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The Great “I AM” – Surviving the Colorado School Shooting

by Paula Thompson on March 13, 2014

A day in December 2013 was honestly was one of the scariest days of my life.

Sure, there was a day in October 1976 when, as a 6th grader I was riding my bike to school and was struck by a car. Up until that point that was the worst thing imaginable. Yet, I was virtually unharmed.

There was a day in February 2000 that I was told that I had a rare tumor on a nerve headed straight for my brain. Yes, I was very scared but I had a peace that I could not explain; I knew I would be alright regardless of the outcome.

There have been many days that I have been truly scared, like the day my dad died in 1995 or when my house was broken into but I knew that my Creator had it all under control. Well meaning people said that these things happened to me because of a lack of faith or that I was somehow being punished, but I knew that the Great “I Am” cares about who I am and where I am.

Those who listen to Contemporary Christian radio have probably heard a fairly new song out by David Crowder called, “I Am” and in this song he sings,

There’s no space that His love can’t reach. There’s no place where we can’t find peace…I am holding on to you….in the middle of the storm I am holding on, I Am.”

On that day in December 2013, I was in the middle of a storm. Those very words ran through my head, providing me with comfort because I knew that the Great I Am was with me as I made myself as small and invisible as possible and hid from the storm.

praying-womanThe following is an excerpt from a blog on my website describing some of what was going on during that horrific day:
“So there I sat, alone in a dark office, I could hear yelling, I could hear people running, someone rattled the door to the office…who was trying to come in, the shooter or police checking to be sure the doors were locked? The fire alarm went off and I wondered, “is this an ‘all clear’ or is this a ploy by the shooter to get us all in the hallways?” We all have been trained since kindergarten to evacuate when we hear the fire alarm, I waited and listened. An announcement was made to stay put “we are still in lockdown.”

There, alone, in that dark locked office as I heard shots fired and wondered, “Who is coming into this school and shooting OUR children?” I knew that the Great I Am was there with me. As I was holding on to Him, He was holding onto me. I clung to the knowledge that as someone was trying to harm our students and staff I was going to be alright.

“This can’t be happening, I thought. I prayed…Finally the police began evacuating us. Had it been 20 minutes or an hour? I had lost all track of time. I grabbed my cell phone and car keys, my school badge was around my neck. We were instructed to walk fast with our hands in the air as we exited the building…all the while SWAT had their guns trained on us…I’ll cry later, I thought.”

Admittedly, the days and weeks that followed were some of the darkest of my life. I would cry for no reason. Scream and yell as I processed the fear and anger. Weep for the lives lost that day and for the rest of us whose lives have been forever changed. Was the Great I Am there with me? Yes, He was squished under that desk with me somewhere between the tiny refrigerator, my giant tote bad and some desk chairs. Although evil was in the school that day so was God’s great grace.

Having knowledge of His grace and knowing the Great I Am was with me is what has gotten me through the scariest day of my life so far.  It still brings me such joy and strength to face a world that is flawed and at times feels unfair.

We must all cling to the knowledge that God IS with us even when it feels as if He has abandoned us…He hasn’t. The Great I Am is holding on to you!




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