Thursday, October 6

Knock, knock

Read Proverbs 8

She would hide when he started drinking. He had never been a violent man, but experience had shown her that mixing testosterone and alcohol resulted in very bad things. Two step fathers had given her little reason to trust men in general, and drunk men…

Drunk men hurt little girls.

In many ways, she was still a little girl. Alone in the dark, she would resent the man she was forced to marry at only 16. It didn’t matter then that her mother had likely saved her life or better by insisting on the union. What mattered was that life would never be better or different for her. Ever.

She had hope for a moment. On that glorious day she fell in love, she felt free. Perfectly, gloriously free from the horrors of her past. She knew love and love would take her away. At that summer revival meeting, she met Jesus in a way so real, she knew she would spend her whole life serving him; striving to be like him. She would go to Bible college. She would be a missionary. She would share his love with natives in Africa or orphans in South America.

But only a few months later, her dreams died as she shackled herself to a man who did not love the Lord she had so recently given herself to. He was a nice enough guy. One she might have fallen in love with given the time, and if she had not fallen head over heels in love with a jealous God. Caught between “honor thy mother” and “do not be unequally yolked,” she did what she had to.

And then there was the drinking. He was still a nice enough guy. A gentle drunk, even. But to her, alcohol smelled like fear, so she hid. She thought about what might have been, what should have been. And she felt misery, bitterness and depression winding themselves around her once soaring spirit.

Her love had not saved her. Was he even there? Did he really love her at all? She had been so sure of his call. Like Samuel, she had heard him calling her our of this life, but here she sat. Alone. Abandoned.

There was no such thing as AA or AlAnon back then. Medication for depression was barely a dream in someone’s imagination. Connecting with people in the outside world was difficult in rural communities where everyone knew your business and had something to say about it. (Reminds me of Facebook). And women like her were not exactly welcomed into the church with open arms.

She certainly had the right to feel sorry for herself. She had every right to succumb to self pity. And for a while, she did. But then she heard his voice again.

He didn’t tell her to rise up and flee, like she hoped. He didn’t send an earthquake to free her from her prison. Instead, he whispered, “I am here. I am still here. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice…”

In her own words, “I finally started inviting Jesus to my pity party of one.” She stepped aside and invited him in. And he met her in the dark.

Her life on the outside did not change in that instant. She surrendered, because she could not do anything about her situation other than change her own attitude about it.

Her home became her mission field. Her husband became a man God loved enough to die for in even her eyes. Even drunk. She devoted herself to winning him over through her gentle and quiet spirit (which was far easier said than done since gentle and quiet we not a part of her nature).

God filled her with courage she didn’t know she had.

You don’t know my great-grandmother. But if you did, you would wonder about me suggesting that she ever hid from anything. You would also wonder how I could possibly suggest that she had ever felt uncomfortable in a church building. You wouldn’t be able to reconcile crippling fear with that radiant peace.

Over the next sixty years, her husband and children-even the prodigal-would find Jesus. Her grandchildren would grow up in Godly homes. Her great grandchildren would as well. Countless women would be touched by the testimony of this fearless woman speaking at women’s events state wide. She would take in orphans, widows, and homeless. She would meet someone once and pray for them forever. She would travel to the Holy Land as a retiree, walking where Jesus walked.

It must have seemed eternal as she waited in the dark, praying. It must have seemed, even then, as if life would never change. Indeed, it took decades.

But “he makes all things beautiful in his time.”

Listen. Do you hear him knocking? Open the door. He will come in. Just be advised, he’ll start working on you first J        


Sherri said...

You did an amazing job telling grandmas story!

Season said...