A new sound has been cataloged in our minds, one we never want to hear again. The explosive "Pop"s of gunfire have been burned on our consciousness and left a trail of testimony to the day God directed.
The boys and I had headed to the Hill to document the shut down from their perspective. After forlornly looking at favorite memorials from behind barricades we headed to see Matt at work.
My next stop was to walk them over to the Capitol for a few pictures, but they were enjoying a snack so we stayed put for a bit.
And that's when "Pop! Pop! Pop!" sounded off in the streets. Out the window, police were running, firing guns, yelling. Matt and I needed no discussion as we moved in unison throwing boys behind desks and ducking for cover.
What were they shooting at? Was anyone shooting back? Harrison screaming, I'm shaking, Matt's praying, more yelling outside, sirens wailing, Jefferson playing iPad, Wils in my arms, crouching, waiting, silence, praying.
We stay put under desks, behind furniture, below windows waiting for the all clear and the lock-down to be lifted. Matt's awesome co-workers make worried boys laugh and distract from the end of life in the streets below.
The gunshots stop and the chaos seems to calm. We recite favorite verses - Leviticus 26:6, Psalm 56:3, Matthew 22:37. We start learning details and the terror of the first long minutes slowly subside.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt God directed our steps that day. The steps that lead us into Matt's office and kept us there. And He held back the steps we had planned to take right through that intersection.
We are all perfectly safe and covered with peace. Harrison was shaken the most and his screams, tears, and fear broke this momma's heart. In the days following he clutched a police car toy non-stop and acted out the events with his toys on the living room floor over and over.
I wish I could protect my boys from ever having to experience the terror of Thursday, but I know God is and will continue to use this in shaping their own testimonies. I am resolute that events Satan means for evil, God uses to strengthen and grow His children and the Clark family belongs to God.
Loud noises still make us jump, sirens get our hearts racing, that intersection now creates an unsettled feeling, but that will all go away. We have a new chapter in our testimony to God's protection and guiding our steps. We have learned new ways to pray for this City. And believe it or not, we thank God for Thursday and the adventure of being in His hands.