In the days when I was very busy, the Lord was not really a priority. I went about my life, working full time, taking care of my aging Mother, going out with friends and delighting in shopping.
The scales began tipping the other way when she was diagnosed with advanced cancer. Since my mind was no longer on my work and almost exclusively on my Mother, I took a leave of absence.
After a length and painful struggle, my Mother passed away and I was devastated. Meanwhile, major changes had occurred at the company, making my return to work there no longer a viable option.
By then, the hospital and funeral expenses had wiped out most of my savings. It wasn’t long before a serious clinical depression set in, along with suicidal thoughts, isolation and drinking.
Financial difficulties and bad decisions quickly led to the loss of a beautiful, comfortable family home.
I arrived at L’Abri d’espoir, The Salvation Army women’s shelter, as a terrified, humiliated, angry and broken woman. ¨It feels like the way of the cross¨, I thought.
At L’Abri d,espoir I immediately felt accepted, respected and supported 24/7.
The upcoming Easter Sunday brought me no joy and I asked a resident there to pray on my behalf as I had no strength to do so.
In between very difficult appointments, I enjoyed the Chaplaincy encounters, the Bible studies and prayer sessions. With time I realized that what’s important to the Lord is one’s availability and not material possessions or social status.
One by one, the vast majority of my problems were resolved. Like a good father, the Lord took care of me and snatched me from the claws of predators and jaws of death. He stationed the right people along my treacherous path at the right time. Looking back, I see that it was all magnificently orchestrated. Even outsiders commented: ¨ It could have gone much worse. There must be somebody watching over you.¨ Some said: ¨ It was just luck.¨ Luck, however, is whimsical -now you have it, now you don’t! The kind of help I received at L’Abri d,espoir was systematic and manifested itself at every stage of my roller coaster ride through hell.
At the same time, I am saddened to see that there were outsiders who felt envious and resentful of me for coming out of a very difficult situation victorious. After all, it didn’t happen solely by my own efforts and limited strength.
The Lord is not a magic wand and I still face challenges. Like a child, I want Him to give me what I want and soon. Chances are whatever is not happening is for our own good, or it may be that the Lord simply has other plans.
These days, I take my faith much more seriously. Just like a garden or a meaningful relationship with someone, the relationship with Christ must be cultivated.
I can never forget those who were a source of mercy and non – judgmental help to me – the genuine and compassionate staff at L’Abri d’espoir. The outcome was a triumph of love over hate and of good over evil.
After the way of the cross, yes, I did finally experience Easter Sunday.