Life Since October 7th: One Month of Israel at War

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

On October 7th, everything changed. I was having a restful Shabbat morning when my dad delivered the startling news that Israel was at war. I was half-asleep at the time, so I didn’t register the gravity of his words until I switched on my phone and read the news. Very quickly, I realized this was not the usual rocket barrage from Gaza the south was used to. No, this was a massacre! Suddenly, our lives were upended as the nation moved into a state of emergency. Plans were canceled, our phones were constantly buzzing with red alerts and distressing updates, and the usually bustling streets fell silent as everyone gathered around their televisions to watch in horror as thousands of Hamas terrorists infiltrated ten cities along the southern border, torturing, kidnapping, and murdering everyone and anything they could get their hands on.

In my thirteen years living in Israel, I have never experienced anything like this. Very quickly, my family and I recognized that this was the real deal. Our city’s bomb shelters were opened, and tension filled the air as we held our breath for what was to come. Similar to the early days of COVID-19, panic swept over the nation after Home Command advised us to have enough food, water, and supplies stocked up in case we were confined to our homes and bomb shelters for three or more days.

Has anyone ever asked what you would grab if your house caught fire? During those first few days, that question revolved in my mind. When we moved to Israel, we participated in a survival class and learned how to prepare bug-out bags in case we had to evacuate our home. As the war quickly escalated, we took those bags out of their box to update them with new essentials. Despite its weight, I continue to carry my backpack wherever I go because these are not ordinary days; anything can happen in the blink of an eye, and I want to be prepared.

In the early days of the war, we also decided to discharge my nan from the geriatric rehab hospital, where she was recovering from a broken hip. We didn’t like her being separated from my grandfather and in a facility where most of the staff didn’t speak English. The thought of her not having support if missiles were launched toward the north was enough to get her back home to the Ebenezer Senior Citizens Home. Thankfully, it turned out to be the best choice! (God’s timing is always perfect) For the first time in seven weeks, my nan was treated like a human being by the nurses and staff as she was welcomed back with open arms. Her recovery also accelerated with her return. After weeks of pushing my nan around in a wheelchair, because she was unable to walk more than a few steps without growing weary, my mom and I couldn’t believe our eyes when we arrived the next day to find her walking into the dining room for dinner! Thank you, Yeshua!!

Despite the blessing of my nan’s recovery, the time I spent at home felt like a state of limbo. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Working seemed pointless, but I needed a distraction from the horrifying news constantly flashing on my phone and the fear that was taking root in my mind. In thirteen years, this is the first time we don’t have a bomb shelter in our home, and after the siren went off for a false hostile infiltration, I didn’t feel secure in our apartment.

Recognizing my exhaustion and distress, my parents left me with my grandparents for the weekend, hoping I’d find some rest. Being at Ebenezer felt like an oasis. For the first time since the massacre, I felt safe enough to mute the noise and be still with my Bible. As I read through Philippians and surrendered my fears to Yeshua, I felt His peace envelop me and my zeal return. That night, I slept soundly for the first time in a week.

Not wanting to leave my newfound haven, I spent the next three weeks at Ebenezer, volunteering in the home and caring for my nan until she was strong enough to return to her apartment. During this time, I planted my faith and trust in good soil until I was no longer afraid to move back home.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:4-7, 12-13 NIV

Since coming home, the sirens have gone off once while I was walking my dog. It was a crazy moment. One minute, I’m talking to this sweet woman who had adopted a dog from Eilat after his owners fled the country because of the war; the next, we’re huddled against a brick wall, staying close to the ground as the Iron Dome intercepts missiles launched from Lebanon. The ground shook as the missiles exploded in the sky somewhere above us. We couldn’t see anything, but my dad took a picture of a missile after it was intercepted above our house! Throughout the ordeal, I remained calm until my dad arrived to drive me home.

This is the reality of my life in Israel right now. However, it’s far worse in the southern and central parts of Israel — every day, missiles are launched toward large cities like Ashdod and Tel Aviv, causing millions to remain near bomb shelters around the clock. Yet, despite these constant threats, I choose to cling to the promise found in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

It’s been over a month since the war began. Many enemies have reared their heads in the weeks since Hamas’ attack, so every border is on high alert, with more than 300,000 reservists prepared for action. According to Israel’s leaders, this war isn’t ending anytime soon, so I feel that it’s time to tap into my purpose during this challenging season. (Philippians 2:13) For three weeks, that meant volunteering. Now that I’m home, though, it’s time to write. While I had planned to publish the rest of my Italian adventure series (which is long overdue), pre-recorded podcasts, and book reviews, all of that seems out of place at the moment. Nevertheless, the Lord has called me to be His typist, so I am committed to writing His words to encourage others, spreading truth in a sea of misinformation, and standing with Israel as they rightfully defend themselves. If you’re on social media, please follow Inspire Truth on Facebook and Instagram @inspiretruthblog to stay updated.

Please continue to pray for Israel’s victory, the hostages’ release, the innocent civilians caught in the crossfires of this war, and the world leaders involved. Israel will not back down from this fight until every terrorist is brought to their knees and the hostages are released.

Stay safe and hold fast to the Lord. These are trying times, but our hope and strength must remain in Him!

“Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.” ~ Psalms 3 NIV

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