On February 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke apart just minutes before it was scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center. All seven crew members were killed, including shuttle commander Rick Husband. The tragedy thrust RickÕs wife, Evelyn, into the national spotlight. Rather than shying away from the attention, Evelyn decided to use it as an opportunity to talk about the faith in Christ she and her husband shared. Over the past two years, she has spoken at Women of Faith conferences and has written a book, High Calling, about her husband. Evelyn Husband recently spoke with Staff Writer Christina Quick about her book, her faith and the challenges of being a single mom to her two children, Laura, 14, and Matthew, 9.
PE: How has your own relationship with Christ helped you cope with your husbandÕs death?
HUSBAND: There has been this overriding sense of peace, a sense of GodÕs hand and His absolute intent to see us through. People commented when they came to our house after RickÕs death that they were amazed at the presence of the Lord. ItÕs still here. IÕll never be able to convey enough how grateful I am that God has not abandoned us. He has been so involved and hands-on in our walk through all of this. He has proven to the three of us His mightiness and His love for us. I donÕt know that IÕll ever be able to say that losing Rick was worth it, but the intimacy that IÕve gained in my relationship with the Lord through all of this I wouldnÕt trade for anything.
PE: What else have you learned about God over the past two years?
HUSBAND: His promises are true. One particular promise that IÕve had to claim again and again is that HeÕs the Father to the fatherless. Day in and day out, with schoolwork, activities, problems, different issues that come up with Laura and Matthew, I cry out to the Lord for help. IÕm not looking for warm, fuzzy feelings. I need tangible, hands-on help. And He provides that through people, through words that I know arenÕt mine that I say to my kids at the right moments, through the ways that we have been able to navigate through this. God has promised to never leave us or forsake us and that is absolutely true. I am so dependent on Him to make it through each day. The Bible talks about how the weaker we are, the stronger God can become in our lives. That is where my strength has come from.
PE: How have you adjusted to being a single mom?
HUSBAND: I have discovered that I donÕt have to figure it all out. I donÕt need to worry about tomorrow — today has enough troubles of its own (Matthew 6:34). I need to focus on where I am today. As a single mother, itÕs terrifying. I think about when Matthew gets to drive and date and when Laura starts to date, and I get panicky and think, How am I going to make it through this? But theyÕre not doing that today. Matthew is in third grade. HeÕs not going to drive today. I just have to pull back and sort through today.
PE: What led you to write High Calling?
HUSBAND: Several publishers who wanted to write a book about our family or Rick approached me. My first response was no. But I started praying about it and began to see that it would be an excellent tool to be able to talk publicly about what Rick and I have known for years privately about how amazing God is and about His faithfulness. I felt GodÕs hand guiding me through the whole project. I sought Him about what to put and what not to put in the book, what God could use the most and what would bring Him the most glory.
PE: What would you like this book to accomplish?
HUSBAND: I wanted to impress upon families the importance of having priorities straight. ItÕs one thing to say that you do, but itÕs another issue to actually live it out. Rick really did live it. Because of that, it has changed the whole process of what weÕve had to go through since his death.
PE: In what ways?
HUSBAND: We know Rick is in heaven. He had a strong belief in Jesus and he planted such a seed of faith in Laura and Matthew. WeÕre living that out now. He could have been the best astronaut the world has ever seen, but if he had never been home — if he had never been an involved dad, a devoted husband, and a spiritual leader in our home — that example never would have been set for Laura and Matthew.
PE: How did RickÕs relationship with God develop over the years?
HUSBAND: When Rick was going through test pilot school, he and I had a discussion one day. Rick did not feel assured of his salvation. He had accepted Jesus in high school and had attended church regularly. Of course, attending church does not make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. I remember saying, ÒSatan does not want you to be assured of your salvation. It is a gift from God, and it has everything to do with what Jesus did. ThatÕs why itÕs grace.Ó We prayed and Rick rededicated his life to the Lord. From that point forward I donÕt think Rick ever questioned whether he was saved. His perspective changed, and he became hungry to study the Scriptures and be in the presence of the Lord.
PE: What advice would you give to single mothers?
HUSBAND: The Lord has to be first, even when they canÕt seem to prioritize anything else. ItÕs very exhausting to be a single mother. It requires more stamina than IÕve ever had to use in my entire life because thereÕs no help with the house or cooking or anything that is related to running a home. ItÕs important to keep yourself physically fit, but itÕs also critical to keep yourself spiritually fit. IÕve found that when I slack off spiritually I really pay the price for it, and my kids do too.
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