Saturday, May 5, 2012

So....We Meet Again....GULP! (Pt. 1)

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

The last time I'd seen her, it was 2004, and all I could do that morning was fight back tears. I sat there drowning in the deluge I was gulping back when she stopped right in front of me, pointed a finger and let loose with words that seemed intended only for me.

It was as if I had been slammed into a cone of silence with only the 2 of us inside. Her eyes bored into me as if to say, “I see you. I see your pain.” I thought I'd never forget the words. In that instant, my brain was a square of cross-stitch material, and it seemed her words flowed out of her finger and onto the fabric of my heart. Sadly, I don't remember the words now – only the moment and the impact. Life does that.

As a result of that morning and her ministry, I went back home and organized 2 mini-retreats for homeschooling moms whose lives and finances prohibited a weekend retreat. I never knew our paths would cross again.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
To be honest, when I got the opportunity to attend the Titus 2:1 conference, I made the decision on a whim. I was a blogger who homeschooled and was looking for ways to connect with others. I wanted to learn more about improving my blog. Seemed like a win-win. Ahem. True confessions. I didn't even look at the speaker line up. In retrospect, that's probably a good thing because I would have hopped back in my fraidy cat hiding place and not come out for love nor money.

As soon as she walked in the door, my jaw dropped. As in country-bumpkin-goes-to-town jaw drop that you hope no one in the room sees. My mind flashed back to that morning and then sped forward to the present in one of those life-flashes-before-your-eyes moments.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
So it was, our lives became entwined again. When last she “saw” me, my life was in shambles. I had a roof over my head and food to eat. But, my family and I were post-9/11 statistics referred to as 'the invisible homeless'. I was at that retreat only because of the kindness of a friend, Hope. Not that she really saw me. I was just another face in the large crowd.

My husband had been out of work for 3 years. We had lost our home while paying our Cobra insurance premiums instead of our mortgage payment. Unlike the downturn of '08 when so many lost their jobs, the downturn after 9/11 didn't affect so many folks. We often felt we needed to justify our existence and prove we were all about getting work, any work, we could find.

I once stood on a street corner in a bear costume for 4 hrs to make $60.00. It was in the 90's (F) with humidity above 50%. My glasses were fogging so much that I had to have a minder to lead me for hydration and bathroom breaks. Even with efforts like that, I often felt the community around us was murmuring behind our backs, “Oh, they could get a job if they wanted to! JUST GET A JOB!”

On this Saturday morning, 8 years later, she began to relate the events of her life during her own husband's prolonged unemployment. His came in 2007 before everyone and his brother had mortgages under water and unemployment checks that were running out. She described feeling the same scorn I had felt as folks become more and more impatient with their ongoing crisis.

I wanted to jump up, wave, and say, “Hey! Hey! Remember me? I can't believe you know what it feels like too! Hey! HEY! Remember me?”

Instead, I slipped a note in her hand. “Pray for me. No long sob story of explantion. Just pray.” I wanted to add, “Again...,” but I knew she'd only be confused. I had been just another nameless face in a crowd whose face had long since evaporated amid all the other crowds.

Later, she told me, “Will 10:30a work?”

Knowing she was one and we were many, I deferred. “I know you are pulled in so many directions. Thank you and forgive my intrusion. If you think of me, just breathe a prayer.” The hour or so before I was to leave for the airport we passed in a hall full of busy people.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
She stepped over and wrapped her long, thin arms around my chubby, short frame. “Be still. I'm gonna pray right here.” And, her words flowed like honey over a battle worn and scarred soul. No time. No time to tell her what she had triggered in 2004 nor what she had just set in motion when she uttered those words that froze me in my seat:

If your husband is not 100% behind your efforts, you might as well go home and shut it all down.”

Oh, fraidy cat, what are your life defining moments? Have they served to point you back to the paths of truth as have mine with Rachael? Have they been hard to hear, and have you run away hoping you could avoid an inconvenient truth? Relax. You are not alone.

Hope you'll come back tomorrow and bring a friend. I have more to tell you about Rachael Carmen and me. But then, you knew that, didn't you?

Proverbs 15: 12 (NIV)
Courtesy B. Creasy 2010
A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.

Proverbs 1: 7 (NIV)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 13: 14 (NIV)
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death. 



  1. CA, if you're not already working on a book, you need to get started! If you feel God calling you to do that, I really think you could stretch this ministry.

  2. Matter of fact, Jess, later this month I am headed to a conference and will be part of a practicum class where I will be, hopefully, weaving parts of my blog into something suitable to publish as an ebook. Since you feel that God's call is on me to do so, pray for a humble, teachable heart, encouraging feedback, productivity, and lots of new relationships that will continue to serve as iron sharpening iron?

  3. Can't wait to read that book. :-)

  4. I can't wait either.

    1. Girl, you don't have to read it. You helped me live it!