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Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 11th - 10 years later. His ways are not our ways.

Tonight I am siting in a hotel room in Canada after visiting my 80 year old mother in the nursing home or "hell hole" as she prefers to call it.  I had to break the news to mom today that her only daughter (that would be me, Janine), mother of her only two grandchildren (that would be Spencer and Chloe), who moved her family (with her husband Ian) to Alpharetta, Georgia (that would be in the country of the United States of America - out of Canada) was now planning to move to another foreign country (that would be Swaziland) ON A DIFFERENT CONTINENT (and you know where that would be).

Why are we moving?  Because "God asked us to".  When did we start caring about what God wanted?  Shortly after September 11th, 2001... ten years ago this weekend.

It is hard to believe that on night of September 10th, 2001 I was out at a club in the Village in downtown Manhattan with a couple of clients who have never gone clubbing in downtown Manhattan (no, my kids do not read my blog :).  Nothing bad (never did drugs), but loved a good live band and a cool bar scene.  Got in really late (or early on the 11th), had to be a conference by 9AM the next day.  Slept for a short time.  Ordered room service (likely a $25 breakfast) without a thought.  Showered, headed down to the meeting room and then, the world changed forever.

It's now ten years later and certainly a time for reflection.  This year, on September 10th, 2011 I will spend the evening speaking to 300 youth in Effingham, Illinois.  Many of them are followers of Jesus, and (I assume) and many aren't, but all of them were toddlers when the planes crashed from the sky and people jumped from buildings in front of my eyes.  On September 11th I will be speaking at Christ's Church of Effingham to talk about what God has done in my life and how He is using ordinary, everyday people for His glory in Africa - who would have guessed that one ten years ago!?  Not me (or anyone who knew me).

I find it odd that when I think of that fateful day, my mind immediately goes to what I was doing RIGHT before the attacks began.  I was just living my life the way I liked living my life. I was just doing what I liked to do.  Period.  And why not?  I wasn't a bad person.

Ten years later I can't help but see how September 11th changed the trajectory of my life and the lives of my entire family. In approximately 245 days my husband will be working on sustainable farming and economic development on a rural farm in the Kingdom of Swaziland. My son will be heading off to college in America while his family moves to a foreign continent.  My daughter will be enrolled in an international school, in Africa, with students from 180 nations.  And I will become the mother to many... to orphans and widows in distress... to those who need a word of encouragement or a hug (or a kick in the butt).  And my mother?  She will be left in the "hell hole" to keep the staff on their toes and to remind me daily that God loves her as much as He loves the children we will serve in Swaziland and that HE has her in HIS hands, and that I am not to worry (or feel guilty).  NONE of this would have happened if not for the tragic day, ten years ago.

Everything changed on 9/11 and many are still reeling and recovering from the repercussions of that day.  I changed on 9/11 and for that I am thankful.  In the past ten years I have learned that God does not waste anything.  He has taken my life and flipped it upside down.  Would I have embraced this "flip" if I had known about it on September 10th 2001?  NOT a chance.  Now, I wouldn't change it for everything.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8

Thank you Lord for loving us so much that you will allow tragedy and pain for your glory.  Thank you for pursuing me when I was running (or just ignoring) you.  Thank you for loving my mom so much that you have created a safe and healthy place to live so that I can be obedient to your call.  Thank you for a family who said, "yes Lord, here I am".

May all honor and glory go to you and you alone.


PS - He makes beautiful things out of dust:


  1. Thanks for sharing what OBEDIENCE looks like.

  2. Truly amazing, Janine. I love how simply you describe the contrast of your past and present. Thanks for sharing your beautifully orchestrated journey with Him. GOD must be beaming. Love the Maxwells!!

    Leanne Wilkinson