Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Good morning. It is Monday, August 16, 2021
I was a rebellious teen. Looking back on my life I am sure it was a mixture of hormones, sadness and, Satan trying to get me. I have many stories from my early to mid-teens where I should probably have died. But here I am, witnessing for God, telling others what a loving Father we have, telling others about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God has certainly had His hand of protection over me!
I was reminded over the weekend of an incident that happened when I was just 14 years old.
I was very unhappy at home. Most of my ‘fantasies or daydreams” were of my stepfather dying. I wanted him out of my life more than I can articulate. I never thought of murder, but I often thought how nice it would be if he were killed in a car crash. I know that sounds harsh, but that was my reality when I was 13 and 14 years old. I loathed the man.
One day I decided I would run away. I was fed up and ready to be on my own. (What a joke)
I packed a bag and snuck it downstairs when my mom and stepdad were gone. I hid it outside and at just the right time, I made my escape.
To make a long story short I ended up staying with a male friend. We were just friends and he let me sleep on his couch. He lived in one of the local “Labor Camps.”
Milton-Freewater had many orchards and canneries and many migrant workers. There were several ‘camps’ where they could live as they passed through.
During the off season these ‘apartments’ would be rented out. And so, I found myself living in a block-walled building. I could not go outside for fear of being seen by a cop or by someone that knew my mom. We ate pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as that was all he could afford. But the biggest challenge was the cockroaches. I had never dealt with this nuisance, and it made me sick to my stomach. One night I woke up with cockroaches crawling on me. I decided that night, living at home was better than living like that.
I made my way home that day. My two younger sisters were at school. Mom and stepdad were not home when I arrived, but I wrote a note and headed up to my bedroom.
I could hear them when they got home. I heard the car doors slam. My heart started pounding. I heard the back door open. After a few moments I heard my mom say, “Jeanette’s home.” And then muffled voices. And I waited.
What would they do? What would they say? What would be my punishment? I waited and waited for what seemed an eternity when I heard my mom coming up the stairs. I held my breath.
I will never forget what happened next.
Mom walked in my room carrying a plate with a sandwich on it. She handed it to me and told me she was glad I was home. She hugged me and asked me where I had been.
No yelling. No condemning. No punishment. Just love. She asked me if I would like to go to town with her the next day instead of going to school. I don’t remember if we bought anything. I don’t think so. We just ‘window shopped’ and had lunch and talked. I felt so loved by my mother. It obviously made a lasting impression on me.
It would be 30 years later when a child in my home would rebel. This young teen would tell me they no longer wanted to live with me. I did not handle it well. There was yelling and restriction. The next morning, I would recall that day when I was 14 and how my mom had reacted. I then took her cue and made a plate of food and took it to this young teen. It seemed to make everything better and there was never talk again about wanting to leave.
What an example of Christ’s love for us. My mom had every right to get angry at me. I am sure I had caused her great stress. She had every right to ground me or try to restrict my movements. She had every right to get me back in class the next day. But instead, she showed me love, mercy and compassion. And by doing so she was an example for me.
God shows us that grace, mercy, and compassion daily. All we need to do is turn from running away from Him and he is right there with a plate of food and an embrace. He is right there to say, hey instead of going to school today, how about we take a walk and just talk? How about we spend the day together and let me show you how much I love you?
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. - Ephesians 2:1-6