“Cori, I’m so proud of you!” Aleta’s eyes glistened with tears as she hugged me. We were saying our goodbyes before starting our long ‘trek’ south from Michigan to Texas.
Mom Aleta and I have known each other for ten years, but it’s only in the last two years we have grown close. I call her “Mom” because she is my spiritual mentor and cheerleader.
When we met, I was a young mom, with five kids, four of them under the age of three, one of whom cried constantly! My sanity hung by a thread, and the carefully planned world that I’d built was quickly unraveling. I’m an outgoing person, generally with a big smile plastered to my face. Underneath though, were secrets, a seething mass of unforgiveness, and insecurities that stemmed from sexual abuse.
God, in His great mercy, brought in Aleta. For years, we had been mere acquaintances. However, one day Aleta invited Terry and I to dinner. From then on, everything changed! I asked her if I could talk to her at another time. She said, “I’ve been waiting for this moment. God wants to work in you.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” Aleta Clair was the person God brought alongside me.
She had been through her own hell when she was a girl. She had to go through her own time of healing, and recovery. She recognized in me the early symptoms of breakdown that she had gone through.
When I was to meet with her the first time, I was petrified! My stomach flip-flopped, and I thought I might throw up.
"What if I tell her stuff and she hates me? What if she doesn’t accept who I am and all I’ve been through?"
Instead, she was loving, accepting, kind and gentle. When I called her, or emailed her with one of my thousands of questions, she would pray, and then tell me to spend time with Jesus. In that time I journalled hundreds of pages as I explored memories long forgotten and long suppressed. I emailed many to Aleta for her input.
I guess I was testing her. Half the time I was a nervous wreck! I thought she would read my stuff, and then call and tell me she never wanted to hear from me again! The opposite happened — she loved on me and poured out a healing balm of words.
After six months, I told her, “We’ve gone through my spiritual and emotional house, picking up debris. Now, I’m ready to take it to the cross, and let Jesus take it.” Of course, He cannot take what you don’t relinquish, and you can’t relinquish what you don’t know. Through the Holy Spirit’s gentle prodding I had come to the realization of what needed to be released.
Soon after, Aleta and I met. We talked for a while. Then she said, “Honey, are you ready to pray?”
“Me, pray?” I spluttered.
"I can’t pray in front of her! She’s a spiritual giant. I’ll blow it and sound like a total idiot! I’d rather teach a group of cynical engineers!"
Aleta picked up on my sheer terror; I think the pallor of my face gave it away!
“Cori, honey. This is your journey, I can’t do it for you.” she gently said.
I knew she was right, so I grabbed her hand and stammered out the words. It wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t trying to impress anyone. I was giving over my burdens to the One who loved me best; and who wanted to heal me.
After that day, my relationship with Mom Aleta changed. She is my Paul, and I am her Timothy. She taught me how to hear God’s voice. She showed me how to step out to find my own path and destiny.
We’re physically separated now, but the spiritual connection that God has placed between us cannot be severed. It is through her loving acceptance of me that I have finally come to an understanding of Christ’s full acceptance and love for all of us.