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'Evil People Did This, Not God': How God Healed a Widow's Brokenness following 9/11

  • Maina Mwaura CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor
  • Updated Sep 12, 2019
'Evil People Did This, Not God': How God Healed a Widow's Brokenness following 9/11

Each year, when September rolls around, the nation remembers with grief and emotion the tragedy that happened on September 11, 2001. To date, new stories continue to come to the surface about individuals’ experiences on that dreadful day. Ask just about anyone who was alive about the attack, and they will be able to tell you where they were and what they were doing. 

For Shelly Genovese Calhoun, she remembers the day like it was yesterday.

Calhoun was preparing to go into the city and live out her dream of being a model. She and her husband at the time, Steve, were living a dream life. 

The two were living outside of Manhattan and enjoying being parents to their 16-month-old baby girl. Calhoun remembers this season with joy and fondness. 

Like many Americans, Shelly and Steve went about their day as if it were just another ordinary day. In an interview with Christian Headlines, Calhoun specifically noted that “It was a normal morning." 

That morning Steve headed off to his job. He worked as a trade investor for Cantor/Fitzgerald which was situated in the World Trade Center.

Remembering that day, Calhoun recalled that her mother – who was visiting from Dallas – came into the room where she was sitting and told her that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. 

"At first, I thought that he was okay, Steve had survived the 1993 terror attack," Calhoun said. 

“I thought to myself, just like that attack he's going to come home and go on a skiing trip like he did for that terror attack.” 

Steve worked on the 104th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center and was able to call Shelly in the midst of the tragedy. 

"He called to let me know everything was going to be okay, then the phone went silent," Calhoun recalled. 

It would be the last time she would hear her husband’s voice. 

"I had complete faith that God was going to bring him home," Calhoun said. 

But soon, she would come to the same grim understanding as the rest of the country; her loved one wasn’t coming home. Steve was one of the 2,977 civilians who lost their lives on that tragic day. 

"There were days that I would wonder, how was I going to get out of the bed,” Shelly said before pausing to reflect on the days following the attack. 

"My mother being there was God's hand from the beginning. My mother and her friend held everything together during that time of my life," she added.

When asked if she was angry at God for Steve’s death, Calhoun is clear that "evil people did this, not God." 

Although everyone grieves differently, for Calhoun, she focused on being a great mother and sharing her testimony in churches.

Following 9/11, Shelly moved back to Dallas, Texas to be close to her family and friends and to raise her daughter surrounded by loved ones.

When it came to dating, Calhoun had no desire to date again.

"Dating after losing someone was different for me. I felt like I was cheating on Steve," she said. 

God, however, had another plan for Calhoun and his name is Heath.

Calhoun and Heath had known each other before she married Steve, but the two lost touch with each other for some eight years. Following her move back to Dallas the two reconnected first as friends, but soon a romance would bud between them. 

Heath and Calhoun are now happily married.  Steve's mom – who is now deceased – even came to the pair’s wedding. 

For Calhoun, marrying Heath has been a “double blessing” as the two welcomed a son together. 

In her new book, “Twice Blessed,” Calhoun dives into how 9/11 changed her life forever and how God healed and blessed her following the tragedy. “My God is bigger than what I see," she told Christian Headlines.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Spencer Platt/Staff