We were threatened yesterday.

"Get out of your house or you and your children are dead" threatened.

Half a sheet of lined notebook paper, crudely handwritten, unsigned, of course, and left in the mailbox.  Menacing words, and very personal...a particular reference within the note making it clear that this was no random act.

And all because my husband, literally, helped some little girls cross the street, and let them use our phone to call their parents.  Whether the work of kids trying to stir up fear and trouble, or a truly sinister and serious threat, it's obvious that it all started there.  Brings to mind the old saying "No good deed goes unpunished."  *Sigh*

And whether it is kids trying to "rattle our cage" or a sincere criminal threat, life is not the same this morning as it was yesterday.  The police, who say that they can't do much at this point, were nonetheless quite grave in admonishing that it must be taken seriously..."we sure can't just assume it's kids."  And while I keep waiting for *someone* to say, "It's just prankster kids,"  so far instead everyone has said, "You've got to get out of that house."

Children aren't allowed outside, Billy and I are now sleeping in shifts, and I got a crash course in using Billy's shotgun yesterday.  (Too bad there isn't a YouTube video...it would actually make great entertainment.  The gun is almost as long as I am tall, and so heavy I'm pretty sure it would be much more effective if I whacked someone over the head with it than if I tried to actually shoot it.)

It would have been really nice, in the ideal world, if our children hadn't had to even be aware of such a threat. Unfortunately, life in the real world is different.  Our 12-year-old is the self-appointed family mailman, and walked back in the door reading the note as he brought me the mail that was in the box (which, by the way, is on our front porch, inches from our front door...eek) with it.  And regardless,  it would have been a bit difficult to hide the police cruiser in the front yard or the tall, uniformed officer standing in the living room.  *Sigh*  Not to mention the family meeting we had to have to lay down a few new rules for the time being, and come up with a  "safety plan"...just in case.

One of my children is particularly nosy curious.  She really feels a strong need to know *every* detail about *everything* going on in her world...all for the good of the family as a whole and the rest of mankind, of course.  So, naturally, she immediately wanted to read the note.

Unfortunately, this child also struggles with overwhelming fear.  We have just recently come to a place of calm in a three year long bout with intense sleep trauma issues.  Our children have already, at much too young ages, come face-to-face with the ugliness and evil of crime.  For these reasons, and others, Billy and I made the decision that the kids wouldn't actually see the note (other than what the oldest had already seen bringing it in the door.)

Oh, the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth on the part of our dear daughter.  Oh, the begging and pleading, the well-reasoned arguments and attempted coercion.  And all, much to her dismay, to no avail.

No amount of asking on her part...no matter the persuasive words or the (ever-increasing) degree of emotion...would sway her daddy and I from our decision.  It was one thing to "know" that there was a threat, but the actual words on paper were joltingly frightening, even for us.  There was no way that our children needed to have those words burned into their minds.  Even her older brother tried to help, explaining that he really, really wished he had not seen the contents of the note himself.

And yet, this child who is usually obedient and the most compliant of my children, persisted.  She was almost frantic in her "need" to read the note.  When I tried to explain that Billy and I had made this decision for her good, knowing it would frighten her all the more to actually read it, she insisted that it would help her to read it, that somehow that would make it all better.

I understood her feelings.  And in other situations, I probably would have agreed.  But in this particular situation, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that actually reading the words and seeing them on paper was NOT a good thing for this child, and would definitely in fact make things worse.

At one point I almost had to laugh at her insistence that she knew better than Daddy and I.  It *wasn't* funny at all, but given the "nerves on edge" state I'd been in all day plus the complete absurdity of her position by this point, I did have to choke back a chuckle a time or two.

"I just need to know what it says.  I just need to read it myself."  "No, you don't.  All you need to know is that there was a threat, and Daddy and I have given you the instructions on what to do to be as safe as possible.   You just need to obey, and Daddy and I will deal with the rest."  "But Mom, I really need to read it."  "No, you really don't.  Daddy and I don't want you all to read it, because it would only scare you worse, and there is no reason for you to read it."  "But, Mom, you don't understand.  I will be less scared if I can read it.  It won't make me more scared."  "Mom and Dad have a responsibility to protect you.  I know you want to read the note, but God has given you parents to decide what is *best* for you and to do it.  We can't allow you to do something we feel would be bad for you."   "But it isn't bad for me.  It would help me.  I know it would!"

At that point, it was as though a lightening bolt struck.

In the pleading and cajoling of this child, I suddenly heard myself as God must often hear me.  No matter how many times He tells me that He is working all for my good and the good of my family, no matter how many times He tells me that He sees the big picture and I don't need to see any more than He has shown already, no matter how many times He tells me that He is God...Almighty, Sovereign, Sufficient God of Love, Mercy, and Grace...I continue with my own absurd responses:

"But this is terrifying, Lord.  I'm scared."

"My children are going to be scarred for life, Lord.  I can't watch them go through this."

"I can't wait any longer.  We've waited long enough.  We need an answer *now*."

"I feel like we're in an interminable desert, Lord.  We can't do this anymore.  We have to have resolution."

"If you could just assure us that this is all going to work out, Lord.  I need to know what is going to happen."

And the whole time, God is gently speaking, over and over, while I continue to try to talk over Him and persuade Him that...just this one time...I really know what is best.  And if He would just listen, and do it quickly...it would all be okay.  Or if He would just show me the next step...or two...or maybe the next ten years...

But He continues....

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.And we know that God causes  things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." ~ Genesis 50:20

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." ~ John 14:1

"But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired." ~ Isaiah 40:31 

"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." ~ Jeremiah 31:3

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." -1 Peter 5:7 


The words of my daughter are a mirror, reflecting my own pleading, cajoling, and yes, absurdity...in the face of an All-Knowing, All-Loving Father who has promised to meet my every need, and work every detail out for our good and His Glory.  

And just as I lovingly instructed my daughter to do, I need to stop...

Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
                  and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
       and He will make your paths straight.
~ Proverbs 3:5-6

holy experience

Linking up with Ann today, after discovering as I was writing this post that she is inviting us to share how we have recently experienced God in our lives...visit, read, and share at A Holy Experience  today.  


Anonymous said...

Oh Jenbh. :( I'm so sorry to hear this. Praying that it is just a prank!

Sarah said...

What a tough, tough situation. I'm praying.

And I thought your application to yourself was really good. Thanks for sharing.

Debbie said...

Jennifer, what a horrible and frightening experience! I will be praying about your family's safety. It's awful thinking there are people like this but this is our world today unfortunately.

It's amazing how in the midst of this scary experience, you learned something like how we must seem to God. Instead of trusting Him for what's good for us, we question or at least I know I do at times.

Be safe and we'll be praying.


大陸 said...
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Pam said...

I needed to read this today our family is under attack in a few other ways, to long to explain here ...it hurts to see my children who are young adults have others who are attacking them, when they have no reason other than trying to get revenge...like I said a long story ...along with I have many health issues that makes it difficult since I cannot work to help out with getting a job to help pay for bills ..another long story why my husband left a business he help start 17 years ago...to no job...but He needed to follow what He knew God wanted him to do, be out of a business where God was not first and where others were hurting, my husband was trying to change things but had no back up from the other owners...there eyes were blind from the wrong that was going on...I am very proud of my husband and I know that God will continue for our family as He has in the past. Almost all the verses that you wrote on your post are verses that I claimed earlier this morning through tears.
music is so important and a great reminder to me of who He is...so as I listen to Praise music and am filled with the message of Hope renewed I am going to go and rest in His love...
Blessings and I will be praying for your families safety~ May God put a hedge of protection around each one of you,
In His Precious Love

Kecia said...

OH my goodness, Jennifer!!! How scary. But how amazing that you were able to pull spiritual truth from the situation. Rom. 8:28! Praying for you & sending you love--