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Faith - My Own Experiences

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Faith -  My Own Experiences
 
  There have been many times in my life that I have walked by faith.  Some of those walks have been simple ones, while others have been profound proclamations of God's love for me.  In the summer of 1999 I went to Texas with our boys, and my husband remained  in Virginia Beach to get our  house ready for sale.  In December the house was sold, but we found there were no affordable  places to rent.  The boys and I were stuck in Texas for a while.  We then decided it was time for him to get out of the Navy.  I helped him by putting together a resume for him and sending them out to major companies here in Texas.  Then, came another twist and turn in our plans.  He was selected for the rank of Chief Petty Officer.  We then decided it was best to stay in.  The boys and I would remain in Texas until school was out.  We really had no clue what we would do from there.  When school ended, my husband was out on a five week deployment.  I packed what I could from our apartment into our mini van, and put the rest into storage. I was heading back to Virgina Beach to be with my husband! Some family and friends thought I was crazy.  People were telling me that I should not do this.  We had no home and no clue where we would stay.  We had no idea where his next orders would even be.  But, I KNEW that I was to be with my husband, and my boys were to be with their father.  I also KNEW that God was telling me that he would work everything out, to trust him.  This was FAITH.  Before I left, I ended up with money for the trip and to provide hotel costs for a while.  My husband would be coming back to port shortly before Father's Day.  I was determined to have our boys there by Father's Day.  We ran  into so many delays.  It was getting late on Father's Day, and he suggested that I just wait another day.  But, I was going to get them there even if it was late in the day! I was driven and compelled by that voice inside of me saying "they must be with their father today."   We arrived that night.  It turned out to be the last Father's Day my boys would spend with their father.  The following October 12th, he was killed in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen.  Sometimes God speaks to us in our hearts, or we think it is just something inside of us saying to do something, but we ignore it, or we blow it off as nonsense.  But, when we ask God to take our lives and be in control, we have to trust that our lives indeed ARE IN GOD'S HANDS.  I knew I was to listen to what I was feeling inside of me.  If I had not listened, my boys would not have had that last Father's Day with their dad. 
 
   So, we arrived in Virginia Beach on Father's Day of 2000.  My husband took some leave time, and we drove up to Pennsylvania to see his parents.  We spent some of our time in hotels, and some of our time at his parents in PA.   We were waiting on new orders.  He would be leaving the Cole in three months.  Our plans were for me to set up home where his new orders would be.  He went out to sea on that last deployment August 8, 2000.  I went to the Navy Lodge in Bethesda, because he had new orders in Maryland.  For some reason, I felt that wasn't where I was supposed to be. I didn't like it as much as the Navy Lodge at Patuxent River (PAX River) where we had stayed before.  So, I checked out and went to the Navy Lodge at PAX.  It seemed that there was one complication after another during the next two months.  We were trying to get base housing ahead of his arrival.  We were told that we could, but it never played out.  Rent was out of the question, much too expensive in that area.  So, we decided to buy a house.  I was having to go through all the process of buying a home by myself, with three boys, in a small room at the Navy Lodge.  I was beginning to question God!  I asked him, "What ARE YOU DOING? If you don't get me out of here, I'm going to go crazy!"  The closing on the house was delayed to October 25th.  But, at least I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.. or so I thought.  On October 12, I woke up to a day unlike any I had ever had.  I didn't normally turn the TV on in the mornings. My mornings were too busy making sure our oldest got ready for school, and then all of them loaded up and off to his school on time. But that morning, it was like I was doing something, and yet I had no idea why I was doing it.  Have you ever had a moment like that? I was literally picking up the remote to the TV and thinking to myself, "Why am I doing this?" Even as I sat down on the bed with the remote, I had the strangest feeling. I turned on the television, and flipped through the channels, stopping on FOX News.. as if that were what I was supposed to do.  The next instant, I heard the lady talking about a ship being bombed.  My heart sunk, and somehow I knew.  Then she said, ".. a destroyer.."  and my heart sunk even further.  Then the words came out, ".. the USS Cole."   I don't remember much in those following moments.  But, I can tell you that I knew my husband was gone.   The previous few weeks, God had been moving in my soul like never before in my life.  I didn't know what was going on!  I called family and friends and told them, "I don't know what is going on here.  But, I feel like God is right here next to me. I can't explain it.  I know something big is about to happen, but I have no idea what."  You see, if God had not done that.. if I had not felt the type of experience I felt during those few weeks.. an experience I cannot even put into words...  I cannot tell you how I would have reacted to the tragic news of the Cole's bombing, or how I would have handled my husband's death.  I can only tell you that I know it would not have been the same.  I had FAITH that God was with me, and would see me through it, only because of the experience he placed upon me during those few weeks prior to his death.  Believe me, I am not saying it was easy.  There were days it was very difficult, and days that I would get angry at God.  But, I was always brought back to the peace in my heart, a type of reassurance telling me that I do not know all things.  God DOES know all things! I cannot see what is ahead of me, but our Father in Heaven does!  Who am I to question? I should not question, though I often do (and don't we we all?).  But even then, he always responds with understanding, love and grace.  Our relationship with our Father in Heaven is much like our relationship with our earthly father (or at least, how it is with most earthly fathers).  As parents, we love our children.  We want what is best for them.  Sometimes though, we have to do things that our children do not understand.  Often when we tell our children that they cannot do something, they think we are just being mean and awful parents.  But, the facts are it is something we know will cause them harm.  Being children, they cannot understand that.  That is how it is with us and our Heavenly Father.  We simply do not understand.  We don't understand because we cannot see.  We have to trust and have faith in our Father.
I cannot see what is ahead in my life, or in my boys lives.  But, God allowed their father to leave his body and come to be with Him.  I can only trust that there has to be a reason why God allowed that to happen, rather than intervening.  There is something ahead for our boys.  I know this, I trust this.  I trust because of my faith.  It is what I do not see, but what I know in my soul, that God has a plan for their future... a plan to use them, and to take what was meant for evil.. and use it for good.
One thing too, I'd like to mention.  All that time God kept me in that Navy Lodge, and I thought I was going to lose my mind... He had a reason for doing that! Again, something I could not see before hand.  Yet, once October 12th arrived, I could clearly see why.  God was protecting me and my family from what He knew was ahead. Because I was on a Navy base, reporters could not get on the base without my permission.  The base commander asked me if I wanted to speak to them, I told him "no", and that was that. They were not allowed on, and I did not have to deal with them.  Because I was in the Navy Lodge, all my calls were screened at the front desk.  I gave them a list of people who could be put through to my room.  Anyone who wasn't on the list, would not be put through to the room.  I was given time with my family, away from reporters and the public, to get through those first days.
Had I closed on the house when we were supposed to have, that would not have been the case.  I would have had reporters all over my lawn!  Remember that FAITH is what we cannot see, but what we know is promised, a promise of hope from our Father. 
 

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  (NIV)