unexplainable tragedy happens, it is essential to have
something that is bigger than human comprehension."
will always have the scars, yet scars are not a bad thing.
They tell the story of someone who has gone through battles
and made it, some who has fought and conquered and someone
who ran into the arms of a loving God."
April 20, 1999, a time when a school became a battle zone. Columbine
High School was invaded by two student gunmen who stormed into the school,
killing eleven students, one teacher and then turned the guns on themselves.
The library, the place where most of the killing took place, was where
I was at that day.
During the shooting, I remained hidden under a library table as the
gunmen paraded across the library, shooting and killing everyone in
sight. My section was the deadliest section of the library where everyone
surrounding my table was killed. At one point, the gunmen came over
to my table and saw me crouched underneath. For reasons that remain
unknown, they passed over me and left the library. As I saw them leave
through the cracks of my table, a feeling of relief swept all over me--I
was alive. Although the tragedy was over and I was able to get out safely,
four years later, I still bare the scars from the war zone.
Recently, a team known as Torch Grab Ministries and I were in Germany
ministering in Erfurt, the location where a student killed 18 people
as well as himself. We also went to another German town, Stuttgart,
and spoke in several of the schools, encouraging teenagers against violence
and inviting them to a Christian youth rally that was to be held that
weekend. In one of the schools, after I had spoke, loud pops began sounding
off in the distance. The sounds made my head spin, as I kept scanning
the room, being taken back to April 20th. It seemed as though time stopped
as I was wondering if this would be another horrible tragedy to go through.
Other people started picking up on the noise and also began scanning
the room. Overwhelmed, I ran to the bathroom. Tears began crawling off
my cheeks, "God, Iím so scared, Iím so scared." My mind flooded
with flashbacks as a familiar face entered the bathroom. Nancy, one
of our hosts, stood with a concerned look, "I heard the noises.
Are you all right? Iíll go and check what they are." I waited in
the restroom until she came back, "Itís only firecrackers."
Again, relief swept all over me.
years after the tragedy and Iím still affected by it. Although I have
never received counseling, panic attacks are a norm for me. I have had
to overcome many fears as I continued to relive the moments of that
solitaire day. Because of the terror I was exposed to that day, I may
never be the same.
My mind is marked with the scars of having my innocence shattered. Although
this could be an excuse to remain hidden and not move on with my life,
I have chosen to do the opposite. I have had the opportunity to go around
the world and speak, sharing my story to thousands of people. Through
this, I have been involved in seeing several lives being changed. April
20th, the most horrible experience I have faced, was able to be turned
into something good. The scars I carried from what I witnessed, were
the scars that spoke to many.
unexplainable tragedy happens, it is essential to have something that
is bigger than human comprehension. I believe that something is God.
God has a way of turning tragedy around. Jesus Christ died but through
His death, life is available. Through tragedies occurring in my own
life, God has been able to turn them around and allow good things to
come out of them.
Maybe you are sitting here reading, you havenít witnessed a school shooting,
but you could offer a list of tragedies in your life-parents getting
divorced, abuse, death or the effects of sex or drugs in your life.
Whatever it may be, you have a choice. You can continue to live in the
past, reliving the tragedy, or you can allow God to take it and use
it. God is able, if you let him, to wrap His arms around you, to pull
you close and wipe away your tears. All you have to do is run to Him.
After the shooting happened, no one understood how I felt. No one could
see the depths of my fear, except for God. He was able to be there for
me like no one else could--He wants to be there for you. You will always
have the scars, yet scars are not a bad thing. They tell the story of
someone who has gone through battles and made it, some who has fought
and conquered and someone who ran into the arms of a loving God.
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