It was a beautiful Tuesday morning in the Bay Area, I was 9+ months pregnant. I was 4 days from my due date. – It was September 11, 2001.
Many years later and it still feels like yesterday. The phone rang at 6:30 and again at 6:45, Still asleep we ignored the calls as probable telemarketing and slept a little longer. At 7:30 we got calls again and decided to check it out. As I woke, I told my hubby, “I think today might be the day she is born”, with a smile, he agreed…. then we checked our messages.
A friend of ours worked at a government site in the area and was on lock-down inside. His wife was worried and calling for us to pray… she quickly explained what was going on…” We flipped on the TV and began to watch the incredible, horrible scene that had just been played out. I will never forget as my hubby now said, “I’m praying for today NOT to be the day we meet our baby!”
Flight 93 was on its way to San Francisco, the news was real, it was raw with the list growing as names were released of those who had lived in the Bay Area. A youth pastor at the time, I spent all day on the phone comforting youth who were crying, scared and confused. Glued to the TV, I watched in disbelief as our whole country went on lock-down. I got a phone call from my family saying that a young man from my home church in Portland had been on the plane that went into the 2nd tower.
With tears, we held our loved ones close, and for a moment in time, as a country we forgot our differences and banded together. I will never forget the day when congress stood united together. Powerful. In the days to follow, we had daily prayer meetings at lunch time, watched as President Bush and Rudy Giuliani became our heroes with their courageous leadership. All airports were shut down.
I prayed that my baby would now wait until airports opened up. My mom who was in Portland, became my hero and took a flight to the Bay Area on the first day that airports re-opened 4 days later even though a precious young man from my home church in Portland had been on one of the flights that went into one of the World Trade Center towers. Eric Hartono. I never knew him but this got close to home. Also, our whole SF region was shaken as many on the flight headed here gave their lives that day. I had lived for 3 years in San Ramon just down the street from one of the heros who took the 4th plane down. I remember how nervous I was for my mom bravely getting on that flight on first day of flying again , as fear gripped our hearts about the future of air travel. But nothing could stop my mom coming for the birth of her first grand-baby. My new hero.
I need to tell you though how God works:
A month earlier, my husband had gone on a missions trip with our youth to Romania. I was 8 months pregnant at the time and stayed behind to work. I waited at the gate with him and watched as he walked onto the airplane. Little did I know this was the last time I would be allowed to the gate as a non-passenger. I remember, being stricken with fear and sorrow as he left, to the point where I cried two weeks straight and could barely get out of bed. At work, i prayed all day long to keep my mind off my husband and the unexplainable grief I felt as he was gone. I was on the phone everyday to my parents asking them to pray for me as I could not shake this feeling of grief. I could hardly breathe for 2 weeks. It was crazy. As soon as my husband returned home, the feelings lifted and joy returned.
Some of my tears had been fear I allowed in of the “what if’s”, some of it was sadness because I wished was on the trip as well, But on the evening of 9/11, God reminded me of my experience. Tears streamed down my face again as God showed me how he had allowed me to experience deep grief so that I could pray for and help minister to those who had in fact just lost a loved one. How thankful I was that day to have my husband sitting next to me. I am so grateful for the countless heroes who gave their lives in service to our country so that I could be free. I still tear up when I hear the stories of the families who were broken apart. AND The terror and fear of MANY WHO NOW FEARED THIS.
On 911 I was prepared, and healed from anxiety as God has walked me through that dark season a month earlier- I was prepared and spent hours that day and week ministering hope to others who were now afraid and shaken!
10 days after 9/11 I drove with my husband past bridges, houses, and business on every block that had U.S. flags flowing…. and gave birth to our beautiful first baby girl. Erika Danielle. So very thankful. I now have 4 beautiful children and a wonderful blessed life serving God with my husband.
Never underestimate the power of being healed from a dark place. Anxiety attack- that’s what it was, but it was so real. God healed my soul so that I could share hope and victory to others. If you are in a dark place, lean into God! Let him renew your thoughts and give you a hope! And if you let him, he will use you to pass that healing on to others!
This weekend as we remember 9/11, hold your family close and tell them of the faithfulness of God in your life. Never forget how God has blessed us! Never forget the hope we have in Jesus! Never forget to enjoy life. It is a gift!