They say that there are times in your life when something happens, maybe wonderful or maybe tragic, that you will remember all your life. September 11, 2001 was one of those days for me. I don’t remember much about other dates in history but that September morning will be forever etched in my mind. I still remember so vividly my boss calling into the office and told us to turn on the TV. I remember thinking it was crazy because I had plenty of work to do without the TV on. As watched the events unfold on the television, I stood silent. I wavered between anger, fear, relief and confusion. Mostly, I stood in numbness. This would be the first national catastrophe I would experience as an adult. It was defining. I stood motionless for what seemed like hours. I remember that the office was eerily quiet. There were no phones ringing, the sounds of typing had vanished. It was as if time was standing still and yet moving all too fast at the same time. The next few hours were filled with tears as I wept for dads, moms, children and others that were giving their life. I wanted to be there. I wanted to make a difference. I did not have children at that time…in fact it was the month before we would find out we were pregnant. I believe God had placed in me a mother’s heart that day as I grieved for the mom’s who were losing their children…young and old.
The most defining moment for me came not that day, but a couple days later. Heath and I were scheduled to leave on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic at the end of September. We were put in the position of deciding whether to fly out of the country or stay put. In those first few days after 9/11, there was so much hurt and fear in people. It was a gut wrenching choice for us to make. On one hand, we could stay here. We could keep our feet on US soil where it was familiar and felt safe, even if it was a scary time. Or we could venture to the unknown…to the heart of fear it self. We made the decision to go. We had already been to the Dominican Republic once and we knew God was calling us there again. This trip was originally supposed to happen in January 2001 but was pushed back to September. It was if God was placing the pieces together to allow us to turn completely to Him. All our family made it clear that they were worried or scared or just plain didn’t want us to go…at least not now.
We made the decision to go. We knew God had planned this trip and it was clear in our hearts He wanted us there. The conversation with my grandmother is forever etched in my memory. She had told me she wanted me to stay here and that there were too many unknown risks. I thought for a moment and responded with this: ‘I suppose there are always risks, I am just more aware of them today. But if I know I am supposed to go, then I have to go. And if something were to happen to me, God knew already’. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to say. The words came out easy but in my heart, I believed it. I knew God knew my future. I knew he wanted me to board that plane. I knew.
Obviously, we returned safely and a couple weeks after we arrived home we had a huge surprise…we were pregnant. I again experienced fear of the unknown but I knew God had plans for me…and now our family. I still struggle with the knowledge that God’s hand is directing me and I strive to hear Him daily. It is in times of remembrance that I ponder how God has allowed me to live my experiences and continue to grow in Him…even being the imperfect person that I am.