Sarah clutched her chest.
Benjamin witness the depth of confusion on Sarah’s face that made him sink. “Was this true?” he thought. “Did uncle Ray… touch Sarah?” He didn’t desire to believe, but the reaction of Sarah screamed the truth to him.
Sarah backed away from the stove and leaned against the wall. Her tears blurred her vision as she attempted to read. Wiping them away frantically, she tried to grasp some of the details. The article didn’t mention her name, but they shared the address.
“No, no, no.” she heard herself say. “How could they?!” Sarah said.
Benjamin said, “I’m sorry Sarah.” I can’t imag..”
“It’s okay Benji.”
She said while walking away. “I’ll be fine, I just need to…”
She clutched the paper and stormed to the room the household considered the most precious.
It was in the center of the house. All staircases seem to meet at its entrance. Turning the black door knob, Sarah entered.
Familiarity swept over her as she remembered countless evenings and nights with her family here. It was always a place of solace. This was exactly what Sarah needed – comfort.
The white crisp walls contrasted photos of her laughing family exquisitely. The lighting fixture shimmered in the sunlight that was peering through the wide window in front of her. Sarah hurriedly closed the curtains. The army green chair in the corner looked darker than usual. Despite the mustard throw pillow that rested on its armed. She gripped it and nestled on the carpet.
As she sat, the gravity of the situation seemed to sit with her too. Her pain was no longer an emotion but an individual who followed her everywhere, tapping her every so often during moments of happiness. She felt giddy from all her thoughts, yet the whisper that caught her attention was, “How could God allow this?”
She felt steady by this. Aside from her anger with Ray, she wouldn’t accept that her loving God allowed this. Her cup was full. Frustration poured from her. “Why? Why me? Fine, I am a terrible human but they didn’t deserve this!?“ She forcefully flung the paper. She stretched out her hand over the throw pillow and pulled up the right sleeve of her sweater. “Do you not see this?”
“Why don’t you make it all go away? She cried.
Glancing up, not sure what she hopes to discover, she said, “Do you not love me?”
As the last words trembled from her lips, a single decaying leaf from the hanging plant glided ever so slowly to ground. She listened but received nothing. She attempted listening more but still not a word, not a breath, not a peace.She wiped her face and stood. Escaping the room, leaving behind her hope.
“I wish to request a leave of absence from school.” she announced to her parents at the kitchen counter. Her father stared at her smooth face. He would have never guessed that those cheeks washed with tears earlier. They had gotten many calls from friends and church members while she was in ‘the room’. They all only wanted to know if it was true. Grace, after 10 minutes, simply turned off her phone. Malcolm never felt more angry at people. Except for this one sister at church, Crystal. She expressed how sorry she was to hear and offered to help in any way she could. Malcolm felt compassion in her tone rather than pity.
She reached out for her hand. “Sure dear, once you have completed it, I will take it in for you.”
Ruth ran into the room, bursting with happiness. She sang, “Do you know what day it is?!”
She had finally woken up. Grace had let her sleep in seeing nobody was leaving the house after the article.
She was met by tired eyes and weary faces. She had this gift for reading people’s emotions. No soon after, she asked, “What’s wrong?” Sarah stood up from her stool, faking a smile. “Nothing Ruthie.”
“You didn’t forget, did you?!” she asked, looking up at her sister.
“How could I!? she said. “I even made your favourite break-” Sarah remembered quickly that she didn’t finish the meal because of the news. She froze for a moment and Ruth searched her face.
Benjamin broke in, presented a plate and said, “Yes, we made your favourite breakfast!”
Benjamin did it after she had left. Sarah whispered, “Thank you,” more tearful than she wanted.
Her parents started the birthday song and asked Benjamin to go for the presents.
Her mother thought even amid chaos there some things left to celebrate.
Ruth entertained them for the next hour, gasping and going on and on about her new presents. She loved the little journal the most. It had sequins on the back of it that changed from pink to silver. She couldn’t get enough of it. Her father pointed out the scriptures at the bottom of each page, encouraging her to think on them.
Sarah wanted to sulk in bed all day, but her family wouldn’t allow it. Everyone knocking every so often asking if she was okay, some bringing food, some bringing hugs and kisses. All except Ruth, who was ecstatic, she didn’t have to go to school.
The afternoon was quiet. Peaceful, unlike the turmoil in the hearts of the Maxwells. Sarah finally got the energy to get up to type the request. She was in the middle of it when Ruth popped in and sat on her bed.
“You’ve been quiet today. Are you ok?” she asked.
Sarah couldn’t bear the concern on her face. She turned her head and said, “Yes, Ruthie.”
“What are you doing?” she prodded.
“Filing out an application.” Sarah responded.
“Leave of abs..ence.” Ruth read. Where are you going?”
“I am taking a break from school.”
“Why?” Ruth responded, pulling her sister’s hair, so she faced her.
“Are you sick?”Sarah paused and said, “You could say that.”
“What’s wrong with you?” she continued.
“You ask too many questions. Do you know that?” Sarah turned around and started tickling her.
When she caught her breath, Ruth said, “Adults only say that when they don’t want to answer.”
Ruth clasp her sisters face with warm hands, “Secrets always come out Sarah.”
A knock on the door disturbed them. It was their mother. She said, “Tracy, Ray’s wife is here.”
Recently (I mean months), I have been contemplating a lot of things. Namely, my identity, my walk with Christ and my purpose. I was impatient at first, trying to find my answers instantly. I desired a quick fix to emptiness that crept upon me. The more I sought, the more it seemed God moved away from me. Have you ever felt like that? To me it always seems like in the moments when I need him most, he gets mysteriously silent but not like the silent, strong guy that some of us find attractive sisters. I feel he acts like this distant ego-maniac that just wants you to be at his beck and call, never questioning him. (I promise I am going somewhere with this.)That was how I perceived his reaction to me. I thought I had to become one of those girls who begged for attention and your home girl don’t do that. Ha. “I knew my worth,” I thought. Firstly, I am sincere. I am trying my best to please him. Was that not enough? What was missing?
You can imagine how low my head went, when the things I thought he took glory in had become a detestable experience for him. He progressively revealed to me the errors in my theology. I thought my works could save me. I thought if I was ‘nice’ he would accept me. I served hard. Harder than I thought was necessary to attain some type of ‘intimacy’ with him. You should have seen me, scrolling through YouTube to find the right lyrics, having a waving gallery in church to be in the right ‘atmosphere’. Ultimately, feeling empty and worse than I went to church.
I thought it was pointless, all my efforts meaningless. This one week it weighed so heavily on me, I couldn’t do anything. The shell of my body was present but my mind was absent, pressed by the state of my soul. That’s how I know I have the Holy Ghost. We were sharing in a group, and I admitted what I was experiencing. They encourage me and confirmed that God really wanted more than I was offering. (Part of the reason I am a strong advocate for community, you don’t have all the answers). He didn’t want more sacrifices. No, he wanted my heart. My whole heart. I read an article that blew me away. The answer was right in front of me but my self-righteous ways blinded me like the pharisees. Jon Bloom said this;
Trust is at the heart of intimacy. The more we trust someone, the closer we let them get to us. The degree to which trust is compromised in a relationship is the degree to which intimacy evaporates.
Can You Trust God Even In Uncertainty?
The corona virus has revealed a quite deeper concern. It’s not a health one either, but rather a spiritual one. The truth, we are of little faith. We read, we pray and we hear, but we don’t believe. We don’t believe God is in control. We don’t believe he is omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient. We don’t believe the word, it clearly outlines that our days are numbered. It clearly outlines that prophecies will be fulfilled. We don’t believe heaven is better than life here.
Maybe, you are not shaken by corona but are you shaken by bills, family struggles, storms in your relationships, trauma, the future or abuse? Can you trust God through them?
How Do I Grow in Faith?
This is a question I am still turning over in my heart. Short answer? Read and obey his Word. It is as simple and complicated as that. He that cometh to God must believe that he is. (Heb. 11:16). Faith reveals to us ‘isness’ of his being. There is no secret passage to God’s heart. Everyone who comes must go through the Door (John 10:9-16). How do you find the Door? Through our map-The Word. If I find out more, you will be the first to know. Please do share your journey of intimacy and faith with me too.
He Pursues You
So, we meet a God, (through the correct lenses of scripture not feelings) he turns out not to be an ego-maniac suitor. But he has stated his interest in saving us. He has shown his love and even when we don’t know exactly how to accept this unconditional love, he still pursues us. You know he pursues you when something in you won’t quite rest until you can say, “I have found the one whom my soul loveth.” Some of us have met Christ but we don’t know him. I don’t want you to assume, I have this intimacy thing ‘locked’ but as you are on this journey, I am your sister, striving for the same goal, Christ. For those who are suffering whether physically or emotionally, Rescue by Lauren Diagle has been hitting the spot. I hope it encourages you too.
I am dying to know what will happen next! Are you? As usual, tell me your predictions. It is always a delight to hear from you. See you next Friday at 5 pm for an all new post in the unpredictable yet satisfying Engraved Series. Missed last week? Here it is! Remember, you are precious.