I've been thinking about that phrase safety and security these past few days and what it really means. Locked doors, security systems, close loved ones, a strong protective husband, feeling loved, a Lord to watch over us and all the things that pop into my head when that phrase rolls off of my lips. I think how would I really react when put to the test. Like ok Lord it is just you and me on a late, dark night in the Wal-mart parking lot or after putting my children to bed at night with a husband miles away working and pray just you and me Lord please get us through this night safe and unharmed..many scenarios come to mind but none really stick, none really stick because praise God, nothing horrible like that has ever really been that close to me or ever happened that I would be tested to trust in God in such a way.
This all changed for my family Sunday Jan. 3, 2010. My family was shaken to the core of what the world has become, what it is capable of and we are forever changed. I write this as an act of preserving history. Someday my children should know and I keep this blog as a diary for them. No comments are needed as there is nothing anyone can say that really confronts such an ugly act and prayer is the only means of healing.
My sweet Grandmother's name is Juanita McClain. When I was a child she taught me about growing things, especially roses which were her pride. She always put aloe on our burns and cuts taken from her own home grown aloe plant. I remember her showing me the curtains she had made especially for my playhouse that my Grandfather had made for me when I was 10. She made a spiced birthday cake for every person in my family every year on their birthdays until we left home. We dressed proper for supper at her house and I always thought that the table was prepared so grand that it looked like it was taken from a picture in one of those magazines my mother had. She was to me the ultimate of women...kind, gentle, always spit spot, beautiful, she took the time to make everything just so. She married my Grandfather when my father was a junior in high school, giving him a mother he had never had. She helped my Grandfather with whatever he needed her to and took such good care and loved him in a way that no one else could for 33 years. In that 33 years they had built a wonderful life together. A nice business and a fine home in the country. Their home is way back off the road up on a hill surrounded by a perfectly groomed grounds of trees, pond, woods and farmland. My Grandfather died 2 1/2 years ago. He was a lion, a protector, a person whose word was honorable and whose actions always had meaning. He was a legend in my mind and a savior to my sweet Grandmother. I miss him deeply but even more so I miss him for her. I do so wish he could wrap his strong arms of steel around her and comfort her just once more.
On Sunday evening Jan. 3rd around 7:30 Juanita my grandmother was in her basement paying bills. She finished and headed up the steps only to be met my two men in ski masks, one holding a gun on her. For the next few hours that followed these men took her from room to room making her show them where she had all the valuables she owned hidden in her home. They told her over and over they would kill her if she didn't cooperate. When they were done with what they needed from her, they pushed her down and then put her in a chair and wrapped duct tape around her and locked her in her bedroom closet. She then sat in her closet for hours listening to these men ransack and rob her home. Around 9:00 the next morning light shown under the door she worked her way free from the tape. She had told these men that she was very asthmatic and she would die without her inhaler so they had tied her arms a bit more loosely so she could take her inhaler. This is what was able to help her get free. She then slipped past the basement door grabbed her coat and ran for the neighbor's house to call 911. The robbers were gone by this time and had taken thousands of dollars in cash, valuables and her car. The story was put on every Dayton news channel. My sister and I cried from our homes Monday night as we watched the TV news and listened to our sweet Grandma's voice in the 911 call they played. This voice of love and kindness that we've known all our lives changed into a voice of absolute fear and a voice that crackled under the sheer emotional pain she had endured. In my whole life I will never get this out of my mind and I can never imagine this kind of fear, this kind of horror, this kind of pain, this kind of security being taken away at a moments notice. I am angry that someone would do this to another. My Grandmother in all of her strength and wits was able to take off her wedding ring and hide it in her pocket when the robbers were not looking. It warms my heart the love she has for my Grandfather. Christ is her savior and she will endure this. She will endure and get beyond not being able to left alone, she will get past seeing those men in her mind in her home. I praise you Lord for saving her for I am so well aware this outcome could have been sooo very different without you. I pray peace be warmed into her heart that her mind be relieved of this constant agitation.
I praise you Lord for answering the prayers sent up that these people would be caught quickly. Tuesday these men and a woman (who as it turns out is my Grandmother's cousin) were caught driving her car with some of the stolen goods in it in Dayton. These people are in custody and have been brought back to Darke County and are being charged with aggravated robbery, kidnapping, grand theft auto and a list of other charges. I do so pray justice be brought and they are imprisoned for a lifetime. All the money and all the things are just that... things. They can be replaced or learned to live without but they took away the place she feels closest to Grandpa, a home she's known for so very long a Camelot of such that my Grandparents had built together. It is doubtful that she will ever live there again.
When put to the test the only true security we have is our trust in Christ as our Savior. He is the only security that is unfailing, the only thing that we can really grasp and hold on to at any given moment. The moment when we can't reach the phone or can't make it to the car or can't run fast enough or God sparing we are put into a situation of absolute terror, Christ will see us through to the morning light.
Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Please keep Juanita McClain in your prayers for she will need them for so long.