It was a starry Tuesday evening in June. My family and I were at an outdoor venue. It was Country Music Night in the Park with fireworks afterwards.
The lawn area and sidewalks were jammed packed with families and couples relaxing and enjoying refreshments from local vendors. Children danced and summersaulted to the echoes of banjos and tambourines. Everyone seemed to be having a real great time.
As I looked around though, I noticed the very visible police presence. We had been to this venue a few times last summer, and I could swear there weren’t that many cops around. Ah, but that was then, and things have changed. Increased random shootings and “terrorist” attacks have become the norm in this world. The most recent in Istanbul, Turkey, and Orlando, Florida.
I wondered to myself about the potential threat here. We were in an open area. Just sitting ducks. While the young singer on stage belted his last song, Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That,” I kept my eyes fixed on the law enforcement.
When the concert was over, and we started packing our things, my two daughters who are almost eight and six asked if it was okay to go and say thank you to a group of officers standing under a lamp post. You see, my youngest has recently declared she wants to be a Police Officer when she grows up. I could tell the thought of being near an officer thrilled her.
She twisted about, excited, “Yes, please Momma. Can we go by the officers?”
I nodded. What a nice gesture. “Sure. Why not.”
My oldest turned around. “Wait! We should give them something. What can we give them, Momma?”
Caught off guard, I chuckled. “Ah, I don’t know.” What could we them? A bottled water? I didn’t know what she meant.
Her eyebrows crinkled. She was deep in thought.
I drew the purse strap over my head. “Listen, you don’t have to give them anything. Go over there and say thank you for keeping us safe.”
Suddenly, my eldest jumped up and down. “I have an idea. How about this?” She pulled a blue plastic bracelet off her arm, the one she received this week from Vacation Bible School; it read…WATCH FOR GOD.
My younger daughter squealed. “Yes! That’s perfect. How about that?”
I shrugged. “Well…”
My insides churned like a blender blade on “Chop” mode. One side of me felt joy. This is cool. My kids have such a pure rooted love for God. I couldn’t be happier. But, the other side of me was a little leery. We have become a society where talk about God and religion is frowned upon. What if they told them to beat it? It’s just a bracelet. But, it says GOD…
They waited for me to answer. Their eyes glowed with happiness. They were standing up for their faith. It’s what I’ve been teaching them all along. And, they wanted to share that and say thank you to those who put their life on the line every single day. It was the right thing to do.
I smiled and took both their hands into mine. “Okay. Remember though, you won’t have a bracelet anymore. Are you sure you want to give it away?”
My oldest grinned. “I’m sure, Momma. It’s good to give God away.”
Joy filled my heart like running water into a jug.
And with that, my two sweet babies dashed over to the group of officers. My oldest eyeballed the clean-cut, dark-haired one with the dimpled right cheek, whom by the way was very cute, and I heard her say thank you as she handed him the bracelet.
He smirked, might have been slightly embarrassed but then took the bracelet anyway, just as the girls turned and ran back to me. I crouched down and gave them both a big hug.
Later that night, I couldn’t sleep. I thought about that officer. What did he end up doing with the bracelet? Did he put it on his wrist or shove it in his pocket? Did he toss the bracelet in the nearest garbage can? Did he even take it home? Regardless, I prayed for him.
Because in the end, all I know is that…”It’s good to give God away.”
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