Lynn watched as her husband Rick took their daughter’s small hand in his and guided her out onto the ice rink. Still smiling at the image, Lynn gazed up at the January sky. Another storm was in the forecast. Fresh snowflakes were already beginning to fall, swirling and dancing their way to the ground. Winter storms always had a way of reminding Lynn just how incredibly grateful she was for what the Lord had done for her. A pivotal storm 10 years earlier had changed Lynn’s life forever.
The memory always seemed to pick up at the same place every time, walking out the apartment door she had shared with her ex-husband for three long winters. Lynn and Mark had met in college. Shy and reserved, Lynn was instantly drawn to his outgoing and charming personality. They quickly began dating, and despite there being numerous warning signals that Mark was not marriage material, Lynn made the choice to simply turn down the volume every time the warning signals became loud enough to make her uncomfortable. Lynn had come to the conclusion shortly after her mom died several years earlier that God obviously had no idea what was best for her. How could a good and gracious God have allowed her mom to die so prematurely? Lynn never admitted it at the time but, after her mom’s death, she made a choice…she was done listening to God. Lynn said “I do” when Mark proposed, reassuring herself that as soon as Mark “grew up a little” the gambling, the pornography issues and the wandering eye would resolve itself.
Lynn stumbled down the apartment steps, coming very close to face planting into the snow as her foot slipped on an icy patch. Her head was feeling a little fuzzy. The numerous glasses of merlot she had consumed were obviously taking effect. Lynn had promised herself that morning when she woke up, with yet another hangover, that she wouldn’t have anything to drink that night. But, that was before the phone call. Mark called her that afternoon while she was at work to tell her he had moved his stuff out of their apartment. He was moving in with a girl he had met at the gym. A chill came over Lynn again just thinking about it. She quickly zipped up her coat and began the two block walk to the liquor store.
Deep down, Lynn knew that drinking wasn’t the solution, but it seemed to be the only thing nowadays that numbed the pain…even if only temporary. I just need to escape. Lynn began replaying in her head again all the times in her life she had screwed up, so many horrible choices, the marriage, the abortion, and now the excessive drinking. Lynn reached into her coat pocket, and felt for the handful of pills that, out of desperation, she had grabbed before leaving the apartment. I just don’t want to feel anymore.
As Lynn approached the intersection across the street from the liquor store, the wind began to pick up. The snow was falling harder now. Lynn walked with her head down and shoulders hunched to avoid the snow. As Lynn waited at the intersection for the light to change, a flyer taped to the light post, tattered from the long winter, caught her eye. Although she walked this route nearly every evening, she had never noticed the flyer before. As she read, the typed message seemed to jump right off the paper and fill the emptiness in her heart. With tears streaming down her face, Lynn carefully peeled the note off the post and read it again.
"Come now, let us talk this over," says the Lord
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool”
Lynn fell to her knees as the heavy load she had been hauling for so long finally became too overwhelming to carry anymore. For the first time in years, Lynn prayed, “Lord, I’m so tired…I can’t do this anymore. I need your help.” The calm Lynn felt inside at that moment can only be described as amazing. She looked heavenward as the snow fell gently onto her face, savoring each grace flake.
Lynn smiled once again at the memory as she watched Rick and Maggie skate hand in hand. If I haven’t said it lately, Lord…thank you.
Isaiah 1:18 (TLB)
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