“Mrs. Heidi,” Hannah’s voice cracked a whisper, “I saw it, too. The light, in the office. It was on and now it’s not. I saw it, too.” Her dark eyes glanced at me quickly, she was trying not to alarm the children.
Hannah, what a Godsend she was! A loving, intelligent homeschooled teenager who cared for my children in my home while I worked on client files. Her rich, chestnut skin reflected the street light, highlighting her brow and cheek bones. My then husband had gone out of town for a week, and she was staying with me to assist me running my home and five children so I could focus on my freelance work. We had just returned from Wednesday night church service. Abby and Phillip had school the next day. I was ready to bring the night to a close, tuck my little loves in bed, and allow my household to enter rest. At this point, I doubted an early night was in store.
On the way home from church, Holy Spirit had nudged me to take the street paralleling mine. At first, I brushed off the prompting, after all, it was a school night for goodness sake! Why in the world would God tell me to extend my commute home? But the urge grew as we travelled the one mile stretch toward my driveway. About a quarter mile from my home, I hit the brakes, and reversed my vehicle. “Mom, what are you doing? Where are we going?” Abby, nine, asked. “I am obeying God,” I calmly replied. “He is telling me to take the next street. I tried to ignore Him, but His direction is getting stronger, and I realize He really is telling me to take the other street, although I don’t know why!” Abby, familiar with Momma doing strange things in obedience to God, was satisfied, and she plopped back into her seat with a firm, “thud.”
I reversed into a neighbor’s driveway, then whipped my van to the right, exited the neighborhood, only to re-enter it two-tenths of a mile later. I drove the speed limit until I approached Patrice and Hunter’s house, when Holy Spirit directed, “Slow down and look at your house.” Slowing my vehicle to a crawl, I looked past Patrice’s driveway, through my back yard, and noticed the office light was lit. “Strange,” I thought, “Didn’t I turn off every light in the house before leaving for church, save the porch and car port lights?” I reversed, and retraced that short stretch from Patrice’s driveway to my backdoor neighbor’s, staring at the house. Holy Spirit released me to go home. I drove to the back of the neighborhood, turned right, and about two-tenths of a mile later, turned right onto my street. My home was the fourth on the right going this way. I pulled into my long driveway, rounded into the carport, put my foot on the brake, and was about to shift gears to park, and stopped abruptly, staring in disbelief and bewilderment at my office window – dark. No light. I reversed, pulled out of my drive way. “Mom? What are you doing?” asked Abby and Phillip. The youngest two children, Gregory and Matthew, had konked out. Houston, almost four, watched the interaction curiously. “Shhhh. I am just checking something,” I answered. I drove back to the front of the neighborhood, and soon found myself at Patrice’s driveway again, peering across our yards at my home. No. The light to my office definitely was not on. And the reflection of the carport light on the office window did not match the inner glow that had appeared only five short minutes earlier. That’s when Hannah broke the silence, “Mrs. Heidi,” Hannah’s voice cracked a whisper, “I saw it, too. The light, in the office. It was on and now it’s not. I saw it, too.”
“I think I need to call the police,” I whispered. We had been stalked by someone for weeks at this point. I had come home a couple of times to discover doors unlocked, and windows slightly open. Abby had awoken with a flashlight shining in her window. That horrid night, the police had discovered foot prints in the flower bed in front of her window, and disturbance in the pine straw bedding.
The police told me not to enter the home until they arrived, and to wait in front of the property. We complied and prayed. The Dublin police arrived within five minutes of my call. I followed them up my driveway (about one tenth of a mile long), and parked. “Stay here,” I firmly instructed the children, then asked Hannah, “Would you mind staying here with the kids just til we check out the house?” “No, maam, I’ll be glad to. Be careful,” Hannah answered with a gentle smile.
There were two patrol cars and three officers, if my memory serves me correctly. They asked me to open my house. I opened the screen door to the carport entry, only to find the solid door ajar. “The door is open,” I informed the officer closest to me. Stepping back to allow passage, the officer replied, “Ma’am, let us look through the house before you go inside. Someone may still be there.” They searched the closets, bedrooms, playroom office, checked the back door, front door. I then asked them to check the windows, explaining a recent intrusion where we discovered my daughter’s window had been unlocked, as well as the front playroom windows. They checked. Only Abby’s bedroom window was unlocked. I had nightly and daily checked windows prior to going to bed or leaving my home since the first incident. “Ma’am, do you have somewhere you and your children can stay? I don’t think it’s wise or safe for you to spend the night here.” I called my pastor, as my mother lived 45 minutes away, and I had too many children to stay at Hannah’s home. My pastor booked a hotel suite for us. I had been so shaken, so disturbed and perturbed by the incessant molestation of our peace and sense of security, I had not thought about staying at a hotel. Pastor Randy, who is still one of my all-time favorite teachers of the Word – he breaks it down and explains scripture in a relevant, practical manner – made sure the hotel had armed security on site. I thanked him repeatedly.
I thanked the officers for their time, thoroughness and kindness. We completed a report. Two of the officers escorted my family to the hotel, and walked us to our room. They updated security of the situation, and assured me they would patrol my neighborhood.
Once we were alone, we held hands and bowed our heads, thanking and praising our Heavenly Father for His faithfulness, and for protecting us. He warned me. He did not allow me and the children to enter my home while burglars were present. He exposed the snare laid out for my daughter. A weapon had been formed, but it did not prosper. I had taken the time to be still, know that He is God, that He knows the end from the beginning, that I can trust His leading. I did something that did not make sense – driving the next road, and spying on my own home? God is good. He is faithful. He does all things well. We must have ears to listen, and hearts ready to obey.
Psalm 23 is a familiar verse, even outside of Christianity.