Chattanooga

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My heart is broken for these 5 beautiful babies killed in Chattanooga this week.
As I grieve a sense of loss in my own home, on a totally different scale, my heart breaks.

D’Myunn Brown, 6
Zyaira Mateen, 6
Cordayja Jones, 9
Zoie Nash, 9
Zyanna Harris, 10

My intention with this post is not to get political and to stir up anything but extra support and love, multiplied with your prayers for these families. This morning, I am so thankful that my boys are sitting at home with their sister. Safe.

I am so thankful for their bus driver, who knows us. She pays attention to what day of the week it is and knows when to drop them off at which stop. She knows which car each child should get into. She knows their names. She knows our faces even, as we sit and wait in our cars.

I am grateful that there are three parents who love these kids with a fierceness that can be overwhelming at times. I am oddly grateful for their mother today, who normally tugs at the less than positive strings of my heart and mind (especially as of late).

Tomorrow, my kids get to join my family for Thanksgiving for the very first time. I am so excited for this. But tomorrow also marks the first holiday, the first Thursday even, that the Brown, Mateen, Jones, Nash and Harris families will gather without their babes. Merely three days later.

My husband and I have updated each other on the happenings with this all week and every time I mention something, he just gasps. Silence. There are no words. Just brokenness.

I feel compelled to challenge you or encourage you to take moments out of your day today to be in prayer for the families of these kiddos. For their schools. Their friends.

I am fortunate enough that I have not had to experience the loss of a child or any children in my family. I grieved when my church family lost their 3 month old baby girl, overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness. Prayer is not nothing. Prayer isn’t the only thing you can do. Prayer is the best thing you can do.

God is real. He is alive. He is here. God is moving. Tragedies strike… way too often. But as a believer, it gives us a huge advantage to lean in and love someone. Remember that prayer is powerful. Here’s a short testimony to the way that prayer has worked in my life:

In April 2014, 276 girls from Chibok, Nigeria were kidnapped in the middle of the night by the radical Islamist group, Boko Haram. They were stolen in the night from their schools. Some girls escaped that night, jumping off the trucks that bombarded the school grounds. The rest were taken to an undisclosed location for weeks on end. 

In July 2014, my church denomination (The Church of the Brethren) met for it’s annual conference. Among the girls that were kidnapped, over 90% of them belong to EYN (the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)- so the US denomination has surrounded and covered them with love, prayer, and monetary donations. At our meeting, we spent the last night together in prayer- solid prayer. Unified prayer. Tears were shed, there was weeping, there was unity found in this room of 1200 believers- praying over the Chibok girls.

Two days later, around 65 girls ESCAPED. They were free. They were released from the grip of the face of evil. Prayers were answered. My hands are still up high to heaven as we rejoice over this answer to prayer. I don’t believe that this is a coincidence. I believe this is a direct answer to prayer.

How can praying help these families?

-They may see Jesus’ face for the first time in their lives.

-Mangled and frustrated relationships may be restored over the loss of these
precious children.

-Bus drivers everywhere will be reminded how valuable their job is. How precious  their cargo is.

-The loss of a child might tighten gaps in torn families.

-Communities rallying behind these families may bring comfort in ways we don’t understand.

So I ask that you do not sit on your hands and instead; you raise them up to our God. Our comforter. Our protector. Our shield. Our mighty fortress. Our Father to the Fatherless. Our Strong Tower. Rock. Abba. Almighty. Holy Spirit, come. Holy Spirit intercede. Hear our prayers, O God of Israel. Heal their broken hearts. Protect these broken families. Minister, comfort, wrap your arms around them. Let them see your face in a way that they haven’t before- let them SEEK your face like they never have before. Intercede.

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