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Lora’s Lesson

If you had asked Lora she would have told you that there was nothing wrong with her. In her eyes she was perfectly alright and in no need of change. But if you asked those close to her they might have said, “She can be cold and prickly.” Or “Sometimes she seems rather hard.” Only one person really might have understood her. One who had been so close at one time that instead of calling each other friends they referred to one another as sisters. But Lynn had been out of the picture for over four years now.

Lora was a conscientious employee and worked very hard for nine years but in the past four years she had become more and more cantankerous, and critical, often blowing up over minor mistakes by fellow employees. In fact lately the other employees had started to avoid her. She’s noticed that she was spending more lunches alone. Puzzled by this, she couldn’t put her finger on the reason why. She had always seen herself as gregarious, outgoing and a lot of fun, all of which were true as long as you didn’t cross her. It was sometimes very tricky to pinpoint what she’d done. She was very charismatic and cut you with humor while smiling all the time. While you’re left wondering what just happened?

Lora didn’t always abuse her charisma. In fact it is was what attracted Lynn to her in the first place, as well as her humor, playfulness, compassion, loyalty and empathy. Lynn’s heart broke when their friendship fell apart. She has been hoping that they could find a way to reconcile. Her nightly prayer was; “Lord, I know what I did was wrong and I have asked Your forgiveness, which I thank You for giving me. Father, I have tried to speak to Lora to apologize and ask her forgiveness but she won’t take my calls; she returns my mail and refuses to open the door when I go to her house. Lord, please soften her heart that she would be willing to accept my apology and that our friendship would be restored. I so miss the old Lora.”

The two women had been friends since that first day of first grade. They met on the play ground when bullies were taunting Lynn a spunky and feisty Lora came to her rescue. This sealed their friendship. Not that Lynn needed defending but even at that tender age Lora had a tender heart coupled with a take charge streak.

Time went on, and when the girls reached high school they blossomed into beautiful, popular, young women. They were both on the girls varsity volleyball team. Lora was of course the team captain. They were also very involved in the drama department. This is where Lynn shone. She got the lead in nearly every production, and Lora was always there to cheer her on.

In her junior year, Lynn fell madly in love with Curtis Madding the varsity quarterback. They started dating in November and things started getting serious by Christmas. She started feeling pressured to go all the way. Curtis had big plans for New Year’s Eve. When he let Lynn in on the scheme she felt half exhilarated but mostly terrified. She had visions of how the night would go; dinner at a fancy restaurant, going dancing afterwards, and then a romantic intimate encounter in the hotel room. Things were going just as Lynn had imagined. They had a lovely dinner at “Pierre’s” the most expensive restaurant in town. Curtis had arranged for fake ID’s for them and Lora and her date Tom. So after dinner the four of them met at the “Club Venice”. Lynn was apprehensive about this because she had seen Curtis overdue on alcohol before and really didn’t want to be around him when he was drunk. As she suspected the first thing Curtis did at the club was to order a beer and chasers. She went to Lora and said, “I’m getting scared, Curtis keeps drinking and he is getting more and more aggressive, and demanding. I tried to get him to stop but he pinned me against the wall. Can you and Tom please give me a ride home?” Lora was distracted by the party atmosphere had no desire to leave so she replied, “Oh, Lynn don’t be such a baby. It’ll be okay. He’ll probably just pass out and sleep it off” Lynn pleaded, “Do you have your cell phone or can I use Tom’s phone to call my dad to pick me up?” Lora responded, “No I didn’t bring a purse with me I knew Tom would be taking care of everything and I’m not going to bother Tom with your hysteria! Honestly, buck up everything will be okay, you’re such a worry wort.” Lynn walked away feeling deflated and abandoned. She realized she was stuck, that Curtis was her only way home, perhaps she could reason with him. Deciding to numb her fears she ordered a rum and coke. She was still nursing it when midnight hit and Curtis pulled her toward him and gave her a sloppy French kiss then said, “Come on baby it’s time to go.”

He grabbed Lynn’s arm hard and dragging her out of there, much to her dismay. Before she knew it she was in his truck on the way to the motel. All the way she kept telling Curtis, “Please, no! I don’t want to anymore! I’ve changed my mind! Curtis, please take me home! Oh, please, please, no!” Curtis replied only once, “Look you stop being such a tease! I’ll take you home when the evening is over and it’s not over yet you bitch!”

They pulled into a sleazy motel on the far side of town. The parking lot was almost deserted. Curtis told Lynn to keep her trap shut or there would be hell to pay. He threatened her that while he got the key if she tried anything he would make her life a living hell. “You know that there is no way you can out run me,” he terrorized, “so don’t even try.” Once at the room, she was in such a state that she didn’t even think to lock her door before he came around opened the door and jerked her out of the truck. Again dragging her this time into the motel room, she cried, “No, no, no, please no!” Once in the room Lynn continued to try and reason with him, “You don’t really want to do this Curtis. Please think about it.” Curtis replied, “You knew that tonight was the night. You’re nothing but a tease. I held up my part of the evening. I gave you all the romance you wanted; an expensive dinner, dancing and now it’s your turn!”, as he threw her on the bed and covered her mouth to muffle her screams. Lora cried through the whole ordeal. When it was over Curtis said, “Get yourself together and I’ll take you home!” The hatred and coldness in his voice scared Lynn. She sat in utter silence all the way home. Nothing was said by either of them once the truck stopped in front of her house; she just jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the house and upstairs to her room.

Thank God mom and dad weren’t home yet, they were still celebrating. Lynn was not ready to face them. She got her night clothes and went to the bathroom for a long hot shower. She scrubbed long and hard to get the scent of Curtis off of her and wept the entire time. An hour and a half later she was in bed still weeping more softly now than when she was in the shower. She wasn’t sure how long she lay in bed trying to muffle her sobs with her pillow. Eventually she fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning Lynn awoke in pain from the forcefulness of Curtis and exhausted. Her mom told her that Lora was on the phone, Lynn responded, “Tell her I’m not interested in talking with her.”; realizing this might make her mom curious. She added, “Tell her I’ll call her back later, I’m just too tired still.” She was conflicted, Lora was her best friend and she desperately needed someone to talk to but Lora was also the one that had bailed on her last night. She couldn’t help but feeling angry at Lora. “How could she leave me in his company? After all, she’s seen what he’s like drunk. What would make her think last night would be any different and I told her about the plans for the evening? How could she not know what happened was going to happen? I hate Curtis and I never want to see him again and I think I hate Lora and I don’t really want to see her!” Lynn spent the majority of the day in her room in bed. She had come down to have a light breakfast and lunch for she truly wasn’t hungry and was only keeping up appearances. Mom had made some comment about her still being in her pajamas at breakfast, so Lynn dressed not wanting to arouse suspicions.

Later in the afternoon while Lynn was still lying on her bed in bounced Lora. Lynn’s mom had let her in not knowing anything was wrong and told her that Lynn was in her room. Lora was all excited, completely oblivious to Lynn, “Tom asked me to go steady last night isn’t that just great? I couldn’t believe it when I heard it! I even said, ‘What?’ Can you believe it? How embarrassing! But he said it again and it was true after going out only two weeks he wants to go steady! Jeez that man moves fast! And he made it the best night ever! When he came to my door he had a single red rose – isn’t that romantic? Then he took me to the “Quiet Cannon” it had a beautiful ocean and starry night view. After dinner we had a delicious dessert a chocolate mousse that had so many layers of flavors in it, it was amazing! I’m sure I could taste hints orange and maybe some raspberry as well, dark chocolate blended with real whip cream and whatever else they put in it. It was stupendous! Then of course we met you and Curtis at the Club and danced the night away. We didn’t see you leave but when the club closed we went to a scenic point and talked and talked. That’s when he asked me to go steady with him. And of course I said yes.” Lynn had been ignoring Lora and her borage of words, for that’s all they were to her. Finally Lora realized that Lynn was not acting herself. “Hey, what’s with you?” asked Lora. Something broke in Lynn and she was no longer sad and stunned, now she felt rage. “I asked you to take me home and you wouldn’t!!! And, and, and, oh, why couldn’t you have listened to me and done what I had asked?!?! You were so in to Tom that you totally ignored me!!” She screamed. Luckily for Lynn the rest of the house was empty: her mom had gone shopping, her younger brother Georgie had gone to his friend’s house, her older brother was with his girlfriend and dad had gone to his Brother Bob’s house to watch the games, so only Lora was privy to her screaming. “What has you so upset? What on earth did I do? As I recall we were all having fun.” said Lora dumb founded. “Don’t you remember me asking you and Tom to take me home? That I was afraid of Curtis and his drinking? You basically told me I was being hysterical and a worry wort!” yelled Lynn. “I vaguely remember something to that effect but I was having so much fun I wasn’t ready to leave. Plus Curtis didn’t seem all that bad to me. I don’t know what you’re in such a tizzy about!” replied Lora. Lynn could barely contain herself, “I told you that Curtis had plans for last night to be THE night! It wasn’t romantic like I imagined it – far from it! It was horrid! I begged him not to, but he wouldn’t listen to me! No one listened to me last night! It’s like I was mute and invisible! Lora interrupted, “Lynn are you telling me that Curtis forced himself on you?” Lynn shook her head tears started rolling down her face. Lora continued, “Let me make sure I understand you. You are saying that Curtis raped you right?” Lynn went hysterical at the sound of the word, the one she had been trying to force out of her mind, to no avail. Lora ran to her friend to comfort her. She had no idea how to soothe her, with this retched revelation. She had never known anyone who had gone through such a horrid thing, so she just held her and stroked her hair as she wept and sobbed. Lora did some weeping herself. “I’m so sorry Lynn that I didn’t pay more attention to your needs last night. I’m so sorry that I had a part of what you were put through. It makes me sick just thinking about all you’ve been through.” commented Lora. About 30 minutes into this Lora had a practical thought about protection but decided this was not the time to mention it. Another 30 minutes later Lynn was again spent from crying and looked a mess. Lora decided it was time to leave her room. The house was still empty so she suggested they go down stairs to get something to eat.

Lora felt as at home in this house as her own home, so when her companion just plopped herself on the kitchen barstool and her head fell into her arms, Lora just started perusing the pantry and refrigerator for something to eat. “Hey, what about some Tostitos or Pringles?” asked Lora. Lynn mumbled, “No.” Thinking she had found another good option she asked, “What about some pizza and coke?” Again Lynn grunted, “No.” Not to be defeated Lora asked, “How about some hot coco and some cookies? At this Lynn perked up. “I don’t care about the cookies that much but hot coco sounds scrumptious. Do we have any whip cream and any leftover candy canes?” asked Lynn. Lora scrounged around and replied, “Well I found the whip cream but we may be out of luck with the candy canes. Wait a minute I have an idea!” She ran to the living room where the Christmas tree was and there hanging on it were the needed candy canes. She came running back saying, “Eureka! I found them!” While enjoying their coco Lynn seemed relaxed enough to ask her some tough questions, so Lora took a deep breath and dived in, “Lynn I know you may not want to think about this let alone talk about it but have you decided if you are going to press charges or not?” Lynn suddenly felt like a caged animal, she dropped the candy cane she was using to stir her coco. It is not that the thought had not occurred to her but so many other thoughts came with it: everyone would know, how would they react, especially my parents, there would be a trial, and could I really go through a trial, would I be made out to be a vixen? She finally replied, “I have thought of it and all the repercussions and I’m not sure I can press charges.” “Is it that you’re afraid that you’ll be the one put on trial? Or is it that you don’t want your parents knowing what happened to you?” asked Lora. “Those and so much more, it’ll be public knowledge. You know that all of Jefferson High will be taking sides on who to believe, not just the school the whole community will be taking sides. I don’t think I can go through all of that. He’s too popular and more likely to be believed than me. I think I just want to forget about it and go on with my life. All anyone will know is that we broke up in the New Year.” said Lynn. Lora dared their friendship some more, “Lynn, did he use protection?” she asked tentatively. “Nnoooo!” Lynn wailed. “And yes I know full well what that means! What will I do if I am pregnant?!?” she continued to wail. “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.” assured Lora. “We’ll just wait and see if you miss your period and if you do we’ll get a pregnancy test.” “But what if it comes out positive?” cried Lynn. “Then I’ll go with you to Planned Parenthood and they will let you know what your options are. I understand you don’t need insurance or parental permission there.” Lora said trying to calm the panicky Lynn.

Four weeks later with a positive pregnancy test Lora and Lynn found themselves at Planned Parenthood. They did their own test on her and it confirmed what the girls already knew. They talked to her about the option of abortion and gave her pamphlets on it to take with her. They learned it would be $350 for an early abortion and it would cost $400 if she waited pass nine weeks. She would have to make a decision quickly she had limited funds from her after school job and after 12 weeks it increased by a $100 every 4 weeks. “I’ve got $200 in Christmas money and $70.28 saved from working but that leaves me shy almost $80. I have to make car and insurance payments and gas. If I use the car to get to and from work that will only leave me with a grand total of $290 in my bank account. I can’t afford an abortion and I can’t bear the thought of going through with the pregnancy. It’ll be a constant reminder of that night! Everyone will know that we did it even if they didn’t know how it really happened. They will think I actually enjoyed it! They’ll expect me to love this thing! How can I do anything but hate it and what it represents?!?” bemoaned Lynn as they head for the car. Lora hurt for her friend and offered, “Don’t worry Lynn no one has to ever know what happened. There is no need for your secret to get out. I’ll never say anything to anyone. You can count on my solemn promise and our friendship. As for the rest of the money I have the additional $60 you need. So you see everything will be alright. Would you feel better if we went back and made an appointment right now for four weeks from Monday? We will have the money that we need by then.”Lynn replied, “Yeh, let’s go and get this over with.”

Afterwards, Lynn felt dead and empty inside. She was feeling awful before the abortion but she never imagined that she would feel even worse afterwards. When she tried to explain it to Lora all she got was trite sayings that did her no go. The only person she could go to with this retched pain was totally oblivious to what she was going through. She finally gave up and buried her feelings as deep as she could. It became something that Lora and Lynn never talked about again.

They both went to the local University and there met Diane. They all took the same general education, biology class. They would meet in study rooms in the Library. Diane had a natural talent for biology where Lora grasped it fairly well, but Lynn struggled with it. Diane was intelligent, wise, discerning, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, a good cook, pleasant to look at, an excellent listener, and she was rather popular. In dorm life those that were intelligent, listened and could cook it lent themselves to popularity. Diane also had a deep abiding love for God. It was her discernment and wisdom that kept her from being black balled for her beliefs. She knew when to speak and what to say and when to listen and pray. This became an endearing quality in her. Diane had a very special affinity for Lora and Lynn. All three lived in the dorm and quickly became inseparable. Diane could tell that something was deeply disturbing Lynn but despite all her prayers for an opening she never found the right time to ask Lynn what weighed her down. The Sisters Three, as they grew to call themselves, graduated college. Lora had interned with a prominent advertising firm and had a job waiting for her upon graduation. Lynn had majored in education and was hired as an English teacher at a Jefferson High School. Diane had majored in nursing with an interest in psychology. Sisters Three would have weekly lunches varying on Diane’s schedule at the hospital.

Lora and Lynn frequented bars in an attempt to meet men. One night Lora met a guy named Rob. There was an instant connection. Lynn was not nearby when they met. She was busy talking to another man, Rob walked by and Lynn gravitated to him immediately. She couldn’t help the feelings she was having even as she saw Lora interacting with him. She decided staying clear would be the safest thing to do. The feelings were so intense she couldn’t risk getting to know him.

The next day was their weekly lunch. Lynn ventured to ask Lora how her evening went. “At first I thought it was going places but my date Rob turned out to be a disappointment. “Just a one night stand?” Lynn inquired, “What made him such a disappointment? And if he was a disappointment why did you sleep with him?” Lora responded, “As you know I am not ready for any kind of commitment. This guy is looking hard for Mrs. Right and I don’t want to be Mrs. Anybody. I’m all for living for the moment and having fun. He doesn’t want to do that so he’s not the guy for me.” Diane ventured, “Did you find this out before or after you slept with him?” Lynn was so grateful for Diane’s question, she wanted to ask that herself but thought that might give too much away. Lora responded indignantly, “After of course! What do you think I am? What are you getting at Diane?” Diane asked God for wisdom, discernment and love, took a deep breath and responded, “I believe when you are intimate you give part of yourself away and one day you may look back and find you’ve lost too much of yourself.” Lora turned away from the others, looking out the window, a solitary tear rolled down her check. Pondering Diane’s comment she connected the feelings of emptiness with long forgotten pieces of herself.

Knowing that Lora had no feelings for Rob Lynn mustered up her courage to ask Lora if she could pursue Rob. “Lora I know this may come as a surprise to you but when I saw Rob last night I had very strong feelings for him. I didn’t come and introduce myself because I knew the feelings were beyond my control and if I got to know him there would be no denying them. You were engaged with him and I wasn’t going to cross girlfriend boundaries. Now that I know that you have no interest in him, I’m asking for your permission to pursue him. I’m hoping that this will turn into something great but I don’t want to step on your toes.” Lora answered, “Lynn, I have no interest in the man, if you want to pursue him that is fine with me. I have his phone number would you like me to set the two of you up.” “Would you? That would be great! You can give him my phone number.” said Lynn. Their relationship never clicked it was one sided on Lynn’s part.

As close as “The Sisters Three” were their dating practices were very different. Lora was a casual dater, occasionally she would get serious about someone, but usually it was one or two dates and on to the next guy. Lynn was an old fashion girl. Yes she went to the bars with Lora but when she found someone that she was interested she hoped and prayed that he would notice her and waited for him to make the first move. In contrast Diane wanted a man who loved God so she did her looking at church, took her time and observed the man’s character to see if it was something that she desired.

Sisters Three were at a bar one night, this really wasn’t Diane’s thing but she enjoyed the company and was the designated driver incase Lynn decided to drink. At their table they had a great view of the majority of the patrons of the bar. Lynn immediately noticed a man with an enchanting smile, luscious deep brown hair meticulously coiffed. His eyes danced as he laughed at the joke he had told the woman he was standing beside. He was dressed in Florshiems (reminiscent of her father’s favorite shoe), dark jeans, a lavender dress shirt with a v-neck lavender sweater that had yellow trim accents on the v-neck and cuffs. As Lynn drank in the sight she couldn’t help but think that this was not only a man that knew how to dress but was very assured of himself, two qualities she found very attractive. She checked herself in her mirror, was she presentable enough to catch his eye? Oh, how she hoped that he might notice her. Much to her dismay later in the night Lora set her sights on him. She flirted enough to get him to come to their table. Lynn wished so that he would notice her and he did but only after being entangled by Lora, she could be possessive when she wanted.

He introduced himself as Kenneth Randolph. Lora had commented, “Please join us. That’s a rather peculiar last name is there an interesting story behind it?” putting her hand on his forearm. “Well,” started Kenneth, “some might say it’s interesting. My great great grandfather fought in World War I. He was found in Germany by the Brits, unconscious with no dog tags; no helmet, only an American uniform on. They took him to one of their hospitals and all he did was mumble Kenneth Randolph. They figured this was his name and wrote to the American Authorities to see if they could find his family – none was ever found neither was any recruit by the name of Kenneth Randolph. He spoke perfect English in his mumblings and never any other language so no one even considered that he might be a spy. When he finally awoke they greeted him as Kenneth but he had no recollection of that name or for that matter any name. They worked with him for nearly a year trying to help him to regain his memory, but, he finally gave up and took the name Kenneth Randolph. My dad wanted to honor all he did for our country and all he lost in the process so after all these years I’m the first to bear his name” “How thoughtful and loving of your father.” said Lynn. “It looks like you work out. Where do you go?” quipped Lora. “I go to the YMCA near my place” responded Kenneth. “Well, it has given you a great physique.” flirted Lora.

Lora continued flirting with Kenneth and after 30 minutes of this Lynn could see that it was useless to think she could get his attention. She did question herself, “Did he really look at me and smile? Was that a wink he gave in my direction? Surely I must have been mistaken. He’s flirting with Lora, if he were interested in me surely he would approach me rather than continuing with her.” Lynn couldn’t take any more of this, it was too painful, so she turned to Diane and asked, “Would you mind taking me home? I’m ready to call it a night.” Diane responded, “Sure Lynn no problem. Bye Kenneth nice to meet you. See you soon Lora.” “It was nice to meet the two of you.” Kenneth said. “Bye.” Lora gushed. Kenneth watched as the two left, he couldn’t help but feel this night had somehow gone terribly wrong.

Realizing that Lora may have no way home Kenneth asked, “Did the three of you come together?” “Yes” smiled Lora as if he had fallen into a trap. “I guess you’ll just have to take me home.” Kenneth responded casually and cautiously, “Taking you home would indeed be the gentlemanly thing to do. Shall we go?” Lora was beside herself with her good luck. This scheme hadn’t always worked but when it did it was always to her satisfaction.

On the ride home the conversation going on in the two minds couldn’t be more different. Lora was thinking, “He’ll open my door. We’ll walk up to my condo and I’ll invite him in for a night cap and then the fun will begin.” Kenneth was thinking, “I hope she isn’t expecting anything. Although some flirting is fun this girl is just to forward for me. I can’t wait for this evening to end. I’ll take her home; make sure she gets in safe and leave.”

Once at her condo he opened the door to his car for her and walked her up to the front of the high rise complex. He stopped at the door and thanked her for the evening. Lora was stunned, “Don’t you want to come up?” Not wanting to be rude Kenneth rationalized, “It’s getting late. I just want to go home.” Lora wanted more from Kenneth than just a night of innocent flirting, “Well, don’t forget to take my number so we can get together again.” Lora handed Kenneth her business card, turned it over and wrote her cell and home numbers on the back. Kenneth thought boy this girl is pushy she isn’t even letting me make the move, she is not the girl for me, so he just said, “Thanks,” turned towards his car quipped, “I had a nice time, bye.” and got into his car and drove off.

As Kenneth was driving off reflecting on the evening he realized that although he had enjoyed the compliments Lora was giving him and the flirting they did all evening he couldn’t help but think of the sweet Lynn who had gone home with quiet Diane. How was he going to get in contact with her without going through Lora? 

Continue reading “Lora’s Lesson”

Little Clay Pots

This is reposted from the writer Anne Graham Lotz from her devotional: “The Joy of My Heart: Meditating Daily on God’s Word”

“You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and we are the work of Your hand.”   –     Isaiah 64:8  NKJV

The principle that suffering leads to glory is illustrated in Scripture by a vivid description of clay on the Potter’s wheel – clay that was once cracked, shattered, and broken, clay that was totally useless and ugly.  The Potter took the clay and broke it down even further, grinding it into dust then moistening it with water before He put it on His wheel and began to remake it into a vessel pleasing to Himself.  The cracks and chips became soft and pliable to the Potter’s touch.  But the clay was still soft and weak, the color dull and drab.  So the Potter placed the vessel into the fiery kiln, carefully keeping His eye on it as He submitted it to the raging heat.  At a timer He alone determined was sufficient, the Potter withdrew the pot from the furnace.  The blazing heat had radically transformed into a vessel of strength and glorious, multicolored beauty.

You and I are just little clay pots destined for glory!

Let’s let God do the work that He wants to do in our life.  Let’s become the clay pots that He has in mind for us.  It is not just a matter of obedience but of faith and trust and living a life that is fulfilling that brings glory to God.  I can’t think of a better way to live.  Can you?

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 8

Diane worked 11pm to 3pm that day and thanks to Flossy, news had reached the hospital. Diane went to Lynn’s school straight from work to see how she was holding up. Lynn was busy talking to the teacher’s aide with her back to the door. Once the aide left the room Diane grabbed a nearby chair. When Lynn saw Diane she fell in her arms and wept. Diane stroked her hair and kept repeating “We’ll get through this Lynn, we will get through this.”

Eventually Lynn’s crying subsided and she asked, “Does everyone know what happened?” “I don’t know about everyone but I do know that it has reached the hospital. Lynn not that it changes our friendship and how much I care for you but just so I know how to support you were you raped and did you go through an abortion?” “Yes it is all true.” moaned Lynn. “My boyfriend at the time was drunk and forced himself on me.” A quizzical Diane asked, “Why would Lora betray your confidence like that?” “I’ve been seeing Kenneth Randolph; he turned out to be the new counselor at school. He started the Monday after we meet him at the bar; we’ve been having lunch every day since then. I finally told Lora about it and asked her forgiveness for not asking her permission to see him but she blew up and decided I had destroyed our friendship.” Diane consoled, “I’m so sorry that Lora has decided to do this act of revenge to you.”

Concerned but not wanting to hurt Lynn, Diane ventured, “I’ve known that something has been gnawing at you since college but I never knew how to talk to you about it. I also noticed that you’ve always been on the thin side and life gets stressful you get almost scary thin. I realize now I should have spoken to you in college about the weight thing. I also noticed that at times you would spend a lot of time in your room almost like you were hiding from the rest of the world. Where you hiding?” Lynn answered, “The hiding thing yeh maybe. The thing gnawing at me you now know even Ken mentioned it, is it that obvious?” “I don’t think it’s obvious, only those closest to you would see that deep into your soul.” Diane said.

Lora facing away from the door didn’t see Ken pop in to check on her. Diane gave a quick knowing look assuring him she had things under control. He slipped out and left the two friends alone. Lynn said rather insulted and annoyed, “As for the eating thing I think you are way off base Diane. Just because I eat healthy and don’t have a big appetite like other people and have small bones people think that I’m too thin. I’ve never been too thin in my life! If anything I have had trouble keeping my weight down.” “I’m sorry Lynn; I didn’t mean to hit a nerve with you.” Diane caring for Lynn ventured at the risk of their friendship, “Have you ever dealt with all of this or have you hidden it away hoping it would go way?” “I’ve done my best to put it behind me hoping never to have to think or hear about it again.” replied Lynn. “It might be hard to understand this right now since this has come to light it could be an opportunity for healing.” suggested Diane. Lynn looked at her in shock and horror. “I don’t want to look at this!” Diane continued, “Lynn have you allowed yourself to grieve over the loss of choice? Curtis robbed you of that choice the moment he forced himself on you?” Lynn moaned, “No, I never allowed myself to completely face it. I cried that night and the next day and that was the last of it.” Once again Diane tested their friendship, “That is not all he robbed you of have you grieved the loss of your virginity?” “No.” groaned Lynn.

Diane risked Lynn’s repercussion once more, “Have you ever grieved the loss of your child?” Lynn hadn’t thought of it but the question put it together for her, she replied, “It never occurred to me but I did feel dead and empty inside after the abortion. I couldn’t talk to Lora about it she thought of it as something to just get over with and so did I until it was over. I never imagined that I would feel even worse after the abortion than I did before it. I wish I had carried it and given it up for adoption.” Diane sympathized, “Lynn I’m so sorry, what you went through was hard enough, the fact that you had to do it alone is even worse. I know that I can’t do anything to change your pain but I want you to know that whenever you want to talk about any of this I am here for you.” Lynn felt relieved she had a friend to talk to when she was ready. She responded “Thanks Diane, I’ll take you up on that but right now I’m more concerned about how these revelations are going to impact my life now. Such as what will Curtis do now that this is out?” Diane replied, “We will deal with each fall out of these revelations as they occur.”

Noticing Lynn’s drawn face and tired eyes Diane said, “You look spent. Would you like to get some dinner so you don’t have to cook or I could bring some take out over?” Wanting to be alone Lynn answered, “Thanks, but I think I just want to take a nice long hot bath and go to bed early maybe I’ll have some yogurt and carrots for dinner.” “Try to eat a little more than just that for dinner you will feel better.” ventured Diane. Lynn quipped, “Thanks Diane but I’m a big girl, and I know how to fix my own dinner.”

The Gift of Gratitude – A Short Story Part 4

“One day I questioned my friend Mary as to where all these bizarre qualities were coming from. She responded, “Do you listen to the pastor speak before the meals at the shelter?” I admitted that I had zoned out during such times. She then invited me to a meeting that night, which would serve my purpose of getting out of the cold and her purpose of introducing me to her Best Friend. So I went not expecting much but my friends must have been praying for me because for the first time I heard about the love of Jesus Christ. About all the suffering He had done for me, even when I still hated Him. This was a man well acquainted with suffering yet He gladly bore it so that I might be saved. I listened to all the preacher had to say and when the alter call was given I went down. I was ready to accept this free gift of eternal life. You see that is what you see in my eyes it is what Christ has done for me. That is the song I sing of joy and thanksgiving. That He has saved me. As the Apostle Paul said, ‘I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.’ That is Philippians 4:12b-13. I have not have the privilege with this new life of learning to be content in living in plenty, as I once lived. But I would not go back to that old empty life for anything. I would only go back to wealth if I could take Jesus with me. I imagine you are having a hard time with all of this Jack, aren’t you?” Jack nodded thoughtfully. “I understand that,” continued Esther, “it was not easy for me to put my head and especially my heart around it when I first heard it. I’ve kept you a long time should you like to talk to me again we can meet here any day at the same time.” Jack agreed that he had a lot to think about and told Esther he would like to meet with her again. With that he and Gab left while Jack’s head was spinning with thoughts.

It was definitely too late for visiting hours at the hospital, but for some reason that was the only place Jack wanted to be with his thoughts. He bid Gab goodbye and walked on to the hospital deep in thought. Could this Christ that Esther spoke so lovingly about do the same for him as He had done for her? He wasn’t so sure; he thought that truly he was different than other people even if Esther and he had come from such similar back grounds. As he entered the hospital he noticed that it was dark, he reasoned that it must be to help the patients sleep. It then occurred to him that in all the time his family had been here the few times that he had visited, he never came other than visiting hours. For some reason he realized he suddenly felt a pang of guilt. He realized that he had been absent when his wife and daughter needed him most. His heart started changing. He no longer felt as concerned with their appearance as he was with their need for him. The thought entered his mind, “How could I have been so uncaring, so shallow.” Then almost immediately came the thought, “Because that is what has always been my way – Oh, what a wretched man am I that I have cared more about appearances than, than, than loving – that’s what has been missing in my life.” Suddenly he felt utterly worthless. How could he be so vile of a man? He had always thought of himself as a good man or at the very least a decent man, but now he was beginning to see himself for who he truly was and it was breaking his heart. What had been so hard was crumbling within him. As he reached his wife’s room he wanted so much to talk to her and at the same time felt so unworthy of her. His beautiful Janet who had been so gracious about his egotism and callousness, how could he disrupt her sleep, with thoughts of his own need to talk to her about all that he had heard and been pondering? He slipped into her room as quietly as possible and yet she stirred and murmured, “Nurse?” “No, it’s me Jack. Do you need me to get you a nurse?” He asked. “No,” she responded, “I just didn’t think it was anyone but a nurse.” “I didn’t mean to wake you. You go back to sleep. I just wanted to be near you.” Said Jack. “Is Julie okay?” “Yes she is fine. I have heard nothing from the doctors to think otherwise.” At this Janet responded, “What has happened to you Jack? You’re not acting like yourself.” “I don’t quite know where to start. So much has happened. I haven’t shared with you anything that has happened since the fire.” “It has been your way not to share anything with me a lot longer than that, Jack. I’m stronger than you know and I care more than I think you trust, won’t you please share your heart with me. This is something I’ve been praying for, for a long time.” “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather rest and sleep?” “Please, Jack, there is a reason you are here and I’ve rested all day and am quite awake. I promise if I need to rest I’ll let you know. Now do we have a deal?” “Yes, we have a deal, but this may take quite a bit of time.” Janet’s eyes twinkled as she  responded, “You have my undivided attention.”

More Than Conquerors

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”  – Romans 8:31b

There are so many times in a day that I forget that the battle has been won and I let the enemy get the best of me. Oh, that I would remember that the Omnipotent, Mighty, God is for me. If that were for front in my mind at all times I would live a life far different from the one I live now.

If I lived my life fully aware that God was for me and all that meant, I’d live a victorious life. God wants His children to succeed at things that are of His will, so that He will receive all the glory. When I live in victory it points the world to the One who is the source of that victory. That is one reason God wants us to be more than conquerors.

Our broken lives are nothing without Him. It is in our brokenness, when we turn it over to God, that the world sees the light of God shining through.

“You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘You did not make me’? Can the pot say to the potter, ‘You know nothing’?” – Isaiah 29:16

This is where people get the idea of God being the potter and us being the clay or the pot. In other verses of the Bible He talks about forming it for His purpose and what seems best to Him.

Being broken pots, those cracks of brokenness that we may be so ashamed of or embarrassed of, those are the very things that God uses to shine His glory through as He uses us. So let’s let God use us cracks and all. He doesn’t need strong people – they are self-reliant, that is why God uses the weak because it forces us to be God-reliant. Where He gets the glory He deserves.

So rather than being self-conscious or embarrassed or ashamed of our cracks let us remember that we have been chosen to be used of God with those cracks to shine the light of God on the world and show them how they too can be more than conquerors with the power of God in us.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart