It was about time she called. I had been eyeing the clock and nearly four hours had passed since my parent’s had left with my kids early that morning. They were on their way to the river. My mom always called or texted when they were halfway and then again when they arrived. This time, I didn’t get a “we’re halfway” text.
“Darla..?” I could tell by the low tone of her voice and slowness of her speech when speaking my name that something was wrong.
“Yes…”I waited patiently for her response.
“We made it to the river, but you’re never going to believe what happened…” A sense of uneasiness came over me. I pushed my cell phone closer to my ear, as if that would make her spit it out any faster.
“We stopped at a Jack-in-the Box to get some breakfast and…something, something…crazy lady…More static…on drugs…grabbed Josiah…truck alarm… something, something… Amaya …static …crying…static. Something, something…scared but okay…” My frustration grew as I could barely understand her. The connection was terrible and all I could hear was static and every other word she spoke.
“Mom, I can barely hear you…what did you say?” Did she just say someone tried to kid knap my kids?
“I SAID THAT LADY TRIED TO KID KNAP YOUR KIDS!!!” Finally, a brief audible sentence came from her mouth and she was definitely shook up about it. The call dropped and I waited ever so patiently (NOT!) for her to call me back. I knew she was probably walking up a hill behind the house. For some reason you could get better reception.
“It’s me again…” She went into detail about how this whack job first approached my kids inside the restaurant. At first she seemed friendly, but then started to ask names, ages and weird questions. My oldest, Sophia, knew instinctively that something wasn’t right. She lied to the lady about their names and told my mom right away. The lady gave my mom an uneasy feeling so she decided to take my kids out to their truck while my dad waited for their food order. About half way into the parking lot, my mom realized that the woman was following them. She told them to run and to get in ask quickly as possible. The panic alarm was going off and the crazy lady was yelling lies about how those were her kids. My babes managed to get the back door opened, got in and shut the door. My mom still wasn’t in the truck. Seconds later, the evil lady had opened the back door, laid herself across the lap of Sophia and was trying to pull Josiah (six years old) out. I can’t imagine the terror they were feeling in all of that chaos; the blaring truck alarm, screaming siblings, all while watching their grandma charge the deranged woman, pulling at her sweatshirt in a desperate attempt to get her out of the truck. The image of my mom, in her 60’s, with a spine fusion and standing barely over five feet, fighting a woman in her twenties, who is more than likely spun out on drugs, is a hard one to wrap my mind around. Eventually, my dad came out and saw the commotion. They lady was pulled out of the truck and the kids locked themselves inside. More shouting and curse words were thrown around and my parents were finally able to get inside the truck as well. As my dad started to pull away, the filth in the disguise of a woman, jumped into the bed of the truck and was banging on the back window. He drove for a bit and stopped. The man the lady had been with reached up and yanked her from the truck and my dad made a bee line for the freeway.
I always pray for protection for my kids. Always. That morning I had prayed on and off all morning for everyone’s safety. And to be honest, it never occurred to me that I’d be told a story like the one my mom had. I always worried about the drive. Those big rigs that hog the two lane highway always made me nervous and so does my dad’s driving (sorry dad). This was another reminder that evil is out there, lurking in the light and “…prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
My mom said all three kids were really shook up about it, with Amaya (my seven-year old) taking it the worst. She wouldn’t eat after that and I could totally understand why. Amaya had just been through a horrifying experience with a bully, which still hadn’t been resolved 100%. She was just beginning to get to the point of being able to attend school without tears and started to sleep through the night again. The bully’s older brother, attended the same junior high as Sophia. He threw Frisbees at her, took swings at her head while passing in the hallway and verbally threatened her with things like, “I know where you live.” My prayer for my children the weeks prior to this encounter with the demented lady came from the book of John 17:15, “Holy Father, protect my babes, keep them and care for them…keep them safe from the evil one…” My mind had been on the bully, not some crazy lady who attacked my family like a rabid dog.
I can’t help but believe that God was answering my prayers that day. Perhaps he, “delivered them from the snare of the fowler…and commanded His angels to guard them in all our ways…”, just like it says in Psalm 91. I know people will ask, “Why your kids and not the thousands of innocent children who fell victim against the evil force that didn’t make it out okay?” That is something I will never understand but I do know that the bible says, “They can only kill your body, they cannot touch your soul” (Matthew 10:28). I take this to mean that God cares much more deeply about our spiritual being more so than our physical bodies. Our bodies are temporary but our souls will live for eternity. While the devil may win a battle or two during our earthly life he will never win the battle against our God-like souls.
I expect God’s protection. I also realize that it may not come as I thought it would. I realize bodily harm can be done to me, my children and all of my loved ones. The devil is very real. An evil force that comes in many disguises, wanting nothing more than to trick us into believing him. He brings nothing but darkness and lies into our lives. Tragedy happens every. Single. Day. I realize God’s plan is much more complex and uses everything, EVERYTHING, for my good…I shout praises and give thanks for the promises of God’s protection, forever and ever. Amen.