A line was drawn in the sand dividing the past from the future. That single moment of time reminded the entire world that the future is unpredictable, unknown…
just one moment, one day, one event can change everything.
Words like Terrorism, Code Red, and Homeland Security became a part of our everyday language. Terrorism has two meanings. As a verb: the use of violence and threats. The other is actually our response: a state of fear and submission. FEAR captured us. It kept us glued to the TV, wondering what would happen next.
Do you remember where you were that day? Do you remember how you felt as you watched those towers fall, and listened to the stories of victims?
I was with a friend, trying to figure out my future. Months earlier, God asked me to resign from the church I was pastoring. I had no idea why or what was next. God simply asked me to clear my agenda, be ready to go wherever He led. Sunday, September 9th, was my final service as pastor of the church. Two days later, on Tuesday, 9-11, as I watched and listened, I felt an overwhelming call to go. Exactly 2 months later, on November 11th, 2001, I arrived in NYC for the experience of a lifetime!
We worked with Red Cross, FEMA, Salvation Army, Nino’s Restaurant, and did street evangelism.
I felt like Forest Gump! It was surreal.
We were working the Salvation Army food tent in Ground Zero and the actor who played Dad on The Wonder Years asked us to help deliver drinks to Rescue Workers. So my friend and I had a 5-hour tour of Ground Zero on a golf cart! We stood on the very edge of the cavity left by the Twin Towers. It was so huge! The trucks looked like toys. Next thing we knew, hands on our hearts, we were part of the dedication ceremony of a Navy ship that was leaving for Iraq. We even had the privilege of viewing Ground Zero from an upper landing where only families of the deceased could go. Most amazing was listening to people’s stories and sharing Jesus.
My 2-week trip became a 9-month expedition.
I arrived home the day after Thanksgiving. The Pastor of the Lambs Church of the Nazarene called and asked me to help with a Christmas outreach to 9-11 victims. Five days later, I packed my Jeep Cherokee, kissed my hubby good-bye, and drove solo from Mt. Vernon, Ohio to Times Square, NY. Of course, I arrived just in time for rush hour!
The Church was hosting a Christmas Store, where displaced low-income workers from the WTC area could come and select Christmas gifts for their families…for free!My job was to set up and operate a Christian Counseling and Resource Center. I trained volunteers from churches across the country to be counselors and evangelists.
In 3 weeks, over 2500 families came through the Christmas Store. Hundreds received Jesus as their Savior.
I remember a man from China who had never heard of Jesus Christ. He was so excited about being saved. He kept exclaiming this is wonderful! This is great! He was anxious to read his new Bible and teach his children what he had learned about Jesus dying on a cross for their sins.
I remember a family of 5 from Honduras, standing around one of the little 2-foot square tables we used in that counseling room. Their voices filled the room like a choir as they recited the prayer of salvation in perfect harmony.
I remember sitting at the table talking and praying with people in that counseling center. Through the glass doors, I could see dozens of people sitting in the waiting area, watching us pray, holding their bags full of Christmas gifts. I remember thinking, “they could just leave with their Christmas gifts and be done with it. They are free to go.”
But they waited for their turn to receive the real gift of Christmas: Jesus Christ.
When I think of all those faces in that waiting room, I see distraught faces of every color, longing for truth and hope.
The reality is that in just a single moment of time, LIFE CAN BECOME 9-11.
Our lives can seem perfect, and then: an accident, a diagnosis, a divorce, a death, a job loss, a missing child, sexual abuse, painful news that seems too great to bear, a catastrophe…and the towers of our life come crashing down. In those moments we wonder:
What am I supposed to do in this situation?
I HAVE A 911 STORY. On June 22, 1994, the 1st tower fell: I learned that my husband was sexually abusing my daughter. The 2nd Tower fell 1 week later: August 3, 1994, he committed suicide. My daughter and I have discovered that by sharing our story, we can heal and help others heal…and reduce the risk of abuse.
GOD HAS A 9-11 STORY!
On a Friday in the year 30 AD, God drew a line in the sand that divided history. The 911 MOMENT: His Son, Jesus Christ was crucified and died. Three days later, God resurrected JESUS from the dead. In that single moment of time, EVERY PERSON was offered the hope of SALVATION. With that salvation comes forgiveness, healing, freedom, hope, eternal life.
We don’t know what the future holds, but because of Christ, we can face the future with FAITH INSTEAD OF FEAR.
My personal response to the Terrorist attack on our country still amazes me today. Why would I think that I had anything to offer the people of NYC? And yet, I was not the only one!
United by a common mission, thousands of ordinary, everyday people like myself responded to the need. Hundreds of miles from home we arrived as strangers, reporting for duty. We left as friends…
As a Country, America became a COMMUNITY. It was obvious everywhere we looked: this 911 crisis UNITED us: to take care of those who were suffering and in need.
But in the midst of it all was THE CHURCH.
Though it was situated on the brink of disaster, the centuries old St. Paul’s Chapel provided the perfect respite for the rescue workers. It was a beacon of hope shining in the night, a memorial of candles and flowers, teddy bears and cards, love letters and signs, posters and poems, sent from loved ones and people all over the world. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen!
It’s a vision for us as Women…WOVEN INTO A TAPESTRY OF LOVE.
We have so much to offer our community! God is uniting our hearts for a greater cause…to meet the needs of the greater community.
I love this PRAYER from Ephesians 1, The Message:
“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do,
grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule.
And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church.
The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.
The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.”
Lord God, Unite us. Equip us. Send us. We Are Woven Women.