“In Jesus’ name, amen.” Tear-filled blue eyes met my glowing brown ones as Sharon lifted her head and smiled at me.
“Welcome to the family!” Her petite arms wrapped around me in the biggest bear hug her five foot two frame could muster.
“Thank you!” I hugged my neighbor back, spirit soaring with the joy of knowing I was now her sister in Christ. What an amazing journey the past few months had been. And to think, it all began with an emergency room visit.
I had done it a million times without a second thought. It only took a second. I pulled the warm towel out of the dryer and breathed in the fresh clean scent. Teah let out a happy squeal from the bathtub and I rushed back into the bathroom to see what she had found. My gasp of horror startled her and she burst into tears.
Bloody handprints dotted the wall surrounding the pink water. The towel lay forgotten as I grabbed Teah’s hands. Something pink floated past Teah and my heart sank. My razor. How many times had I consciously placed it where I knew it would be out of reach. I was always so careful. That mattered little now, destroyed by this one careless moment.
The cut ran across three of Teah’s tiny little fingers. Her screams now cut to my heart. Without the warmth of the water her fingers were starting to sting.
Two hours and 3 stitches later, we returned to home. Disbelief washed over me with a scream stuck in my throat. Huge, angry flames licked the side of our house as firemen did their best to subdue them.
This day is not possible, my mind screamed. My perfect little world was slipping through my fingers. Fear and panic threatened to take hold. The reality of my inability to control every aspect of my life alarmed me.
Battling the stale smell of tobacco in our dingy hotel room while waiting for my husband to find us a new place to call home did little to ease my growing sense of insecurity.
“Honey, it’s going to be fine. I’m still here with you.” Tears communicated my lack of trust to my well meaning husband. His job demanded a lot of hours on the road and I was well versed in the statistics. My list of things I couldn’t count on increased daily, and with it my fear.
Moving day was uneventful enough. The fire had made sure we didn’t have much to move. It was, however, the day I met Sharon.
How so much warmth and confidence could fit into such a tiny person escaped me. She walked right into our home with a hot meal and plate of brownies and moved right into our hearts.
My soul longed for her visits as much as my mouth watered for her brownies. Every fiber of her being seemed to be at peace. I craved her confidence in Jesus.”
Sharon released me from her hug and reached for another brownie. “I am so glad your world fell apart.”
My hand stopped halfway to the brownie plate. “What?”
“There were more than bloody handprints in your bathroom that day, honey.”
No words of response came to me. Cold fingers of fear started to wrap around my stomach. I had no idea where this sudden turn in conversation was headed.
“If you hadn’t left your razor out, Teah wouldn’t have needed an emergency room visit.”
And just how was this a good thing?
She continued, “If you hadn’t been in the emergency room, you probably would have been there when the fire started. If you hadn’t lost your home, you never would have become my neighbor.” Tears filled her blue eyes again as she dropped her brownie and grabbed my hand.
Clarity filled me unlike I had ever experienced. There was no doubt Sharon was speaking the truth. “They were God’s handprints, weren’t they?”
Sharon nodded with a smile. “Handprints of love, honey, leading you to this very moment.”
Fear and doubt melted away as yet another release washed over me. God was in control. Even in my chaos he had been there, never leaving, always leading. Verses Sharon had shared with me finally made sense. He had plans for me! Never would he leave me.
With a smile I reached for a brownie. “I’ll toast to that.” It felt good not to be in control.
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