I took all the children with me to vote, not just to the polling station but all the way into the booth with me. Showed them the ballot, explained the proposals for our state. It was a long ballot, and they were extremely patient as I filled in all the little bubbles for about 10-15 minutes. Little Man proudly fed my ballot into the counting machine and we were each given an "I voted!" sticker. I got tears in my eyes as I solemnly told the children, "thousands and thousands of people have died for the right to do what I just did." Our daughter, especially, felt the weight of that, as this is the last general election before she too will be voting.
We sat down that evening in front of the TV, each of us with our electoral college map and several blue and red crayons. We popped popcorn and anticipated coloring huge portions of the map red. Which of course we did, just not the most populated sections.
When Romney took an early lead the children were ecstatic! We muted the TV in between "state calling" and played games. When a new state was ready to be called, we un-muted the TV and ran to get our crayons. The mood was very upbeat and fun.
By about 10:30 we realized that it was going to take much longer to count Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, so we put the boys to bed, promising to tell them first thing in the morning who had won. We let our daughter stay up with us.... we prayed.... we watched.... we listened.... our daughter picked up on the obvious media bias toward Obama (yay for critical thinking!!). The three of us pondered the possibility that we might not know for several more DAYS who had actually won.... and prayed that it would be decisive and we would know that night.
God answered that particular prayer with a yes, but most of the other ones with a no. We were completely stunned when the TV commentators announced that Obama was our 44th president. The mood in our family room was instantly deflated. I felt myself going very rapidly through the stages of grief... first denial, then anger, then bargaining. We watched to the bitter end to be absolutely sure. Finally, acceptance and just an overwhelming sadness.
I was very saddened in the morning to have to tell our boys that Obama had won. They thought at first that I was joking. After breakfast I gathered the children together and had a very serious conversation with them about what this could mean for our country and for us, as a family. I am not much of an alarmist, but I do not want to be unprepared, nor do I want my children to be unprepared for the trials that are sure to come. I do not know in what form they will come, but they will come. Each of the children prayed... such heart felt and honest and simple prayers. How God must love the prayers of children!
Later that morning I posted this to facebook:
So, so sad for the future of our country, and for the future of Israel. As I listened to Obama's acceptance speech, so well written and delivered, it struck me how at odds his words were with the *actions* he has taken during these last 4 years as president (wanting to leave our children a country free of debt, yet wracking up the largest deficit in history, declaring we had the strongest military in the world, while actively working to dismantle it, etc..) and I was filled with profound sadness for my children. Hubby and I turned off the TV, clung to each other, and prayed like never before... begging God's forgiveness for how we as a nation have turned our backs on Him, affirming outloud the truth that HE is in control, not Obama, HE is Lord of the universe, not Obama, we put our trust in HIM, not in Obama (or any man). I went to bed, still sad, but with a less heavy heart. May the Lord help us to cling to truth, and to have the courage to stand strong for HIM during the trials that are ahead.
One of my friends, who supports Obama and his worldview, encouraged me to take heart, and said she was sad that I was sad, to which I replied:
Don't be sad that I am sad. Be sad that our country has so turned its back on the God who, by His providence and grace, allowed it to be formed in the first place. My sorrow is not over Romney's loss, nor even over Obama's win, exactly. But over what his win MEANS for our country. How he will interpret his win, and what may be irreparably done in the next four years. There will be decisions that harm us as a country that cannot be reversed. There very well may be sovereignty lost that cannot be regained. My sorrow is for my children ~ that they will grow up in, and inherit, a country far different than the one I grew up in. One that is increasingly hostile to their faith, and opposed to their deeply held, biblical beliefs. I do take heart, because my hope is in the Lord and not in any government! But in studying American history as intentionally as our family does, it is deeply saddening to see the erosion of our country from within. I am not speaking just of specific issues on which we both know that we disagree, but also on the very foundation of our government itself. I'm glad we can agree that God is in charge, and because He is, I trust that He is allowing what will come, and that He will be with His children as they go through it.
That first post-election day was a grieving day for me. I got very little else done. But Thursday morning, I woke up galvanized for action! If this was, indeed, a wake up call to God's children, I heard it loud and clear. I am awake! God help me to be more faithful to you, more faithful to my husband, more intentional with my children. Help me to be more aware of what my government is doing, more mindful of world events, more dedicated to sharing God's good news with the lost, more compassionate to the hurting. Help us as a family to be prepared for financial hardship, to be prepared to defend our faith, not just in big ways but in small every day ways. Help us to be READY for what comes next, whatever that may be. Awake, watchful, and ready.
And most of all, help us to be ready for our heavenly bridegroom. "When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand! All other ground is sinking sand."