Well, I could write a book, but I will tell only one part of my story for now; a part that was most touched by the presence of God.
What I am about to write are things that I wrote down in a little note book in 1998, the pages of which are blotted with my tears.
In Sept 1997 we (that is my husband and our then 3 children) moved to a beautiful cottage in the countryside of a very green Northern Ireland. I fell pregnant later that year with our 4th baby, due the first week in Sept. We were renovating the cottage ourselves, a lot of work had been done and lots more to do, but generally life was normal or as normal as it could be in our troubled country.
‘Then came’……These are the words that penetrate my heart. It started with premature labour on the 13th August 1998, the end of a long and hard pregnancy, our beautiful healthy baby boy Lee was born 2:10 am 14th August. He was 3 weeks early, but he was healthy and well. That next evening (still the 14th) my Mum, sisters and aunty took the long journey from the west of Northern Ireland, Omagh County Tyrone to the east County Down Dundonald hospital outside Belfast to visit me and the new arrival .We had a lovely time, a happy special time, which I am ever thankful to God for. I have a beautiful photograph of my mum holding Lee in her arms for the first and last time. Good-bye Elain I love you! Good-bye Mum I love you too!
Then came the 15th August 1998, a nightmare had begun. Thank God we never know what is ahead of us! Those words ‘then came’ happened. As I sat on my hospital bed feeling terribly uncomfortable and troubled at something, not knowing what, the news reached me. A girl in my ward came in and said, “Did you hear that car screeching into the car park? A man and a boy have just run into the office, something is wrong.” I stood in the hallway, watched and waited to see whom it was ‘THEN CAME’ out off the office, my husband and eldest son .Why? What had happened? “Elain I need to tell you something,” “No don’t tell me, please don’t tell me.” “Elain there has been a bomb, it’s your mum she dead.” What pain, I mean actual physical pain that makes your stomach feel sick, makes your arms and legs limp and your vocal cords scream uncontrollably.
I can hear you say where is the presence of God in this? Well it was at this time that my God came and wrapped his arms around me a said “I am here I will hold you up.” When God said I will hold you up, I want you to realise I mean really hold me up physically, I could feel him very close and very real, so real that I could reach out and touch his arm that was very tightly wrapped around me. He didn’t need to say any more after that because I could feel his eyes always looking at me, eyes that where full of tears because my God and my saviour loved me he cared about how I felt. God was grieved that day for the death of my Mum and the death of the other 28 people who lost their lives.
I am ever reminded of what my Jesus has done for all of us in this world, my mother had terrible injuries that killed her but I won’t share them with you, but I will share the injuries that my Jesus took for me and you, he left his Father to come to a sinful earth, He lived and breathed our air, He carried a lump of wood to a hill, there it was placed upright in the ground and He had nails driven through his hands and feet, a spear pushed into his side and thorns pushed into his head, and there He died and as He died he took with him my sin your sin and all of the worlds sin with him to hell ,he carried it all, what pain! Just for me. Thank you Jesus, you came back to life again, with out that it would have been pointless.
As we grieved my mother, I knew my mum was in a better place because she had a turning point in her life, a time when she had simply ask God to forgive her and the things she would do from then on where for him!
Over the years I have received many words of encouragement, some from very close friends and some from people I didn’t even know, I have had people just come to me and hug me, that’s all just a hug! Thank God for all those people.
These are my words of comfort offered from God in his word, Isaiah 43 1,2
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Saviour.
I paid a huge price for you:
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!” (The Message Bible)
Bless you – Elain