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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Faithfulness in the Storm

During cabin time at the women's retreat this weekend, we were asked to share a story of God's faithfulness. I shared the story below, since that day just happened to be the 9-year anniversary of what happened. I hadn't planned on printing it here since many of you already know about it, but a friend, a blog reader of mine, requested that I put it here since it truly is an incredible story of God's faithfulness:

Ever since I was little, the song "How Great Thou Art" has played in my head. It was like a CD set on "repeat." It was just one of those songs that always popped into my mind...waiting for the school bus, falling asleep at night, sitting on the toilet...

It was about nine o'clock on a cool March night. I was home with my black lab, Reagan, and Superman was gone working at Safeway. He would not be home until one o'clock a.m. I took out my contact lenses and put on my glasses (I was nearly blind without them), and gave my eyes a good rub. Ah. There's nothing like rubbing your eyes after wearing contacts all day. Yawning, I lifted the covers, snuggled into bed and took the Bible off my nightstand. By the time I was done reading, the sheets had warmed up and I let the soft coziness envelop me as I slid down into the covers. Reagan settled down on the floor next to me. I patted her head, told her she was a good girl, closed my eyes and fell asleep.

Not more than an hour later, Reagan started growling. Great, I thought. What now? I rolled over onto my back and looked toward the hallway where the kitchen light that I'd left on shone behind the figure of a man. Oh, Superman is home already, I thought. Reagan barked. Suddenly, I had a bad feeling. Reagan never barked at Superman. I reached over to get my glasses, but before I could reach them, the stranger grabbed my arm and yanked me out of the bed. I think I let out a yelp, but if I did, it wasn't much.

The man, who I still couldn't see clearly, started to drag me by my feet down the hallway toward the kitchen. My shirt rode up my back as I slid across the carpet. I kicked and yelled, while poor Reagan was so confused, all she could do was run around in circles and bark. I could see that the man had on a black mask, black gloves, a long-sleeved black shirt, black jeans and black boots. His eyes peered through his mask. What color were they? I squinted, but I just couldn't tell. He was so strong. My ankles stung from trying to twist them out of his grip.

We reached the kitchen. Without hesitation, the intruder straddled me on the floor and with his left hand grabbed a butcher knife from our knife holder. I immediately stopped making noise and trying to get away. Oh, Lord, I thought. He's going to kill me. I thought about Superman coming home to find me dead on the kitchen floor. My lower back was pushed into the linoleum, and I felt a pinch of pain from the awkward position. I frantically tried to think of anything I could do. Then I felt the first slice. It was on my left arm. I could hear the fabric of my shirt tearing. My mouth was so dry, my lips felt glued together. I was crying uncontrollably. Another cut. This time on my stomach. Then my leg. But wait. He wasn't cutting very deep. He's not going to kill me, I thought. Oh, God, he's going to rape me. I tried to prepare myself mentally to be violated in one of the worst ways possible. What would I do? How would I react? How would my husband react?

All of a sudden, a song came into my mind. Oh, thank you, Lord, I said to myself. I belted out loud, "Oh Lord, my God...when I in awesome wonder..." It stopped. The cutting stopped. The man sat on top of me, stunned, and dropped the knife. He ran out the laundry room door. As soon as he was out of sight, I ran next door. Reagan ran behind me. My neighbor, Rick, answered the door. "Shanti! Are you all right? What happened? What happened?" I must have looked like a tornado hit me. I was so hysterical, I could hardly vocalize what had happened: "A-A-A man---he-he-came--{Superman} isn't h-h-home..." Rick, a correctional officer, brought me inside where his wife, Preet, ran to my aid. "That f---king bastard!" Rick yelled. He got his gun and went to our house to look for the intruder.

Preet called 911. She told the operator that an intruder had been in my house. The operator asked to speak to me. I didn't want to speak to anyone. I just wanted to be in Superman's arms, safe in his arms and away from the situation. But, I spoke to her anyway. "Are you OK, ma'am? Did the intruder hurt you?"she asked. Did he hurt me? Well, my physical wounds were superficial. But emotionally, I didn't feel too swell. "No, I'm okay," I replied. "Ma'am, the police are on their way. You'll hear a helicopter in a few minutes. Do you need an ambulance?" "No," I replied. Wow. A helicopter. We lived in a new neighborhood, where there really wasn't much of anything except corn fields and a few new subdivisions. I figured the helicopter was coming to search the fields. I just wanted Superman. I hung up on the 911 operator and asked Preet to call him at work. I was still too shaken up to talk to him.

Within ten minutes, the police showed up. I still couldn't see. I asked if somebody could please get my glasses for me. I didn't want to go back into my house. The police started asking me questions: What did he look like? I didn't know. As I said, I'm practically blind without my glasses. I asked again if somebody could please get them for me. "They're on my nightstand," I said. "Is there anyone you know who might do this to you?" they asked, "Did he have a distinct smell? Did he say anything? Were there any tattoos that you could see? How do you think he got in?" Too many questions, I thought. Can't I just have a few minutes to gather myself? And why wouldn't anyone get my glasses?

Superman arrived. I felt so relieved. I had felt so alone, even though I was surrounded by a dozen people. He held me in his arms, just what I needed. Someone brought me my glasses.

"Ma'am? We're going to have to take some pictures now," one of the officers said. I felt like I was in a movie. There I was, my favorite pair of flannel pajama bottoms sliced up, my new shirt from a race I'd run in the week before destroyed, and my face stained with tears. The last thing I wanted was to have my picture taken. But I stood there, and stared blankly at the camera each time it flashed.

I felt like an idiot. I couldn't answer any of their questions. The only thing I knew was that the intruder was around six feet tall and had a muscular build. I had locked the front door, but had left the door from the garage into the laundry room unlocked. Stupid. He must have picked the lock into the garage and then just walked right in. Everyone felt so safe in our neighborhood. I shouldn't have been so naive. I should have found a way to hit him in the groin. There were a lot of "I should haves" running through my mind.

The police said they needed my clothes and were going to take the knife to check for fingerprints. One of them gave us his card and said to call him if I thought of anything. They left, and Superman and I headed back to our house. There was black fingerprint dust all around from the police checking for fingerprints.

Since Superman was home, I felt much better. But my house felt different. It didn't feel like the safe, comfortable home that I had always thought it was. It felt cold. I wondered why this had happened. I believe everything happens for a reason, so I was curious. What was the purpose of this? Maybe by my singing a traditional Christian hymn, the intruder would turn his life around. Not likely, but possible. Maybe he just thought I was nuts, so he took off. Maybe I just needed a kick in the pants. Maybe since Superman worked at a job where he was unhappy and just couldn't leave, he needed a valid reason to go. (And he did.) There are many reasons why this could have happened, and why I got out of it completely safe and relatively unharmed. All I know for sure is that the Lord proved His faithfulness that day. That song, that wonderful song, that had played in my mind over and over, had been there for a reason. After that day, the song disappeared. Don't get me wrong--I still love that hymn. As a matter of fact, I start crying every time I hear it. But, apparently, there's no longer a purpose for it.

I am so thankful to the Lord for protecting me that night. He was with me. He will never forsake me. And He IS with me 'till the end of the days!

12 comments:

GB's Mom said...

Awe-inspiring!

Christy said...

Wow, Shanti,

Thank you so much for sharing this. I would say another purpose in it all is just so you can be an incredible testimony of God's love and faithfulness, and of your love for Him!

:)De said...

Wow!! I am sorry that this happened to you and so glad that you were armed with the protection of God. It is faith in our Heavenly Father that keeps us. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Wow, that is an incredible story. What an awful thing to happen, so glad you escaped with your life!

Sally- That Girl! said...

I can't even imagine! But I can imagine God's grace upon you! Thank you for sharing such a personal story that must have been hard to relive as you typed. What a great testimony to our Father!

wideopenspaces said...

wow. my favorite part is that the song no longer runs through your head. He gives us what we need when we need it. thank you for sharing.

Melanie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad that you were not hurt worse and that you were saved by singing that Hymn. The Lord was with you and He rescued you. How awesome and what a wonderful testimony that in our darkest hours He is there.

Blessings,
Melanie

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing Shanti. I can't even imagine. It always amazes me that we are given exactly what we need when we need it.

Rachael said...

How truly terrifying! Incredible that he just left like that.

Britts said...

Oh my gosh! I don't know what to say except, wow! what a miracle! Who wants to go through an experience like that, but what better way to experience God's protection. Whew! Your strength is inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

Robin said...

I still get chills when reading that story. I'm so sorry that happened to you, but so glad you persevered.

staceyz1966 said...

I remember when this happened, Shanti. I was so scared for you and so proud of you at the same time. I always knew you were a sweetheart...but that's the day I was convinced you truly were an angel!

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