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Linda was a kind and gentle woman. The type of woman that stopped on dark roads to assist a stranger whose car had broken down, the kind of woman that would pay for someone’s groceries if they fell short of money, she was a God fearing woman, yes she was, but Linda had a darkeness that surrounded her soul, a darkness that silenced her laughter, and a darkness that plagued her joy.

Linda was also a woman of beauty and style.She could make A thrift store dress look like it came from Macy’s. Linda didn’t sew nor did she design, but the essence of her soul as dark as it was gave a sudden radiance that lit up the darkest room. It’s called pretending you know. Linda did that very well. Was she a fake? Oh no, not at the least. Was she phoney? Not one bit. Lind just learned how to maneuver around her pain so life looked simplistic and perfect in the eyes of a stranger. She didn’t fool us. We would watch her cry in the late night hours in hopes that a gentle hand or a loving touch would come down from the sky with a voice of security reassuring her that everything would be alright.

Her life wasn’t really that bad off as she thougt it to be. She is a wonderful mother, a swell cook, and her husband (the engineer) is to die for. Was he a unfaithful? No. Was he an abuser? No. Karl came home everyday at 6:00pm just in time to have dinner with his family and spend the rest of his evening staring into those big beautiful light brown eyes of his favorite girl Mrs. Linda Chapman.

As we continued to watch, we began to feel a bit saddened of what had become of this beautiful earthly vessel and so we inquired about her and found that she too as most women had lost herself in the raising of her children, tending to the needs of others and making sure Mr. Chapmen recieved the best of care, after all she hasn’t worked since the birth of her younget son, and that was over 17yrs ago. While the research continued we had been informed that this is the time in Linda’s life that she would feel alone, useless and forgotten; after all Christopher Chapman was headed off to the University of South Carolina in two weeks so she had just a short amount of time to sort out her life and figure out where to go from there.

Would she work? Who would hire Her? Would she go back to school? It had been over 20yrs since she even attempted to open a text book and besides she only had five more classes to go before she would graduate with her Masters in Psychology; But that had to be put on hold so that she could help raise the children and be the wife that she felt she needed to be.

We get it now. She’s lonely and she’s afraid of the future. We know she loves God because we here her pray every morning, every night, and oftentimes during the day. Her Bibles are all worn out from the late night studies and the weekly Bible studies that allow her some type of freedom from being couped up in that small but tidy apartment all day.

Aha! We got it! It isn’t that she doesn’t love God, or doesn’t trust Him, somewhere,somehow she lost a part of her and pieces of her faith have floated off with it. We can’t take it any longer. It’s time to be about our Father’s business and go fulfill the assignment that God has sent us to do.

As we begin to surround Linda and minster to her, droppings of peace fell from our wings and covered her until her tears tried up. As she got up off the floor our feet guided her to the bedroom and layed her tired worn soul down so that God could continue to speak to us concerning her.

This was six years ago. Linda’s doing fine now, but every now and again we like to check on the people that almost didn’t make it and rejoice over the fact that they did. It was so amazing to see God bottle up their tears and send (us) his ministering angels to revive their spirits, and protect them from the hand of the wicked one.

Author: Alicia Neal

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The Storm Of The Century

The Storm of the Century

I will never forget it.  It was like rain tapping on the glass then all of a sudden the storm came it was rain, hail, lighting, darkness and most of all my fear.  Fear of never recovering, fear of losing all that I had.  What do I do now?  Should I just wait till the storm ends and find my way out of the cold, wet, and soppy atmosphere that has just destroyed my world?

I haven’t seen the sun in days, years for that fact but I keep telling myself that storms don’t last that long.  Look at the Tsunami in Asia, the tornadoes in Oklahoma, so many have been destroyed but yet my storm only destroys me.  Look at the survivors of Katrina reflect in the back of your mind how the storm terrified, devastated and demoralized their world.  Will peace ever come?  Will the joy some how rise above the waters that swept away their whole world?  Will the children ever laugh again without being afraid of the levee barriers being broken in their lives?

Storms come and storms go but what remains is the residue that the rain has left.  She’s nicer now, life isn’t so less important to her she actually stops and smells the roses.  The old man walking down the street actually smiles when he sees her.  She’s more pleasant now.  The children play in her yard without the terrifying fact that of something being thrown at them, the neighbors stop by and get their daily laugh, all of this because of a storm? Huh.  Who would have thought?

The Lady that couldn’t take any more and tried to eliminate the breath God gave her, she’s in an institution now.  She just couldn’t cope, the husband, the children, the job, her past and school?  Naw, her mind wasn’t strong enough for that afraid of failure that was her plight.   The cookie baking, proper speaking, well mannered soccer player moms all had their eye on her. One slip up and Bam!  She’s no longer apart of our culture, our teeny tiny made up world.  So she sits trying frantically to mend her broken life back together.

I had that same storm.  I held on to whatever little sanity that I had cause if I would have let go, then that white straight jacket that ties around the back and leaves you no room to breath would have been waiting for me.

No longer will there be a frown on my face, anger in my heart or pain in my soul.  I have learned that a smile can brighten a day, a hug can dry a tear, and a thank you can improve a situation.  My spirit is free now gloating on the fact God has removed all my pains.  The sun shines on me now   the fullness of my day leaves me in sheer restoration.  I can go to bed knowing that the angels that rest upon me have somewhat giving me a new lease on life.  I smell the ocean, I listen to the trees, I hear the whispers of the wind,   I can feel again!

The Storm of the Century, the hurricane that almost swept me away, the tornado that disfigured my soul, who would have thought that a storm could leave behind the sweet smell of love, kindness, purity, spirituality and innocence that a white  rose would leave behind for a beautiful well decorated bride on her wedding day.

 

We are more than that. We are life savers.

I can remember the very first time i took on the role of a “step-mother”. I was so excited because i had finally become what my children (step-children) needed, and that was a mother. You see, things had happened in my children’s life that no child should ever go through. As the years have gone by I  now believe with all of my heart and soul that God sent me to my children just to ease the load they had to bare. Now, don’t you dare think for a moment that this road was easy! Not on the contrary, this road I had to travel was one of rebellion, rejection, and oftentimes disappointment. But somehow through all of their hurt and pain I thanked God for allowing me to be in their lives. Oftentimes, the role of a “step-mother” is compared to someone who is wicked, mean and full of control, but i’m here to put a stamp of beauty on “step-mothers” and the role that a “step-mother” must wear. We ar kind, gentle, a bit protective, caring, with room enough to love even through the hardest of times. We’re great cooks, good friends (well after the children have become grown), great listeners, with the warmest hug that any needy soul would appreciate. We’re also stern but fair, and teaches with the wisdom that God has given her. “Step-mothers” of this caliber don’t dare mouth the word “step-children” to the public. She always refer to her inheritance of wedded bliss as her Children! All though we may have been labled less than wonderful, i am here to clear the air so to speak ,and let the world know that “step-mothers”  are more than that! We are life savers.