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The Guest
by Janice Fitzpatrick
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Our old burgundy recliner smelled of vinyl and sweat as I crept behind it to dream and talk with the “One” whom momma prayed to at our bedside and mealtime.

LP’s would spin dizzily on our rickety turntable while momma’s soprano voice rose above heaps of laundry and stacks of dishes as she tended to her household chores. Love and joy just radiated from her.

She never was embarrassed to tell others about the Lord. Our neighbors were acquainted with momma’s belief, not so much from what she would say but how kind momma was to everyone.

From helping an overworked mom of six kids with housework and gardening, to babysitting for another, and sharing food with a family in need, she let her light shine.
I wanted what momma had.


“God loves to hear us talk with Him,” she said, as she held me close and added, “Everyone needs a secret place where they can go to and pray Bethy.”

Behind this chair was my very own special “place”.

I carefully took out a Sunday school paper that I had carried with me. The picture of Christ standing at the door knocking filled me with wonder. His eyes were kind like momma’s.

How gigantic Jesus was. Why didn’t he just open the door himself?

The song “Come into My Heart” came to my mind and I hummed it softly. “…into my heart, come into my heart Lord Jesus….”

I had heard the plan of salvation at church and saw people go forward to ask Him in their heart.

How did He get in there? How could a great big man fit through the door?

“Jesus,” I began, “if you’re real please come into my heart and live here.” I patted my chest.

It was a simple invitation from a four year old. No great rehearsed or intellectual speech, just an earnest request.

That day the door opened and “The Guest” entered in.


Jesus soon became my best friend. My gestures of blown kisses to Him flew past the ceiling and I knew that He was sending some back to me as I held my hands against my cheeks and smiled.

I felt loved and I wanted to share it, like momma.
Before I knew it elementary school and junior high came.

One time in the cafeteria while I began to bow my head over my lunch, Jim, a lanky kid and his aspiring assembly of followers heckled me.

“Hey Beth, let’s hear you pray.” I looked at them in disbelief. Didn’t everyone say grace? What was the big deal?

“We’re not leaving ‘til you do.” Jim stood arms folded. I waited for him to snap his head and disappear like the Arabic dressed big guy in Aladdin but he still stood firm. So did I.

Ok, here goes nothing. I cleared my throat, “Thank you for this food, in Jesus name, amen.” Jim look baffled. “That’s it?” I nodded. The group of acne faced scoffers left to my relief.
With the arrival of high school so were the Jesus pins I’d wear, next to my heart, where the Guest lived.

Along with that came the mixture of emotions, makeup, hip hugger jeans, rock and roll and boys.

After a while the parade of my faith quieted down to a still ripple as I made my way through the sea of adolescence.

The Guest waited patiently.

It had been years since I knelt behind the old chair.

The places I had been invited soon filled up my time. Less and less were the conversations between my best friend and me and often my prayers were meager requests for what I wanted.

The Guest waited with open loving arms.

I promised to tell others about Him but the noise of loud music and teen age displays of passion or skepticism drowned out any words I might offer.

Retreating to a corner, where my testimony hid in the shadows with the cobwebs and paint chips, I sat, embarrassed of my actions and of…The Guest.

When I returned home I wandered over to where the recliner had been all of these years. It was gone!

Momma saw my look of desperation and had me follow her. “We’ve bought new furniture,” her voice trailed as my thunderous steps upstairs quieted.

There by the bed was my beloved “special place”.

The smell of old vinyl and sweat began to fill my senses as I closed my eyes and remembered kisses from The Guest. I blushed.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
Member Date
Mary Ginty 26 Oct 2008
I really like this. I can feel what you were feeling and you have a beautiful testimony!!!
Judy Wilson 24 Apr 2008
Isn't it wonderful that He's always there waiting. It makes me wonder how others see us. Are they seeing Christ in us so much that they would want what we have. Very moving article !
Lynda Lee Schab  02 Aug 2007
This is beautiful, Janice. Who can't relate to each stage of Beth's story? The innocent childhood questioning, the adolescent struggle with boldness, the falling away a bit, the coming back...your portrayal of The Guest is perfect. How patient and loving He is, despite all of our weaknessness and failures. Great story!


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