An Alarming Event and a Flurry of Emotions

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“The principal at the Harrisburg High School has been shot…” Words something like this penetrated my brain as I was writing in my office. My husband was watching a TV program in the living room when it was interrupted by this announcement.

My heart pounded as I joined him. Two of our grand-daughters go to that school. Our bodies tensed as we listened to the story unfold that a 16-year-old boy shot the principal. When we heard the boy was restrained and the students were all ok, we sighed with relief. Thank You, God, for their protection!

The story our grand-daughters heard was that the boy walked with a gun into the office and aimed at the principal’s chest, but the vice principal tackled him. The shot caused a flesh wound on the inside of the principal’s upper arm instead of a direct blow to his chest. The vice principal and an athletic director held the boy down until the police arrived.

We hear of these school shootings, many of them fatal, across the nation, and our hearts cringe and ache for the victims and their families and friends, but it gouges deeper into the heart when it is closer to home and loved ones were in the same school as the shooter. Somehow, many of us thought it would never happen in our own backyard. Harrisburg, SD, is a small town about 10 minutes south of Sioux Falls.

What possesses these teenagers to threaten and take lives of others? Yes, some say it’s all due to the sin that lies within us. But isn’t there something deeper happening in their hearts and lives? The boy’s father said his son has been more quiet this past year and is angry at everyone. Why? Did something trigger it? Apparently, the boy got in trouble at school on the Friday before and was to meet with the principal on the following Wednesday.

It’s scary and so devastating that teenagers, in reality still children, act out in this way. I can’t help but wonder why. I know that even teenagers are responsible for their actions and must give an account for the bad choices they make. But I still can’t help but wonder if something happened in their lives that turn them to such rage or mental instability to make right choices. I have heard also that a teenager’s brain is hyperactive at the impulse center but underdeveloped at the decision-making center. It’s so sad when it plays out like this. My over-analyzing character kicks into high gear at times like this. I can’t help but see that when children inflict such pain on others, they have some deep, hidden hurts that they don’t know how to deal with. So I pray for the shooters, too.

Some may think I’m protecting the guilty when I think this, but really not. I just can’t help looking past their actions into what lies in their hearts and lives. It just feels like there’s some deep pain, fear, or rejection in these teenagers’ hearts that boils to the surface in anger. What possesses their minds? Do they realize the pain they are inflicting on victims? Do they ever wish they could do that day over?

Of course, no matter how much pain there is, this never gives anyone the right to inflict pain on someone else. One of these troubled teen shooters can devastate so many lives. Lives lost and lives forever traumatized. Heart-wrenching losses of loved ones. Children who feel paralyzed with fear and never feel safe again. Family and friends who tremble every time they send their children to school. Nightmares. Returned bed-wetting. Storms of emotions. All victims and their families desperately need our love, support, and prayers.

Even though this shooting was not fatal as other shootings have been, it traumatizes students, teachers, and families. The students returned to school the next day as did the principal himself. But some students are scared. Am I safe? Will this happen again? I was happy to hear there are counselors in place to help students work through their fears and emotions.

I read an article that a group of students gathered together around the flagpole before school. They held hands and prayed. This warmed my heart, especially since this is a public school. The principal was on the news saying his deep prayers are with the shooter and his family. I feel grateful that mention of God is still allowed in the local news.

My heart still tenses or shudders to think of what could have happened to our precious grand-daughters and their fellow classmates. My mind races with “What if…” But I try to grapple those thoughts with thanking and praising God and praying even more for the protection of our loved ones and our youth in general.

This scary event awakens me to be more diligent in praying for children everywhere, not only my own loved ones. There are many days I forget to ask God to reach children everywhere and give them hope in Jesus. A friend who directs the Hopeline for troubled teens once told me that there is such an increasing number of teenagers today who call in because they’re ready to commit suicide. They feel so hopeless, unloved, and worthless. That’s so heart wrenching, isn’t it?

It tears my heart out to think of children and teens feeling this way. Behind the scenes and not always on the news, many suffer abuse in one way or another, often within their own family. Or bullying from their classmates. O God, please help!

A debilitating sadness and fear are battling with thankfulness and praise in my mind and heart. I feel like a torrent of tears is ready to crash through the dam of being strong and courageous. Why do I feel like I need to be strong? Why don’t I just sob it out? Why don’t I pour all this grief and fear for children in this world out to a precious Savior who invites all children to come to Him and who can work miracles in the hearts of anyone?

Let’s gather our hearts and prayers together for children, including teenagers, everywhere! Let’s remember to ask Jesus to bring more and more of them to be anchored in the only hope there is in Jesus. That their fears may be soothed, their cares unburdened to our Savior, their eyes opened to see their precious worth in the eyes of Jesus.

Jesus loves the little children

“Jesus Loves the Little Children”

Lord, please show
children everywhere
how precious they are
and give them hope in You.

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

12 thoughts on “An Alarming Event and a Flurry of Emotions

  1. Hi Trudy! Oh my gosh, this really is close to home for you. Of course, we NEVER think it’s going to happen around where we live, or to people we know. But that is, of course, flawed thinking. There’s nothing special about where I live, and pain is everywhere.
    Mental illness is so misunderstood and underdiagnosed. And the nature of the disease leads to non-compliance with treatment. It really is a tough thing. I think we have to pray for the shooters and for the children who will be scarred for a long time. Were your grandchildren okay? I hope they weren’t anywhere near the situation.

    And God bless the vice principal for taking such swift action. There’s a hero right there.
    Blessings to you and yours,
    Ceil

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    1. “Pain is everywhere.” So very true, Ceil. And yes, mental illness is so misunderstood. Even stigmatized. Yes, praise God, our grandkids are ok and were not the ones passing the office or in the nurse’s room at the time. It’s going to be much harder for them. Thank you for your caring concern. May the love and grace of Christ Jesus give you strength and peace for each day! Hugs!

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    1. I’m Trudy, but thank you, Angela, for joining in prayer for our young ones. I’m glad you were encouraged in spite of all the pain around us. May God continue to encourage you with His love and grace in Jesus! Hugs!

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  2. Oh Trudy, such a devastating occurrence so close to home for your loved ones! And often there are no clear answers to the multiple questions in our minds. Life is cruel and sin far-reaching, but damaged and hurting people are also liable to want to lash out – and for some it means hurting innocent bystanders. It may sound like a weak response to such events but prayer really is our most powerful weapon to wield. Jesus loves the little (and not so little) children, and He wants to heal hurting hearts and restore damaged lives. The more we can pray and seek to point others to our Saviour, the more we can take a stand to help prevent these things from happening. I’m so pleased your granddaughters were unharmed and escaped relatively unscathed, although some mental scars may remain to sour their otherwise carefree school days. Praying and thinking of them, the pupils and their families and the perpetrators who I believe need God’s mercy and grace even more than they require justice. Blessings of peace to you and yours. ❤

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  3. Trudy,
    What a frightening day for you until you heard that your granddaughters were okay! These school shootings are so numerous lately and I commend you for praying for the others in these tragic situations. I tend to wonder why, too, when I hear these news stories, but knowing that our only source of comfort and peace is God is what we can cling to. So so happy to read that your granddaughters were safe, Trudy! Prayers for you and your family! xo

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    1. Yes, it was so frightening, Valerie. Thank you so much for your prayers and caring love! Oh, how true that “our only source of comfort and peace is God.” We don’t always understand everything going on in our lives and those around us, but I can’t imagine life without Him. Praying Jesus will wrap you in His arms of love and peace! Hugs!

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  4. I’m so sorry to hear this awful news, Trudy! That assistant principal is a hero. I’m like you in that I pray for the shooters as well, especially their families. I too always wonder what they are thinking and what kind of overwhelming pain they’ve suffered in their lives. Many prayers for your family and the entire community surrounding this tragedy! XO!

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    1. Thank you for your caring, understanding, and prayers, Candace. I just can’t imagine the agony it would be to have a son turn to violence like that. How heartbreaking that would be! May God be our Refuge and our Strength through all the storms of life! Hugs!

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  5. Trudy,
    Oh, I am so sorry this happened. I’m glad the shooter was stopped before more violence was done. I’ve been thinking lately about how many of these shooters are male teenagers and how they don’t know how to deal with their anger and their pain…God have mercy on them and on us and yes, to pray for our children …all children….for God’s mercy and grace to change hearts from anger and hate to His love.

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    1. Thank you, Dolly, for caring. It’s so extremely sad how many male teenagers don’t know how to deal with their pain and anger. My heart breaks for all children. Yes, we need God’s mercy and grace so deeply. Praying His love will cast out all the hatred in all of our hearts! Hugs!

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