‘The past is no more . I made you over . Abide In Me for I am with You always . Your Light will shine to the end of the world . Rest in Me my Precious One .”
Jewell froze a split second. Her eyes and mouth were wide opened. This could not be what she thought it was. Yet, there was no doubt. She was alone in her spacious luxurious bedroom.
It was very early in the morning. The day was dawning but she’d been up for a little while, incapable of finding sleep, reminiscing her past. Her alarm clock went on indicating prayer time. 5 am was definitely the best time to pray, all being still so quiet. However, this morning was like no other.
She was seated on her king size gorgeous designer bed, her legs crossed, holding on tight to her sating pillow and bouncing back and forth to comfort herself. She could see the light rain kissing up the white high and curved windows of her tastefully decorated room. The bogus New York City’s birds were already singing. They had to be phony. They sounded so different than those at her dad’s residence in Beverly Hills. She did not mind it though; New York City was a lovable city.
Yet, this morning, she felt as gloomy as the weather, wondering where were God’s love and justice here?
Keel, her high school sweetheart, announced his engagement to Cindy her best friend on facebook. All of this was so unfair.
Almost 13 years ago, she was yet 16 years old at the time, Keel was her first.
She loved him so much, she gave him her whole. That fool did not even stay with her 3 months, leaving town without notice.
Thank God, he came back in her life, a year ago; all so loving and mature. He explained he loved her so much back then that he ran away, terrified by the intensity of his feelings toward her. But then he realized he could not live without her. She was thrilled, especially when less than a month later, on her 28th birthday, he popped the question to her enchantment. It never crossed her mind, not even once, he was only interested in her money and the people she knew. He was such a gentleman, the loveliest man ever. Exception made of when she got him upset—according to him!
“I love you so much that I lose control of myself baby!” he explained the first time he beat her. She believed and forgave him. But it happened again, repeatedly, forcing her into an unspeakable circle of broken hope and fear.
Nonetheless, she prepared for the wedding scheduled to happen less than six months after their engagement. Cindy was Jewell’s maid of honor. Who else could she have picked but her best friend?
She met Cindy on her freshman year at Columbia University and they’ve been great friend since then. That was about 11 years ago. It was exciting planning the wedding with her.
Invitations were sent out and they had picked the amazing custom handmade Vera Wang bridal gown together. That incredible dress featured unbelievable beadwork and a very long train on Italian silk. It was worth the $23,000 price tag.
Jewell was excited though nervous about the wedding coming up.
However, just one week before the D-day, she discovered the unthinkable. Keel was cheating on her—with Cindy! She confronted him but that did not go too well. He beat her like a worthless punching ball and left town—with Cindy, withdrawing all the cash ($30,000 and change) from her bank account. Thank God, he only had access to that account alone.
Right there, on the cold marble floor of the bathroom in her luxurious three bedrooms duplex on Park Avenue at 78th street, Jewell laid hurting, crying all the tears of her body in complete hopelessness.
She finally dragged herself to the emergency room at New York Presbyterian Hospital, right on E 68th street, so feeble. She had bled so much.
As if her Calvary was not excruciating enough, doctors added crucifying news: she was losing the babies. She did not even know she was 8 weeks pregnant—with twins. They did all they could to help her but she had come to the hospital too late. She was released the following day, empty-handed. Her heart in broken pieces, she rambled the streets, grief-stricken, desiring to bury even the remembrance of Keel.
She was devastated. The wedding scheduled that weekend was canceled. If there was a God out there, why was this debacle befalling her? What was it she did so wrong she deserved such calamities and shame?
After the hospital, she landed in Central Park. Seated on the grass, she cried again, completely beside herself. It was late spring and though it was after 6 pm, the sun was still out. The birds were singing and she could see moms and nannies running around with toddlers, looking so happy. How did she find herself in that mess in the first place?
“Beautiful ladies should not cry!”
Jewell did not find the strength to smile to that. A lady just sat next to her but having a conversation was the last thing on her mind at that point, especially not with intrusive loud-mouthed stranger. She was too busy reviewing her life.
How could this happen to her, the unique daughter of the celebrity Lebanese-American Chef Hassan Asaad, owner of two world acclaimed restaurants. Her dad started on the Silver O’Leaf in Beverly Hills, when her mom was still alive but she remembers the sumptuous opening of the Golden O’Leaf in Los Angeles when she was 9 years old.
Those restaurants was her life and when she landed in New York City for college she promised herself to open a replica of the Golden O’Leaf in the Big Apple. Right after college, six years ago, she did it; strategically locating it on Times Square. It was instant hit!
She co-owned that restaurant with her dad but he rarely came to that side of the US.
“New York is too wild and cold for me, baby doll! I like my polished Beverly Hills!” was often his reply to her invitations. He honestly did not like that city because that’s where he lost Jewell’s mom. Jewell found it out after she finished college and avoided insisting since. She missed her daddy’s affection but was determined to prove herself capable of accomplishing something great.
Just 2 years after Golden O’Leaf, keen to ride on bigger waves and avid for more challenges, she ventured into the Jewell’Rise concept. Located just steps away from the Rockefeller Center, on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 55th street, the initiative was new and risky but she guessed right! The market responded positively. The store offered to custom jewel-dress anything, from cell phones, to shoes onto dog collars, with non-precious, semi-precious, or precious stones. It quickly became the trend among movie stars and artists or anybody else as a matter of fact, people coming from all over the world.
Money was flowing in but Jewell was insatiable.
Jubilant about night life, she launched Selected, an ultra exclusive lounge, less than a year before Keel reappeared in her life. As everything she was putting her hand in, this too turned into one more huge cash maker. In few months, Selected speedily grew to be New York City’s rendezvous de la crème as the wealthiest flocked there every night from Wednesday to Sunday.
Jewell was thence a successful and attractive young lady.
She never went a place unnoticed and even attracted the attention of model hunters, seized by her fine features and 5’9ft height. She had that typical Lebanese tanned complexion and elbow length wavy, layered, and lustrous black hair. With her generous lips and her catching deep blue-green eyes, subject of great admiration, she was stunningly beautiful. She always got all the attention she ever wanted. She never struggled for anything whatsoever. All her life was smooth and glamorous until now. Why was all of this suddenly happening to her?
“Life. It comes with its own set of rules that most of us discover along the way at our own expenses. Would it not be nice to have somebody to guide us through life? Somebody who knows it all, sees it all, and can do all things!”
“Indeed!” sarcastically thought Jewell slowly getting on her feet to walk away from that loquacious lady obviously determined to get her point across.
“Only God could honestly do that, assuming there is a God out there of course. I met a guy once on the street. He looked totally crazy to me but he said one thing that changed my life. He said, TV comes with its manual; cell phones come with their manual; what about life? Who has the manual of instructions for life? May be the One who created life! But who in the world created life?”
That was one question Jewell had no strength nor motivation pondering upon right at the moment! But that birdy lady kept on, really getting on Jewell’s last nerves.
“I still wonder why that man came to me! He really looked like he’d lost it though. But then he added if there is a God out there, creator of life, one should be able to find Him and prove Him. God, the real One, is the one who can give solutions to life issues, being the Maker of it. Test Him to See, he told me! If He resolves it then He is God; if He cannot, then He is not! Then he turned away and added while leaving, I tried them all and found out Jesus is the Answer!”
Jewell walked away, really annoyed. A Jesus freak was the last thing on planet she needed at this point.
“How do you know my name?” asked Jewell who had stopped and turned, surprised.
“Oh, God knows all things darling,” replied the lady with so much affection in her voice! Jewell got intrigued. The lady seemed to be in her late forties and though casually dressed, she was elegant and honestly beautiful—and that glow on her face.
“He knows you better than your own self. He sent me to you that I may tell you He is sorry for all that happened to you: your mom, your boyfriend, and your best friend, and the babies, everything.” Jewell froze. Nobody knew about the babies except her and the doctors.
“Who are you?”
“Oh sorry. My name is Brenda. I live across the street, right in this building on the 4th floor.” She was pointing out to a nice residence facing the park. “I was seated on my balcony when I saw you and heard God tell me to come talk to you.”
“Oh, you heard God!” repeated Jewell with a very satirical tone! “You really need help,” said Jewell leaving, really exasperated by this gibberish.
“I’m not crazy Jewell. Your father’s name is Hassan Asaad. He is from Lebanon but he lives in Beverly Hills. You lost your mom at age 4 from breast cancer. You felt in love with the wrong guy at age 16 and he is the reason of your cries today. His name is Keel and he ran away with your best friend. To make it worst, you found out yesterday you were pregnant with twins but you lost them. You are 28 years old and you don’t like chocolate, but would do anything for honey!”
Unbelievable! Jewell was panicking! This was unreal! She did not really know whether she should run away from this scary lady or stay there and listen. Scattered, she still turned again to face the lady.
“What the heck? How do you know all of that about me? Who are you?”
“I am a child of God. After I met that crazy guy, I asked God to show me who He Is. And to make a very long story short, I too stand in front of you today to tell you that Jesus is the Answer.”
Jewell was Muslim. She never practiced her religion but her grandmother from her dad side did. Her grandmother always said Christians were wacky people who believed a man was the Son of God and died and rose again. And now, there was this lady telling her “Jesus is the Answer” and God speaks.
However, this lady knew things about her that nobody knew. She did not really know what to think about all of that.
“Jesus? Rubbish, Okay?!! Listen, I don’t know you. I don’t know how you got all these information about me but I am not impressed.” She turned away and walked fast to flee from this mumbo jumbo.
The lady shouted; “I can prove you right now Jesus is real!”
“Sure,” shouted Jewell now actually running from the lady, leaving her far behind, totally disturbed by what was happening.
“I can,” said the lady smiling and standing right in front of her. Jewell missed tripping on herself and fall. How in the world did that lady 40+ find herself right in front of her, when a split second ago she was seated far behind on the grass? She did not even look like she ran! She just… appeared! But before Jewell could formulate a question the lady said, “I command your womb to be healed in Jesus name.”
The doctors told her she would cease bleeding within a week or so and she had taken pain medicines that actually made her a little groggy. But how did that lady know? She wanted to say something but right there, she sensed like lightning striking her lower stomach and all of the sudden she knew within herself she was healed.
“O my God! O my God! What did you do?” she shouted. “How did you do that?” Jewell was scared out of her wits. “Are you a witch or what? Who are you?” She was screaming, walking backward, trying to keep distance from this very strange lady.
“A witch? O, dear Jesus! No Darling! Absolutely negative! I am a child of God and Jesus just healed you,” said Brenda still smiling. “When you find mister right, you will conceive twins again! In the meantime, give your life to Jesus, He will beautify it and lead you through it all! He is the Author of life and has the manual of instructions for it. He is Real and He Loves You!”
Jewell was baffled. A flood of contradictory emotions were overwhelming her. Her body was healed, she could not deny it. Her heart was filled with tremendous peace—and that feeling in the air, like a tangible presence, full of love. Incredible! She started crying.
“How is this possible?” She managed to ask in the midst of her tears she was trying to control so hard.
“If God is God, He has solutions for every problem that life might bring about. That would be the proof that He is God indeed. God could not be seen so He made Himself human to be seen by us ; and that is Jesus! So Jesus is God . He is the Truth, the Life, and the Way. When you receive Him, He lifts you to live a life full, unbroken; His Life !”
“How come?” She mumbled inaudibly as unto herself. She was looking around disorientated. She felt in her heart it was true, although it honestly sounded so foolish.
“Would you receive His love? He’s proven it to you.”
Jewell slightly nodded her head for positive, still trying hard to grasp with her mind what was taking place. How could this be? She was feeling love, right there in the middle of Central Park, like never before. It was a powerful force, invisible yet so tangible. It surpassed the physical attraction she ever had for any man. It was stronger than the one she received from her dad. It felt pure, full, unconditional, so marvelous!
“So say this with me,” invited Brenda. “Lord Jesus.” Jewell heard herself repeat along. This was unreal!
“Thank you for dying for me on the cross.” She had heard that story countless times before. But today, all of this had a new meaning. She felt in her body and knew in her heart Jesus was real.
“Thank you for taking my sins away. I receive you as my Lord and Savior.” She could feel the presence increase and wrapping her like a warm blanket.
“I give you my life in exchange for your life. Thank you for loving me so much. Reveal yourself to me that I may know you. Amen.” The lady was smiling. Her smile was really comforting, full of warmth, full of love.
“I feel clean!” finally whispered Jewell after a moment, looking straight into Brenda’s eyes, still trying to make sense of all that just happened.
“Anything wrong you ever did is forgiven you. You are now a child of God too. Get yourself a bible and read about Jesus. Your life will never be the same again. Enjoy! And if you ever feel like coming to talk to me, you know where I live. Residence Brenda, my name is Brenda and I am on the 4th floor.” She was already walking away.
“Thank you Brenda!” Then she whispered again to her own hearing this time, “thank you so much!”
“You’re very welcome Jewell,” replied Brenda already far ahead. “Come visit.”
That was 5 months ago. Since then, she bought a bible and read about Jesus. She discovered a loving God who was willing, available and able to help. She visited Brenda, who was 77 years old in reality. They saw each other only two times before Brenda flew back to Miami where she actually lived. They kept in touch but Jewell basically journeyed in this new walk on her own. She grew to love Jesus so much; discovering about Him essentially through the bible. She had asked the lady at the bookstore to show her where the bible spoke about Jesus. The lady, a Christian, advised her to start reading what she called the New Testament.
Jesus was so real, so loving. She would know things to happen before they happened. She would know which decisions to take for every little thing she dealt with. She could discern the heart of people she was talking with. She was happy and it was bursting out from within. For the first time in her entire life, she felt complete though single.
But yesterday, her past resurged! Keel and Cindy were getting married and learning that news brought back the bad memories and sadness invaded her heart. Why could not God just stop that from happening? How fair was that?
She found no strength to pray that morning. She did not really sleep, meditating on all of this. She tried to reminisce in her mind that God loved her but to no avail. She felt so much regrets, making such a bad choice concerning Keel and Cindy. She proved herself to be a business savvy but what a disaster when it came to relationships! She in reality felt shame for ever being with that man in the first place.
“I wish I met you earlier Jesus,” she whispered remorsefully. “Things would have been so different” she added, whipping a tear on her cheek. That is when she heard that voice.
She read the story of Moses in the bible who heard God audible voice. But she was not Moses! Yet she heard His voice! The voice was so close! As though God was near; like right behind her right ear in fact.
That voice was filled with love and it pierced her whole being, pouring in unspeakable joy and opening up her mind to an incredible reality.
She jumped right off her bed shouting
The God of heaven had just whispered in her ears truth and in a split moment she was set free . Her past was past. It actually no longer was. She was born anew into a new reality . She had no past record. Everything had become new and she was free to live again. She was offered to recreate a new life; invited to do so on the supernatural side. And God Himself reassured her, promising to lead her through it all. No more struggles; just the wonderful privilege of being walked like a princess. How magnificent!
No matter what happened before, it was no longer. Now lived one who was of God. And He called her “my Precious one”. Nobody ever meant it the way He did!
“Wowow!” She was out of herself, shouting carelessly.
“Thank you Jesus! Thank you so much! Thank you so very much! New life! Yes! Yes! Yes! I am yours Lord!” She could feel joy increasing within her, like a mighty river flooding her soul. She shouted even louder; skipping around like a child on Christmas morning when discovering his most earnestly desired gift.
“Hallelujah! I love you Lord. Thank you Jesus! I am yours. I am your child. Hallelujah! Yay! I am a citizen of heaven!!!”
The more she shouted, the more she felt something taking place within her. She could feel like a volcano about to erupt from within her. She kept shouting though and all of the sudden, words she could not understand gushed out of her mouth, from the depth of her being.
She read about that mighty experience in the book of Acts. What an extraordinary God! What a mind-blowing instant. She did not care to understand those words. All she cared about was that it was God’s doing!
She embraced that wonderful moment full force and spoke in tongues for hours, not even realizing she had fallen on her knees. What a wonderful thing it is to know Jesus!
When she finally got up from her plush carpeted floor, she looked at herself in the giant mirror of her humongous walking closet. She smiled the happiest smile she ever wore in her entire life. She smiled to the one she saw in the mirror.
“Hi Jewell from Heaven,” she said out loud to her reflection. This is it she thought, smiling even harder. My new name is “Jewell Heaven.”
She pronounced the name with such assurance, it got her to lift an eyebrow in amazement. She cracked up laughing by herself, so happy!