This post. This post is not nice and tidy. It’s not going to be wrapped up into something beautiful. In fact, I don’t even know where God wants this to go.
This post. It’s going to be real. It’s going to be raw. And it’s going to be all the cries from the depths of my shattered heart.
So here is my heart….unfiltered and broken…..
Teachers are suppose to give out hugs and high fives. They are suppose to give grades and homework. They are suppose to watch a child grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. They are suppose to get exciting stories of their student’s weekend trips. They are suppose to get invitations to ball games and dance recitals. They are even suppose (or expectant rather ha) of emails from parents that aren’t too happy with us. What we aren’t suppose to get….what we aren’t expectant of…is a final goodbye, a journal left not complete, a name in a gradebook that won’t receive another grade by it, an empty seat, a child left without a reading partner, friends left without their recess buddy, a name that can no longer be called while taking roll, and a call that one of their students..no, one of their babies…has left this earth.
But here I am, here my co workers are, facing just that. Not once, but twice for me. In a matter of weeks.
It’s not okay. It’s not okay that a baby was taken. So I’m not okay. And I’m not afraid to say that. In moments I have told myself that I “have to be” because I am a “Christian”. But no, being Christian just means that in the pain there is still hope. It doesn’t mean I have to be okay. It doesn’t make me a robot. And so…
I’m not okay. My heart can’t even feel anymore. There is nothing left. It’s just like surgery. The pain is inflicted and there is a scar that is numb. That’s my whole heart. One big numb scar right now. My mind can’t stop. It won’t stop. I replay over and over the horrid stories of my two sweet girl’s last moments, and it makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me cringe. It makes me nauseous. I can’t sleep. It takes me forever to fall asleep, and when I do, I’m awaken to what feels like an elephant standing on my chest and fear and panic ripping through my veins like lightening on a hot summer night. I’m so panicked that something in general is just wrong that I feel each one of my furbabies bodies to feel the up and down of their lungs to make sure they are breathing. And then I lose it….I fall apart because the panic stops and the reality of the realness of what is really going on in my life sets in. And it hurts. Over and over and over. And I cry. Hard. And I just sit up or crumble to a ball because I know that going back to sleep won’t happen. I fall apart and say Jesus because that’s all I even know to say.
Which is another part of my pain. I love words. Words can be chosen and strung together so beautifully and precisely. And usually that is how I function. It’s how I vent and outlet myself. But I haven’t written hardly any words about anything in three weeks. Because there are no words. There is no amount of thought and effort put into words that can string together and explain the pain and feelings. There are no words I can write, say, or type that make things better…that make things okay. So I have been so frustrated within myself.
I’m also not okay because my kids, my babies, are hurting. I’m not okay because my best friends, the people I get to go to work with everyday, my coworkers, aren’t okay. I’m not okay because when I close my eyes I see mother’s, father’s, sibling’s, and other family member’s faces drenched in tears and filled with such great sorrow. Nothing in me is okay. My heart is not only torn, but shattered.
I have found that so many painful memories of losing Megan and TJ have flooded back into my mind and heart. So many “scars” have been ripped open again. So many feelings that I suppress without realizing it have surfaced in an overwhelming way. With Tj’s birthday and the anniversary of Megan’s death approaching in the next week, my heart is drowning. And I don’t say that to get sympathy, or “Poor Ander”. I say it so that you can see that my heart, my mind, my everything is beaten to a pulp. So that you can see that there is nothing left of me. That I am on empty….That I get through the day with my babies, but then I get home and I fall apart. I call my mom, or dad, or GanGan and I fall apart. The pain engulfs me and that wave of fear, tears, and panic crashes down on top of me…slinging my tired and weary heart every which way it wants.
I’m not okay.
So there is where I am today. And where I will most likely be for the next days. Because it hurts. But today, I have been reminded of a story in the Bible. A pretty common story.
Daniel 3. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (paraphrased)
They were three guys who loved the Lord. Who served him and only him. But there was another ruler…King Nebuchadnezzar. The one who required his subjects to bow down to his image. This was a problem for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They refused. Because they would not bow down to anyone other than the one true God, our God. And so King Nebuchadnezzar told them he was going to throw them into the fiery furnace if they refused. And their response was “throw us in if you must, but we won’t bow down to you. Our God can save us from the flames, but if he doesn’t, HE IS STILL THE ONLY GOD WE WILL SERVE. HE IS STILL GOOD”. (whoa). But in they went. And when the king and his soldiers looked in, they saw four men…not three.
There are three reasons why I think God has continually brought this Bible story to my mind today. 1. God is good. Even when the flames are hot and the fire is overwhelming. 2. Yes, God could have prevented all of this pain from happening just like he could have prevented the three boys from ever having to go into the fire. Which is sometimes hard to even say. We don’t like to think of God like that. But he isn’t caught off guard. 3. Sometimes the fires will come. Sometimes we will be thrown into the fiery furnace. Sometimes we will go into the fire. But we aren’t going in alone. In the fire, God is right there. Through the tears…through the pain…through the cuss words we scream at him..He is there…collecting our tears in bottles because he cares for us.
Today I sat with my head bowed and my eyes closed beside the faculty and staff of PRS as we start our 21 days of prayer for Pike Road School. We are in the fire. Thrown right into the furnace. With pain and flames around us. But not alone. We have the fourth man with us. The fourth man walking through the flames with us.
It would be an honor to have you join us in praying for our students, our school, the community, and the families of the three sweet students who are sitting at the feet of Jesus right now. Satan WILL NOT have foot in our pain. We will hurt, but we will hurt and seek the help of our Jesus. Satan does not win. He will not win.
If you want to join us, please search 21 Days of Prayer for Pike Road Schools on Facebook and ask to be a member. It would mean the world to us. Every day you will receive a prayer and verse to pray over our school and community.
No, I am not okay…my heart is overwhelmed…..but I will shout my ‘why’s’, I will cry my tears, I will crumble inside, but I will keep my eyes on my Jesus.
**Praying for PRS** ALL IN