Absorbed in the powerful words of the missionaries’ newsletter, Miranda did not notice her two boisterous teenagers bounce into the kitchen. Their typical argumentative banter abruptly announced their entrance and startled Miranda. The newsletter she received at yesterday’s Missions Sunday service dropped out of her hands.
Monday morning reality had arrived in the Walsh household. Descriptions of African tribal voodoo practices, racial prejudice, and inconceivable poverty were replaced with the American traumas of non-functioning alarms, an unclean favorite shirt, homework still laying in the printer tray and “nothing good to eat for breakfast.”
Miranda longed for some quiet to catch one more glimpse into the missionaries’ world – deep into the dangerous jungle of making a difference for Christ. Within thirty minutes she would see the taillights of the school bus which transported her children to school and a half hour later, it would be her turn to begin her workday.
That precious 30 minutes of quiet time with the Lord was her jumpstart to the day. After the kids left, she picked up the newsletter again and prayed over the work being done in Africa and the faithful workers who fearlessly spread the Good News in dark places. She prayed a familiar prayer; “Lord, please use me, find a way that I may serve You to reach a lost world.” A single mom desperate to be used by God, she could not fathom how God could fulfill her greatest desire to be a missionary, while struggling to make ends meet in a dead-end job as a school librarian.
Miranda continued praying during her drive to work; for the students and staff she would meet during the day and that she would carry on her duties in the strength of the Lord, wearing the full armor of God.
As she opened the double glass doors to the school library, a student pushed past her, almost knocking Miranda down.
“Good morning, Emily,” she responded.
“Yeah, whatever,” scowled Emily.
“And how was your weekend?” continued Miranda.
Somewhat taken aback by Miranda’s kindness despite her rudeness, Emily managed to reply, “Miserable.”
Miranda’s eyebrows raised with an interested, “Tell me more” look. Miranda looked deep into the eyes of the troubled girl, for whom she had often prayed.
That simple one-word reply, “Miserable”, was a loud cry for someone, anyone to take notice. Not of her outward appearance - the dark clothes, the black fingernails and wristbands and even the new pentagram earrings dangling from Emily’s ears. That one response said, “Please, does anyone care how close I came this weekend to never returning to these halls?”
Knowing she could be sternly reprimanded, suspended or even fired for speaking about God to a student, Miranda took a deep breath and with all the courage she could muster, spoke the words the Holy Spirit was prompting:
“Emily, though I can not begin to imagine what you are going through, there is someone who knows every one of your fears and thoughts and loves you tremendously, no matter what you look like to others and what you’ve done. He looks at you as a Princess and wants you to know Him more. His name is Jesus. Would you please let me introduce you to Him and let Him show you how much He loves you?”
The hardness of Emily’s face seemed to soften with these heaven-sent words.
“Sure,” she faintly responded.
Used by God, all before the first bell. Amazing! What else did God have in store for Miranda throughout the day? Settling into her first period duties, Miranda quickly recalled the inspiring accounts in the missionary report.
Though she had clocked in more than 225 working days in this library, this was the first day she saw so clearly how the Lord had placed her in such an important mission field. Not across the ocean in another time zone, but a mere seven miles from home. In sheltered middle-class suburbia, every day she encountered hallways of darkness, ruled by hordes of Satan’s workers seeking to destroy this generation through witchcraft, gang violence, drugs, alcohol and lust. God had commissioned her to shine His light upon the darkness and impact the Kingdom of God.
A big smile broke out on Miranda’s face as she lifted a quick “Thank You, Lord” to heaven. She looked up to see a young girl carrying two books to the circulation desk - an occult novel and a book about Wicca.
“How may I help you?” Miranda asked.
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