffee, savoring the quiet until I began my day. I was looking forward to this day, the first in a long time I’d have sometime to myself.
We moved here three months ago after my husband announced he no longer loved me and was seeking a divorce. The news devastated me as I thought we were a happy family – guess I was wrong.
In an effort to make a clean break, I moved back to the old house in Philadelphia where my parents had lived. Jack, my ex-husband and I were renting it out because Jack’s business took us to Maryland when the kids were babies. The income helped with a lot of things we otherwise would not have had, but now I would have preferred this old run down house to a life without him.
It was unusually warm for an April day in the Northeast, so I decided to read the newspaper on the porch taking my half filled cup of coffee with me. As I sipped my coffee, I combed the want ads, looking for something part time to help out with what was lacking in the monies Jack sent every month.
As I scanned the classifieds I heard a neighbor calling my name. I looked up from my paper to see Mrs. Lynch waving me over to her place in a frantic motion. I quickly tossed the paper aside, running over to her in nothing but, two bare feet and a bathrobe.
Out of breath I managed to ask as I grabbed her arm, “what’s wrong, are you sick?”
Mrs. Lynch had tears in her eyes and was trembling. I continued, “Its okay, you can tell me, what I can do to help you?”
Suddenly, she hugged me tightly and said, “Honey, I am so sorry, I guess you don’t know.”
Now I was getting angry. It was too early in the morning for guessing games. “Know what, Mrs. Lynch?”
“The school, the children are in a lock down, there was an outbreak of violence, some kids with guns.”
Then she began to cry loudly drawing the attention of the mailman. I rudely left her there with him as I made my way across the street and into my car, headed for the school one mile away.
As I drove that long agonizing mile still in nothing but bare feet and a bathrobe, I prayed, “Dear God, make my babies are okay.”
We had always taught the kids to trust in God no matter what happened, but lately, after their father’s disappearance from the family, our youngest, Jennie, was struggling with that trust; only thirteen years old, but at the age where hormones run rapport in a child, she held a lot of anger inside.
As I ran out of the car, leaving the door wide open, I saw a myriad of police cars, ambulances and crying mothers and fathers waiting for their children. At this moment I wish Jack were here with me, but I had not the wear-with-all to bother to give him a call – all I wanted was my babies, sweet Jennie and Matthew, my little man of ten.
I stood transfixed, as I watched injured children being carried out. My babies still not among them. But, then Matthew came out, I ran to his side, as I caressed his cheek, tears running down my face, he said, “ I’m okay, Mom. But you should have seen Jennie. The kids who shot us were in her class and she talked them down using that “God loves you” speech you always gave us. It was something.”
I mustered up the courage to ask, “Matt, where is she?”
Before he could answer a police officer emerged with Jennie. Handing her to me he said, “Your daughter is a hero.”
“I wept openly now. My little man would be fine, only a wounded shoulder. My big girl that I worried was losing faith, found the courage to be strong in her belief in the face of danger.
I knew at that moment God had brought us here for a reason. He had foreseen this day and knew Jennie would be the one He could use for His purpose.
My kids and I learned a valuable lesson that day; God can take any tragedy or pain and use it for the good.
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