We live in tornado country. My girls know what to do if the sirens go off, whether they're at school, on the soccer field or at home -- find the lowest spot with the most walls and the fewest windows between you and the outside and hunker down. Thankfully, we've never seen a tornado in close proximity.
But yesterday as we heard about and watched the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma, my girls realized that all those drills they do at school, all the talking we do at home are about something that could really happen. As we heard that two elementary schools had been hit -- one flattened by the monster tornado -- my girls truly understood that a tornado can hit, and it could hit their schools or our house.
It's a scary moment when the veil of invincibility is lifted from your eyes. Kids think they are untouchable. They think bad things only happen to others. It's one of the things that allows kids to be fearless. It's one of the things that allows them to trust without reservation. It's one of the things that makes them kids.
But in every child's life, there comes a moment when they realize that they could get hurt, that they could experience something bad. It happens at a different time in a different way for each child, but it is a moment when a little piece of what makes them children gets stripped away.
When that moment comes, we can allow fear to overwhelm our kids or we can help them put things in perspective. The truth is that any one of us could die today. We're not promised tomorrow, so we have to make the most of today. God has numbered our days, and it's our job to live them to the fullest while we have them.
But that doesn't mean that we live each day in fear that it will be our last. It doesn't mean that we raise fearful children. It means that we teach our kids that while we're not promised tomorrow, we are given this one extraordinary life to live to fulfill God's purpose for us. We don't have to worry about tomorrow because God has it under control. We don't have to live a life filled with fear about the future because God is with us as we take each step. 2 Timothy 1:7 says "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
I can't promise my kids nothing bad will happen when they walk out the door of our home today, but I can promise them that no matter what happens God is there with them.
If your heart is breaking like mine as you watch the images of parents waiting for word on their children, say a prayer for the community of Moore today and consider donating to the relief efforts through the American Red Cross.