Writing was set on the back burner for the past week as I've been busy with hustle and bustle of a busy Christmas season as most of us have been. There's the ever thriving agenda of ministry during Christmas with church plays, school plays, skits, sermons, parties, meetings, practices galore, planning, outreaches, then of course my own personal rush to write papers, study for my final, attend other various Christmas and birthday parties, prepare for my upcoming two week vacation, while wrapping up our final youth agendas for the year. This morning as I woke up early and I sit in my chair with a cup of coffee I'm taking a deep breath and realizing the final push is near. This time next week I'll be sitting on the side of a mountain with my Bible and journal waiting for the sun to rise and talking to my Best Friend on the day that we celebrate as His birthday.
There's something in the atmosphere on mornings like this with coffee in hand and silence in the house that force reflection. Perhaps it isn't just the busyness of the week that has kept me from writing. Quite possibly I've just been at a loss for words.
Friday great tragedy struck. As I heard of the news I found myself in tears and continue to have periodic moments throughout the day that bring up similar emotions; sorrow, confusion, anger. I don't have a child that I birthed, but I have many children. I had kids in Lubbock, kids in Liberty, and now Ville Platte that have called me with affectionate names ranging from granny, maw maw, grandma, to mommy or mom. To some of those kids it's just a name to jump on a bandwagon and to a few it is truly expressing the connection of the heart that God has given us.
As I went to bed friday night I could not sleep, but rather I stayed awake weeping and praying for my kids. I prayed for my youth group, for other youth groups I've been involved with, I prayed for the schools and teachers, and all I wanted to do was be in a room hugging my kids.
For many people the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season was put on a dramatic halt as their loved ones were lost. Spouses, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, sons and daughters. They have faces, they have names, they had personalities and dreams. Though I have great emotions from this tragedy I will continue on with my Christmas plans and life as usual as obviously the other 5,000 people at wal-mart yesterday chose to do as well, but for some, there will not be "life as usual".
I haven't spent a lot of time reading the updates or watching the news on this because at this point I'm just not ready to listen to arguments about gun laws only four days after precious lives were lost and I'd imagine the families involved feel the same way. Instead I'm asking the Holy Spirit what can I do to make a difference?
As a teacher at Liberty Independent School District I prayed daily for our schools. I'd walk the halls at 5:30 AM before morning practices praying for God's presence and protection over our students and teachers. I'd walk through my locker room praying for the Holy Spirit to convict our young people of sin and lead them to Jesus. I'd pray in the mornings, lunch breaks, passing periods, or anytime I really felt led to do so. Everyday I saw the need for Jesus in the lives of our young people.
Now as a youth pastor I'm not in the public school here near as much as I was before. I have to humbly in repentance admit I don't pray for the local school daily anymore, but what if we did. What if I did? What if you did? What if in every city, in every school district, there were people diligent and dedicated to lifting up our schools in prayer? I'm not saying that this alone is the answer to our problem, but I know it's a part that I can play, I know it's something you can do. I know that Jesus said if you ask anything in my name, you shall have it. It's time for Christians to make praying for the young people in our nation a PRIORITY. Praying for them, for their teachers, for the administrations, and schools.
Let's find our part.
Be Blessed, J. Tate