Stones of Remembrance
Testimonies of God's faithfulness through the years
Written by: Holly Schmidt
The sound was horrifying. I had heard that tornadoes sounded like a train as they approached their target. It is true. This swarming mass of wind coming at our French Door windows really did sound as if a train, multiple trains, were hurling at a mammoth rate of speed towards our house. The sky had turned an eerily blue, like how the lights of a police car light up the night sky as they flash that turquoise light at you when you are supposed to pull over.
That same type of adrenaline that rushes through your body when seeing headlights of an emergency vehicle behind you on a dark country road flooded through my body. The tree, 25 feet from where I was standing, bent over to the ground.
I hadn't realized it before, but tears were running down my cheeks. I was standing at the windows looking out. I had just come from upstairs. Tommy had turned 3 years old a few days prior. He was sleeping in his crib on the second level of our town home - next to the windows.
Who wakes up a sleeping baby? Friends had been calling me to tell me to take cover. A tornado was heading our way. The lights had already gone out as the storm raged around the house. I stood at the foot of the crib and prayed.
"God, do I wake him up and move him downstairs?"
A peace fell over me. I knew I was to leave him there. He was safe. It made no sense then and 25 years later still doesn't make sense. But now, I have learned more about that still small voice and listening and obeying even when it doesn't always make sense.
So, there I stood. Watching. Praying. Tears dripping on my face.
As the power of the tornado moved closer to where I was standing so did the power of God. I never thought about it. I didn't pray for it. I just felt it coarse through me. This power.
I begin screaming - in tongues - in a language I did not know. I didn’t plan it. It just happened. Words flew out of my mouth that I couldn't comprehend in my mind.
I spoke these words, loudly and with an authority that was not my own.
"Lift in the Name of Jesus. LIFT."
All of a sudden it was over! Silence. Deafening Silence.
Four months prior to the tornado, Tom and I and our close friends, Lisa and Carlos, were in the living room of our small town-home. For several years prior, my life consisted of Doctor appointments, physical, occupational, speech and group therapy. When you have a child with a disability, your life revolves around a very detailed schedule. We weren't sure we could handle another child but the desire to add to our family was growing. We wanted though to know it was God's timing.
After all, our marriage started out rocky as I was pregnant when we said, I do. It was me getting pregnant though with Tommy that actually led Tom and I to Christ. We knew that we wanted to raise our family in the church. We didn't have any idea what that looked like, so we memorized several prayers and began praying them faithfully daily.
My prayers had changed quite a bit in four years. I moved from reciting The Lord’s Prayer several times a day (a prayer I still say often) to really asking God about every detail of my life. I was learning to listen too. Although the thought of hearing God seemed so foreign to me. I was virtually unchurched. I had attended church off and on growing up but mostly because someone took me, or I wanted a social event, or I was visiting my grandmother.
The evening we prayed in our living room, I gave God my list. Number one on my list was asking him if I could get pregnant with my second child. I sure didn't ask the first time. This time though I knew God should be a part of it. I don't know what I thought would happen. Yet I knew, just somewhere deep inside of me, that I would be pregnant in four months. I never would have said God told me or anything even remotely about God and the timing of my second child. I j felt peace and knew in four months I would be pregnant. Was this hearing God's voice? I didn't give it much thought. I just trusted Him in my prayers.
That Sunday morning of the tornado I felt different. On the way home from church, I couldn't wait to get home. We had stopped to eat Chinese food and while waiting for it to be delivered to our table, I went to the bathroom and did a pregnancy test. Positive!!
And then the tornado destroyed our neighborhood later on the same day. After the noise settled down from the tornado ripping through our community, I grabbed a big coat, slipped on Toms shoes and ran outside to see what happened. Roofs ripped of the row of houses around me. Light posts down on cars. McDonald's signage torn apart. Moving truck turned up on its side. It looked like a war zone.
People walked around in a daze. The real sound of sirens blaring and lighting up the sky. News cameras already on site.
Me - I was running up and down the street yelling, "PRAISE GOD. Praise God. Nobody is hurt."
A few days later a neighbor asked why I didn't pray for the whole neighborhood. I had no answer. I didn't know I was even going to pray. It happened. The words just came from my mouth. Spoken with a power that wasn't my own.
The Holy Spirit was beginning to teach me about how he worked and moved. I was learning it had very little to do with me and much more to the power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:8 - “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Like the coming of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, we have seen, heard and experienced things that could not have been done through the sole efforts of people, or simply by our own abilities. The power of God- from the Holy Spirit- has compelled us, kept us, enabled and empowered us, taught us and led us. Even now, as we consider and ponder these “stones,” are we aware of how the Holy Spirit was and is active in our lives and ministry. God is so faithful. His presence and grace to withstand, endure and overcome are truly “Stones of Remembrance” for us.
How about you?
Sit back and think about the ways God has provided, prepared and empowered you to walk through the challenges and victories of life over the years. Are you conscious of His ever-present help in time of trouble? Are you aware that the Holy Spirit, sent in the Name of Jesus, is here to teach you and remind you of the things of the Lord and the instruction of Jesus? Take a few minutes right now to give God thanks and praise for His unending loving kindness towards you.