So, I've been thinking about how being a mom has changed me - in particular the instinct I feel to protect my baby. I know some of this is natural and that all moms feel this way, I guess it is just really different from the ways that I used to feel. Here's the most recent example.
We have been living with my mom since we returned from Iraq while Jeff looks for a job. She lives in a good neighborhood right down the street from an elementary school on the good side of town. Early Saturday morning, about 2:30 am to be exact, I was awakened by a VERY loud CLACK CLACK CLACK! CLACK CLACK! I sat straight up and knew it was gunfire. It sounded like it was right outside the window. Jeff told me not to go outside because he was sure it was gunfire too. Fortunately, it didn't wake H up and so we just looked out the window and waited and sure enough a few minutes later several police cars showed up. After a while the crime van showed up and Jeff decided to go out and ask the cops what had happened. They confirmed that it was a drive by shooting at the next door neighbor's house. One man was shot and taken to the hospital but they expected him to be fine.
As the story unfolded, we figured out that the people living next door (they moved in a couple weeks ago while we were in PA) were strippers (the house is for sale) and the realty company just put someone in the house to make it look like the house was being lived in. Anyway, an ex boyfriend followed one of the girls home from work and he is the one who fired the shots. Last I heard they hadn't found him yet. There are always several people at this house and the girls I've seen there have at least 2 young children. Anyway, the point of this story is that my first instinct was - get these people out of here! I don't want them to live anywhere near me or my family.
Since this incident we've heard one of the girls outside screaming obscenities at someone and there have been several huge tatooed dudes hanging around. I was praying yesterday for these girls and this family and I just realized... that's as close as I want to get. I want to pray for them, but I don't want to go over there, I don't want to meet them and I definitely don't want to take my baby over there. Really, I just want them to go away so that I don't have to worry about some crazy ex boyfriend coming around my house with a gun again.
I didn't used to feel this way. I didn't really feel afraid when we were in Iraq, and I used to spend time with people who were homeless or prostitutes and I wasn't afraid. I guess I just feel like I don't know how to balance these new instincts that I feel with the Gospel. I know in my head that fear is just a lack of trust in God and His character and I know that safety is only an illusion and that whatever God allows my family to endure he will give us the grace to be okay and that it will be okay. I know that even if the worst thing happened, that God would still be good and we would still be okay, but I still feel this inward cringing when I think about the other night and my sleeping baby upstairs.
I don't know if this makes sense or if other parents resonate with these feelings... I just wanted to be honest about how I'm feeling and what I'm praying about right now. So, pray with me for our next door neighbors, for their children, and for our role in all of this. I want to be willing to go over there... but right now, I'm just not.