As with most Americans, September 11, 2001, started as usual for me. The boys were babies, so my mornings began early with diaper changes and feedings. By about 7:30 (CDT), they were settled, playing with toys. Then, I would grab my breakfast and turn on the television to get the weather report and news. I flipped on the Today Show and saw the towers.
By this time, both planes had crashed, and smoke billowed from the gaping holes in the buildings. At first, I wondered what movie was being promoted and thought that the special effects were over the top. I turned up the volume to hear Katie Couric and Matt Lauer explain that this was indeed real. Two hijacked planes had been flown into the World Trade Center.
Over the next few moments, a flurry of emotions swept over me.
First, I felt fear.
Who had done this? Why? What would happen next?
Then, I felt sadness.
My thoughts turned to a school in Tribeca, not far from the towers, where, two years previously, I had observed teachers. Most of the parents of children at that school worked in the Financial District. Were those children watching their parents die?
Next I felt helpless. I yelled at the television, "Those towers are going to fall. Get those people out of there, NOW!!!" I wanted to fly through the TV screen and rescue those who were trapped but could only watch.
Then, the worst happened. The South tower fell. The North followed. Smoke and debris flowed through the streets of lower Manhattan like a tidal wave as New Yorkers ran for their lives. The world stood still. I was paralyzed as this horror unfolded before my eyes. I felt sick and numb with grief. I knew that the United States of America would never be the same.
A few years earlier, two different towers fell.
Near the end of my first year teaching, I learned I was pregnant! Finally!!! We had been praying for a child for two years. After facing month after month of disappointment, we had finally conceived. How great our joy! I finished out the school year and resigned. There was no returning to work for me; I would finally be at home with my little baby.
We bought our first house. It was a beautiful, older home in a neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It had been lovingly cared for and retained its original Victorian charm. There was a wrap-around porch and a gorgeous foyer which led into a cozy library. The library had a fireplace, original light fixtures, and built-in bookshelves and window bench; it was a dream. It was going to be the most beautiful nursery that would later be the most beautiful homeschool classroom ever!
Soon after we moved in, I started experiencing pain in my lower abdomen. I kept calling my doctor and was told it was normal and to take it easy for a few days. Then the spotting started. Once again, I was assured this was common and was told to prop up my feet for a while. After a few days of this, I insisted on being examined and was checked into the hospital. As I lay in the hospital bed, feeling pains that I knew were abnormal, I was still being told that everything was okay. I didn't believe it and was consumed with fear.
About an hour later, I miscarried. I was 12 weeks into the pregnancy, but that was far enough along for me to see a child, my child. He had little arms and legs and blue dots where eyes were forming. He was fully human but seen as no more than a fetus by the hospital staff. Instead of him being carried home to our sweet nursery, he was placed in a Petri dish and carried off to a lab. I had never experienced such sadness.
My doctor encouraged us to try again, and we faced eight disappointing months before conceiving for the second time. This baby, however, only lived to 8 weeks gestation.
Over the next year, there were four more times that a pregnancy test gave a positive result. However, before I could get to the doctor for an exam, I was no longer pregnant. The doctor could not determine if I had miscarried or if those tests had been false positives. I was beginning to feel helpless.
My OBGYN suggested it was time to begin testing. She sat with me in her office and explained the possibilities; she wanted me to be fully informed before I began the process. It was her best guess that things didn't look good for me. She wanted me to be prepared to find out that Michael and I would never be able to have biological children.
That's when they fell… those two towers I mentioned earlier. They were the towers of my hopes and my dreams. Disappointment flooded me like a tidal wave. My world stood still, and I was paralyzed by the thoughts that I would not have what I had wanted for so long. I felt sick and numb with grief and worried that I would never be the same again.
But as I looked through the dust and debris of my fallen towers, I saw that "The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." Prov 18: 10 This does not mean that I will never experience injury, insult, or heartache, but I am forever safe. Jesus is my strong tower, and His Kingdom will endure forever.
Furthermore, Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I had to come to terms with the fact that the hope and future that Jeremiah wrote about is not wish fulfillment. My hope and my future is Jesus. And I am to pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
The true prosperity of which Jeremiah wrote is that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 8:38-39 Our Sovereign Lord reigns, and by His grace alone I am forever His. Nothing can destroy that.
So whether we face national disaster or personal pain, may we run to Christ alone. May our faith not waiver in the face of trials. But may we instead, by God's grace, persevere and proclaim , "The LORD giveth, and the LORD taketh away; blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:21