In the fall of 1990, as all the depression and anxiety took its toll on me, my friendship with Cindy grew and we spent more time together. I carefully hid my depression and the physical impact it had on me, making sure not to let anyone see that side of me.
When I was alone, I spent a lot of time crying, and fighting body chills from stress. On several occasions when people dropped in to see me, they asked what was wrong with me, physically. I had the temperature cranked to 91 degrees Fahrenheit, was wearing a sweater, and still had the chills. It had become my normal, so I had no idea that it was a sign that things were very wrong.
But God had not forgotten me.
I believe powerfully that God places ‘angels’ in our lives. Sometimes people we know well, sometimes perfect strangers, and other times new friends. Cindy was one such angel. She was far more perceptive than I realized, and was working behind the scenes on my behalf. To my memory, we never spoke of my past or childhood much, if at all. Somehow, she saw through the hyperactive, happy-go-lucky exterior, right to my heart.
That awareness inspired her to go to her parents and share what she suspected, and before I knew what was happening, I had ‘parents’ in my life, for the first time in over 5 years.
It started with a visit or two, and that led to me ‘popping by’ after Wednesday night church and chattering with Cindy, her parents and her siblings. The visits would usually last longer than I intended, with me suddenly scrambling out the door, when I realized the time.
As Cindy did the background work, her mom, Alice, started reaching out to me, inviting me into their home. On October 30 Alice called to ask if I had plans that weekend, the first weekend of November. A prison chaplain, Max Jones, from Florida State Prison (named in an article on this FSP website), was visiting. Would I join their family.
I was at the peak of my depression, a lost and wounded soul. Did I have plans for the weekend? Sort of….
“I was thinking I would rent a room in Niagara Falls and spending a few days there this weekend,” I said.
“Oh?” She said in that way that no other person on earth speaks the word,with an entire paragraph wrapped up in two letters. “And who will you be going with?”
“Me, no one else,” I said. “I just need to get away, spend some time alone.”
“And you think some time alone is best for you?” she asked
“Yeah, I think so,” I lied.
“Ok. Well… we would love to have you join us. You’d really like Max. Why don’t you think about it? I’ll call back on Thursday and see if you’ve changed your mind.”
When Alice spoke, she spoke with authority. Not a bad authority. But you knew she would follow up and, if you’ve watched Blind Side, Alice was my Sandra Bullock. There was no way I would say no to her heart, and her intent. Even as I spoke to her that day, I knew it. Still, to maintain the necessary element of control, and to test her commitment to me, I played up my lonely trip to Niagara as some long-awaited get-away. (As though any mother would be dumb enough to believe that… I know better, now that I have an almost-eighteen-year-old daughter of my own. Nonetheless, I tried.)
True to her word Alice called that Thursday and Friday found me in their home for the weekend to meet Chaplain Max Jones.
Saturday morning for breakfast I was strategically seated around the corner from Max, who sat at one end of the table. We engaged in conversation and I was completely taken with his father-heart.
In that short encounter, he summed me up pretty good. Something I didn’t know until much later. Before he left, Chaplain Max spoke with Alice, and her husband Howard. “There’s a lot more inside of that girl that’s going to come out,” he said. They talked about what he had seen and sensed, and then he was gone. Another angel who slipped across my path, making an impact in passing that would play a role in my freedom.
This was the second affirmation they had prayed for. The first was when their daughter, Cindy, approached them and asked if they would intervene, and step into my life. She had said she’s fairly certain I was sexually abused as a child and they should help me. Unbeknownst to her, they had already been praying for me, having come to the same conclusion, and quite certain I had suppressed the memories. They had asked God to confirm it, if they were to act on it.
Having received the confirmation, they agreed to wait for the right time, trusting God would also create the opportunity. It came….
That afternoon found me sitting on a stool, in the centre of Alice’s ‘U’ shaped kitchen, feeling bummed out. I started sharing with her how I struggled. The ups and downs, emotionally. The roller-coaster in my mind and heart about dating.
“When he’s here, I want him gone. I want nothing to do with him. And when he’s gone, I miss him desperately,” I said. I felt like I was losing my mind, as if my mind was at war with itself and destined to lose both sides.
“The truth will make you free,” Alice said, quoting John 8:32.
“But, what does that mean?” I asked, frustrated.
“The truth will make you free,” she said again.
“But, what is the truth?!” I asked.
“When you’re ready, we’ll talk,” she said calmly.
“I want to know the truth!” I said boldly.
“Howard and I would like to meet with you together, to talk, when you’re ready,” she said.
“I’m ready now!”
Alice, for all her strength, had a calming presence. She took me seriously, but wasn’t thrown about emotionally–at least not visibly–by my intensity. In typical Alice style–let’s make a plan–she made arrangements to come see me the following Tuesday.
So it was determined that we would have our little ‘Moment of Truth’ meeting. What I didn’t know, what they could not possibly understand, was that in that one meeting they would change the course of history for my life, for the generations to follow after me.
The next three days were very long….
(To Be Continued…)
© Trudy Metzger
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