Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: RELEASE (08/02/18)
TITLE: Footloose and Fancy Free
By Elaine Hemingway
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I was not prepared for adversity so when it hit I was catapulted into a need to make decisions. Of course, I made some wrong choices, travelled some dangerous roads and dug myself ever deeper into a pit. I didn’t know where to turn because I had said I could stand on my own two feet. Pride reared its arrogant head leading to more wrong turns. But I wasn’t going to admit it. The family thought I was fine but of course, communication suffered. While they were feeling neglected and telling me to keep in touch, not cut them out, I was making less contact and what there was consisted of lies, lies and more lies.
How complicated life can be when we do things our way. There are mistakes to rectify, wrong choices that cannot be undone, and things are done for the wrong reasons that have domino effects on other people’s lives. Eventually, everyone was hurting and I had to face up to the fact that I was a loser. I had exhausted my resources and lost. I had loved - my version - and lost. I had gambled - money and happiness - and lost. I had mistreated my body so health-wise, I had lost. And I had forgotten my roots so was lost.
Should I try the drop-in shelter for the homeless? It was an option I had discarded in the past with pride my reasoning again, but winter was drawing closer, and someone worse off than me had stolen the only assets I had – the tools of my trade. When all else had failed I had been able to find work as a carpenter. Who would give work to a carpenter with no tools?
I stood at the entrance to the homeless shelter, ready to walk away and find an empty doorway. Maybe tomorrow I would find a way to end it all. As I turned a woman approached and looked full into my dirty face.
“Do come in,” she said and she took my arm, my dirty, scruffy arm that hadn’t seen soap for days and propelled me into a noisy room.
It was as if she could see into my soul and my spirit sank in humiliation. But then she smiled and my spirit lifted so that I wanted to wash and shave and make myself presentable. It was a see-saw of emotions that carried me through the evening while I unburdened myself on her sympathy. Her sympathy became challenging and that challenge made me see myself for the hypocrite I was.
I went back after that first night. I ate, I slept, I talked, and I listened. She gave me a Gideon Bible and marked some passages for me. I learned some extraordinary truths and eventually met Truth personified. There was a turning point in that when I accepted charity, I learned to live and love again.
Matthew 11:28 – 30 told me of the One who could meet my needs. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I fed on the letter of Paul to the Romans, recognising myself in the verses from chapter 1:18 speaking of the wrath of God.
No longer footloose, I had been set free and become a new creation, no longer under condemnation (Romans 8) but eligible as a conqueror to glory with Jesus.
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