IN PLAIN SIGHT

I would have fainted had I not seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living

Psalm 27: 13-14

It should have been a normal uneventful Tuesday, a day of sitting at my outdoor table under our big party tent that takes up most of our tiny front yard. I love sitting at that table, reading a book or just staring at my surroundings on our quiet little street. The birds are always chirping and the neighbor’s dogs are always playing amongst themselves in their fenced in yard. Sitting outside has always been a place of soothing to me. A place for me to escape the traumas of life. I can remember sitting outside at night as a teenager staring at the moon after my grandmother passed away. It helped to keep the suicidal thoughts at bay. I had no idea how I would survive this world without her. Somehow, I did, and life carried on.

This particular Tuesday however I was seeking refuge outside to escape the uninvited fear that was traumatizing my home. We had gotten a call from our oldest daughter’s best friend early Sunday morning, stating that our daughter had been brutally attacked and was at the hospital with one of our other daughters. It was heart wrenching to see her in such a state when my husband brought her home later that Sunday morning. The police were called, charges were pressed and she was now under our roof and our care as she had been growing up. The police told us to lie low until the investigation was over and to not worry, they had things well in hand. She needed 24-hour care, her assailants had tried to kill her, stomping her in her head and leaving her on the side of the road at 3 A.M. on that fateful Sunday morning. I knew of course that it had been God releasing His angels around her, to ultimately save her life. Monday came and went; she would cry a little and sleep most of the day as I cared for my grandson who is in virtual school. My husband at work and our youngest was off to school in this pandemic, trying to enjoy her senior year. There was no time for me to process as a mother what had happened to my child. I couldn’t find a corner to secretly sob in. I couldn’t scream into a pillow at the top of my lungs, for fear that I would lose control. My husband had completely shut down, so talking it out was not an option. I had to remain strong, put on my “I’m not affected by this” mask. I had cooking and cleaning and caring to do for my entire family. What happened to her touched all of us in a deep traumatizing way.

There was also the ugly fact that my daughter knew her assailant. Someone she befriended too easily and to early. I have always told my adult children, if I don’t know your new friends, do not bring them to my house. This has always been a rule. My oldest daughter has never followed this rule and so yes, her assailant knew where I lived. This brings us to Tuesday, two days after her attack. All of the blinds are drawn in the house. The atmosphere is eerily quiet and charged with fear and anxiety. I told my husband to take the car that morning for no particular reason at all, that we would be fine, I wouldn’t need to go anywhere. We said our morning prayer and we kissed as we always do, and he and baby girl left. Around lunch time I began to have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I could not shake it. I decided to go outside and let the warm sunshine soothe me back into a comfortable space. I sat in my favorite chair, and I began to keep my head on a swivel.

It was warm outside, and the sun was shining bright. No one seemed to be home at any of my neighbor’s houses, but that seemed to be normal. I began to play a mindless game on my phone as I pushed back feelings of dread in my mind. A few minutes into my self-soothing, beads of sweat formed on my head, my heart began to flutter, and my mouth was watering. The fear I felt came so quickly upon my person, that it felt as though I was watching my life dissolve in slow motion. I appointed my gaze from my phone to the top of the street where cars turn in to enter our dead-end street. A car I had never seen before was slowly creeping down the street. It was at this moment I realized that I was paralyzed in place. Unable to move my body. Unable to flee into the safety of my home. The car was an old raggedy white Crown Victoria. The driver had the window down and her eyes were actively searching for something or someone. Carefully, methodically, eerily searching each house and yard as she inched closer to my house and my soothing place. My limbs began to burn, and I thought she is one house away from mine, how does she not see me? This is my chance to run. But instead, I shrunk about a half an inch into my seat as she was now about to be directly in front of me. I began to pray in tongues under my breathe as I stared at her. Slower and slower as the car passed my house, I could see the acne in her face, I could see the intent in her eyes. I could see the worn interior of the car and the desperation on her face of a failed assignment. I stared in absolute amazement as she looked past me and my house, my tiny yard with the large tent and the four tiny bikes that belonged to our grandchildren. It was as if my yard was not even there. As though it were just an open space where my family should have been. She passed my house and drove a few more feet to the dead end and stopped, in that moment, I took my leave. I rushed into my house and crouched by the drawn blinds in the living room to watch her next moves.

Time seemed to stand still as I waited. I expected her to drive by slowly, still looking, still hunting her prey. To my surprise she was backing up slowly. Still gazing at the empty property on my left and as she had passed my house the first time her gaze was quickly averted to the church that stood on the right side of my property. It had become miraculously apparent that my yard was hidden from her. Steadily, committed to her cause she almost stopped in front of my neighbor’s house, who’s automobile is identical to ours (but on the opposite side of the street) as she continued purposefully to back up the entire street. This she did until she reached the first house at the top of the hill. She backed into the driveway, turned around and exited to the main road.

Why had I not recognized His hand? How could I forget He hides me in his secret place? How did I not remember that I reside in the shadow of “The Almighty?” A weapon had been formed, but it could not prosper. It was my faith, the faith He gave me and clothed me in over the past fifty years that had kept my family hidden from darkness that day. My daughter would tell me weeks later that on that very Tuesday, the assailant who ordered her demise messaged her that day and told her, he was sending someone to my house to shoot it up, because we pressed charges. It had become crystal clear in that moment, that the dread, the fear, the paralyzing of my limbs, the hopelessness of flight in fright was not my feelings, but the feelings of my daughter who lie in her old bedroom that day, staring at a message that could never become fruitful. It had no roots to bare its rotten fruit. But I am rooted in Jesus and my branches bare faith and all the fruit of the spirit, because of Him. On that Tuesday, He shielded my entire house and yard and my physical body from the eyes of the enemy. On that Tuesday, I would have fainted had I not seen the goodness of the Lord, in the land of which I am living.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18Amplified Bible

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

God is doing a work in me. The bible teaches us that He takes us from faith to faith and glory to glory. It would be naive of me to ignore all the unseen dangers He has protected me from, that He has protected us all from. But to recognize and witness such a great spiritual protection in the middle of the day in the midst of a natural setting is beyond words. There was no great cloud of witnesses. I had no one with me to say “hey, they don’t even see me.” This miracle was for me, it was my lesson to learn. It was for my benefit, to remind me that even in trouble, I am His and because I am His, nothing can take me from this earth. I have an assignment. To go into this traumatized world and tell of the hope that is in Jesus. Yes, tribulations will come. Heartache will arise. But God will never forsake me or leave me.

I find it exhausting some days writing about my life. The child molestation. The countless rapes. The child abuse, the drug and alcohol addiction. I find myself to be selfish and not willing to move past it, in order to help others, heal. But this too shall pass as I journey forward from glory to glory and faith to faith. My daughter’s attack was not my own, but it triggered a darkness that tried to consume me, a darkness that is no longer, nor has it ever been mine to carry.

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