Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Halfway Across the World

It has been 5 years since a tragedy hit half way across the world. 5 years since I thought I was going to be a single parent. It was the scariest thing I had ever been through and thinking about it now makes me shake. Even though I know the outcome and God's amazing timing, tears still creep into my eyes when I think about that day. Writing this is tough but it reminds me how amazing God is.

Jeff was on deployment in Japan. He had been there for about 7 months but was beginning his journey home. I spoke with him the night before and he said they were to fly to Tokyo and catch a flight to California the next morning. I went to bed as I normally do but my morning was anything but normal. My phone began going off around 5:30 am, if I remember correctly. Text messages asking if Jeff was ok and if I had talk to him recently. I was so confused until I got a phone call from a family member. I honestly don't remember who it was because their question was what stuck out to me.

"Is Jeff alive?"

When I asked why they would ask such a question, they told me to turn on CNN. By this point, I knew, in my gut, that something was terribly wrong. When I finally got to CNN and saw what was going on, I nearly lost it. An 9.0 earthquake had occurred and sent a tsunami straight to Japan. It hit Toyko the worst. I couldn't take my eyes off the TV screen. All I could do was pray. I just wanted him to be alive and ok. Of course, I had no way to reach him because his phone was off because they were traveling. I stood in shock.

I was quickly brought back to reality when I hear Callee talking over the baby monitor. I had to pretend everything was fine because she was only 16 months old. She wouldn't understand any of it. I turned on cartoons so she wouldn't have to watch the devastation they were showing in Japan. I acted as normal as I could, praying the entire time that he was ok and he was coming home to us. I knew I could be a single parent but my whole life would change. How could I live without him? How could Callee grow up without a dad? Why would God take him from us?

I spent the morning relaxing and playing with Callee while fielding phone calls and texts from everyone who saw the news. Several people would say that the news was reporting that all US military personnel was accounted for and that I shouldn't be worried. I had to tell them that wasn't saying that all those personnel were alive. They would tell the families of a death before blasting it on the news. It was difficult for me because I wanted to rely on God to keep Jeff safe but I wanted to question God's timing on this entire ordeal. WHY? WHY? WHY?

I forced myself to get ready and head to Tyler to visit my aunt in the hospital. It was roughly an hour drive and I prayed the entire time. About 5 minutes from the hospital, I received a text message from a number I didn't recognize. Since I didn't (and still don't) text and drive, I waited until I parked. When I read that message, I burst out crying! It was from another Marine's wife stating that Jeff was alive and ok! She had heard from her husband and they relayed a message to me because Jeff knew I was going crazy worrying about him. I felt instant peace that I know only God could provide!

I was able to talk to him later that day to verify that he was, in fact, alive and fine. His travel plans had changed at the last minute but he wasn't able to let me know of the changes. Instead of Tokyo, he was sitting on an island, enjoying the beach without a care in the world. Typical Jeff.

Looking back on that day, I know I should have trusted God more. I should have put the entire ordeal in His hands from the very beginning. I was too stubborn and worried more about me than anything else. God reminded me that He has control over everything. He knows what's going to happen before it ever does. He kept Jeff safe because He had bigger plans for him. A lot has happened in 5 years, including several moves, a new house, and a new daughter. None of that would have been possible without Jeff. God knew what He was doing but I couldn't see the bigger picture. I'm glad I get to do life with Jeff by my side because I don't know what I would do without him. I don't know what I would do without God by my side either!

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

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