Shelly Genovese Calhoun's reality was shattered on September 11, 2001, when her husband, Steve, was killed in the 9/11 terror attacks.
Calhoun, who shares her harrowing story in the book "Twice Blessed: A Journey of Hope Through 9/11," recently told The Pure Flix Podcast about her loss, the resulting pain — and the hope she found in Jesus.
On the morning of 9/11, Calhoun awoke to news that the Twin Towers were under attack — a shock, considering that Steve worked in the North Tower. She immediately got out of bed and turned on the television.
"I looked at the TV and ... it was like I was watching a movie," she said of the horrific events on the screen. "I saw Steve's building, the North Tower, and I saw that it was on fire."
Listen to Calhoun's harrowing story:
She then realized that Steve tried to call her that morning and had left a voicemail, so she listened.
"What I heard was a frantic call from my husband and he said, 'Shelly, wake up — answer the phone. Something has happened to my building. I think a plane just hit my building,'" Calhoun recounted. "He wasn't able to say anything else. The phones just disconnected."
Then, not long after, the unthinkable happened: the North Tower collapsed, leaving Calhoun in deep and unimaginable pain.
"My whole world came crashing down the moment that those towers fell," she said, explaining that all of her hopes and dreams felt shattered.
In those moments, Calhoun begged God to save her husband and suddenly felt a peace she couldn't explain — a peace unlike anything she had ever experienced.
"I remember crying out to God and saying, 'Save Steve!'" she recalled. "I had this incredible peace that came over me. It was just like the Lord was just calming the raging seas ... I had known a peace before, but never like this."
It wasn't long before Calhoun realized that the peace she felt was God's comfort that "Steve was home" with the Lord. Rather than allow bitterness or anger to set in, she and her 16-month-old daughter moved forward and clung to faith.
"I had the hope in Christ and that He was going to help me carry those burdens for me," she said. "The more that I depended on Him, the more of Him that He showed me."
Twenty years later, Calhoun continues to share her story in an effort to help people discover God's power in their lives.
"I wanted people to know about God's goodness. God spoke to me that I needed to tell this story," she said. "Even in the midst of such evil — even the evil that is so prevalent today — God is still there. "