Debra: In 2004 my daughter Jill announced she was joining the Air Force. That very instant, I felt a cloud all around me. I didn’t know what “it” was until years later. I begged God to take it from me and He wouldn’t. Jill left for Basic Training in November of 2004. I was so proud of her! She was 21 years old and so proud to serve her God and country.
Shortly after she left, in my quiet time, God told me to be prepared like Job. I didn’t have any idea what that meant, so I tried to push the thought out of my mind. While serving in the Air Force, Jill met an Airman and before I knew it they were talking about getting married. I had my reservations, knowing they hadn’t known each other long. It was shortly after that Jill would call me, sometimes crying about how he was treating her. I told her she did not have to marry him. I told her over and over again that I loved her, and I would be there for her. On Sunday, June 26, 2005, I spoke with her many times. She said they had gotten into a fight. She was with another Airman friend and said she was ok. Her last words to me were “I love you, Mom.” I received a call from the Air Force the next day that she was AWOL. My heart sank, and I immediately started to pray. I knew this was my time to be prepared like Job.
The next morning a government car pulled into my driveway. I watched as they put on their dress blue jacket and walked to my door. I remember screaming “NO” or maybe it was in my head. How could someone that supposedly loved my daughter take her life? As the morning went on and my house filled with people, I felt the Holy Spirit surround me like never before. I boldly told my family and friends that this was God’s battle to fight, not ours. God would deal with the punishment; the revenge was not ours to get. There was a trial, and I was called to be a witness. It was one year to the day from when Jill’s life was taken that I had to face the man that took my daughter’s life. My heart was beyond broken, but God was faithful and gave me the strength and words to get through. It’s been over 15 years and my heart still aches, but God has carried me and my family every step of the way. I believe that the cloud that God wouldn’t take from me was God’s hand protecting me. There have been many other God moments the last 15+ years, and I believe He will continue to put this broken vase back together, piece by piece.