The Christmas we went into hiding I covered our tree with four-inch stockings. I can no longer remember how many there were, but I remember knitting them. And I remember the constant feelings of terror. And the pain.
That Christmas was a season of threes. For three months my infant son and I hid in a small apartment from the man bent on killing us while my husband went to work during the day at his job as an IRS Criminal Investigator. Our pursuer, a man my husband investigated as part of his job, had hired two hit men to murder us yet he still walked the streets of Portland a free man. Looking for us.
I visited three doctors over a three week period hoping to find out the cause of the intense pain in my back. All three doctors came to the conclusion that nothing was wrong with me. I sneaked a peek at one chart when the doctor left the room, "Mrs. Taylor says she's in pain," he had written, "but she doesn't act like it."
No one believed me. I would get no help.
Nights I slept on the floor with my feet elevated onto the bed, trying in vain to relieve my intense back pain. The throbbing pain plus the fear that one of the hit-men would find and kill us kept me awake.
My husband slept with a loaded gun on the bed beside him.
Christmas approached. Because we had fled our home five minutes after becoming aware of the danger, we had nothing. Not even extra underwear. We had no ornaments for the tree my husband managed to bring in, little money to purchase decorations, and we had been instructed not to leave the house unless absolutely necessary.
So most days, I sat on the couch with my toddler playing at my feet and knitted ornaments while I battled terror and pain.
Then came another onslaught of three. The results of a medical test informed me I could bear no more children. I sobbed for days.
My fifteen-month-old locked himself in the bathroom and I fought a new fear while waiting for firemen to rush over. I experienced momentary comfort when, lights flashing, they managed to extricate him safely. Yet the terror stayed with me. What would happen next? Would my family survive?
My pain grew unendurable. I made an appointment with a chiropractor. The next afternoon, feeling sick and dizzy, I drove down an unfamiliar street in Portland’s heavy traffic so ill I could barely think. After getting lost once, I located the doctor’s office, managed to park, and carried my suddenly uncharacteristically-difficult son inside. I checked in at the receptionist’s desk before dragging Ty with me to the bathroom. As soon as I sat down, a wave of pain washed over me and I held onto the sink to keep from passing out.
Cessation of pain came suddenly and unexpectedly, but as soon as I saw the tiny precious balloon floating in the water grief twisted my heart. I had miscarried.
Death was stalking us!
It had ripped my unborn child from my womb. Evil men bent on our destruction searched for us. Would I lose my husband and son? My own life? Terror paralyzed me.
Finally, I knelt at the couch and cried desperately for the LORD to give me reassurance and comfort. I begged for a promise. Too distraught to know what else to do, I opened my Bible and pointed at random. My finger fell on the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:2,3. “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us” (ESV, italics mine)
My fear evaporated as I read those words and realized God had spoken directly to me though his Word. Me! Suddenly I could view our circumstances through God’s eyes. For the first time my son and I could play in front of the tree enjoying the fragrance of pine, the lights and the hand knit stockings. God had saved us miraculously from the first attempt on our lives and would continue to do so. Even the miscarriage, though tragic, proved doctors wrong and gave us hope. I could get pregnant again. As a matter of fact, by the following March I was pregnant with my second child.
In January, the men pursuing us were arrested, both hit-men testified against the main perpetrator at the trial and he went to prison. A final satisfying three.