Edit: This is part 2. To start at the beginning, CLICK HERE.
October 28, 2012
The call. That dreaded storm call. Every lineman’s wife cringes when the phone rings and there is a major storm brewing somewhere. We all know what it means – days, nights, weeks, or more, will be spent alone, worrying about our husbands and trying to carry on the day-to-day stuff by ourselves, as if nothing is wrong at all. We juggle jobs, kids, grocery shopping, family events, and whatever else life throws at us, all while continuously praying for our husband’s safe return. (And trying to avoid reading the stupid comments on the Facebook pages of electric providers while checking for updates.) This call was different though. I was almost 40 weeks pregnant with our third child, and the storm brewing was a combination of a two different storm systems colliding on the East Coast – Hurricane Sandy. She would later be nicknamed Frankenstorm. We both knew the ramifications of a storm like Sandy could take him away for weeks. Weeks that we could not afford to go without a paycheck with a third baby joining our family. We had been discussing it since Friday and had decided he had to go. Friday had been our warning. It had given us a chance to prepare ourselves a little and realign our weekend so that we could spend as much time together with our boys as possible.
Rewind to the previous Friday morning, October 26, we were told he would be leaving Saturday morning more than likely. At first, I accepted the news well. I was probably in denial more than anything. I knew though, that he had to go, and whining wouldn’t change that. We decided to head into town to pay some bills and go by the courthouse for early voting. We stopped at the end of our driveway to check the mail, just as we do nearly every Friday. Inside was an envelope with no return address. I assumed it was a card for our little one’s impending arrival. However, inside I found a prayer written by an anonymous friend. To this day, I don’t know who wrote it. I have a few suspicions, but it doesn’t really matter. I just hope that sweet friend reads this and knows that we had to stop the car and hold one another and cry over it. It could not have been better timing. It assured me that someone wasn’t just giving a comforting answer of “I’m praying,” but was genuinely invested in our family and cared enough to let us know this, but at the same time this person was so humble as to want to take no credit for it. When they put that prayer into the mail, they had no way of knowing exactly what God had planned or how it would be used to comfort us that day. Hopefully that sweet friend is reading this though, and knows how much I appreciate their kind words. I keep that envelope tucked away and still read it from time to time.
Well, Saturday came and went with no call. We started to relax a bit, but were also trying to prepare ourselves. Then Sunday rolled around. We skipped church to be together at home, knowing he could be gone for a while. The call finally came that afternoon. He would be leaving from their usual hotel the next morning. That was absolutely the hardest goodbye ever. God must have carried him out that door because I know he wouldn’t have been able to leave any other way.
The next few days passed in a fog. The boys were wilder than usual, I was more exhausted than usual, and I was mostly numb. People would ask what we were going to do, and I would shrug, and say, “We’ll just wing it.” I found myself saying over and over,”It’s just part of the package.” “It comes with the territory.” I knew when I married him this situation was a possibility, but every linewife prays it never happens to her!
But I felt loved. Loved by friends. Loved by family. Loved by church family. Loved by strangers. Texts, Facebook messages, hot meals, frozen meals, and offers to babysit poured in. (I know people thought I was crazy, wanting to keep my two wild toddlers at home all time, being so exhausted, but I couldn’t hardly let them out of my sight. They kept me from falling apart.) I was so amazed though, at all the prayers and kindness from everyone. I am so thankful for every person that took the time to check on the boys and me, ask how Steven was, or pray for us. I’m pretty sure all the prayers are what kept me from going crazy. I assured Steven that even if he didn’t make it home in time, we would be well cared for, and he didn’t need to worry. I felt God’s arms around my family like never before. In those moments where I wasn’t numb, I was at peace. Being at peace with a situation I had no control over was definitely God’s doing! I can be a bit dramatic when things get hectic, so for me to be at peace with it was strange.
Throughout that week, Isaiah 43:19 played in my head, over and over.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and springs in the wasteland.”
On Wednesday night I took the boys trick or treating with my parents, yet another holiday (Ok, maybe it’s not really a holiday, but it’s a fun tradition for us.) without Daddy. It was fun, but bittersweet.
Ok, maybe it wasn’t ALL fun. 🙂
I still had no idea how it would all turn out, but I saw God’s hands at work.