I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME
(Intermittent Waves Recorded From The Transformed Heart Of A Woman)
AUNTIE YONNY: THE UNEXPECTED (Part 2)
IS YOUR ALL ON THE ALTAR
Rachel appreciated the fact that with her promotion she had acquired a private office, however, there were times when she wished the private office was actually private. Surrounded by glass windows, with people passing by and peering in, she felt like a piece of glass menagerie on display. The most terrifying thought was that people could see right through her into all of her insecurities and vulnerability. Keeping the blinds drawn closed all of the time, made them all the more obvious. So, when Pastor Allen arrived unexpectedly, being so visible gave her no opportunity to hide her feelings.
Upon seeing Pastor Allen through the window, she was hit with guilt and shame like a flood of waves pounding against the shores of the ocean. She could feel her face becoming flushed and hot and realized that she was wearing shame and guilt as if she’d applied it as makeup. All kinds of thoughts began to clumsily bump around inside of her head. Unconsciously, she folded her arms across her stomach as if there was a chance of hiding the protruding abdomen that was so prominent and obviously of ill-proportion to the rest of her body.
“Wow! What happened to the confident and brave Rachel?” She asked herself. “Why am I feeling like this? It’s just Pastor Fitzgerald. Am I ashamed of my pregnancy?” Rachel already knew the answer to the last question and the cause of her stressful feelings. However, she tried to cast her feelings aside, and at least look the part of being happy. So, she put on a big smile and a facade of pleasant surprise, as barefooted, she walked to the door to bring Pastor Fitzgerald into her office.
Having only walked a few steps, she felt her baby becoming very active, kicking and moving around. With each step, the discomfort grew. By the time she reached to open the door, and Pastor Allen walked in, it was as if the baby was doing somersaults inside of her. She tried to hide her discomfort.
“Pastor Allen! What a wonderful surprise!”
Not expecting Rachel’s welcoming reception, all Pastor Allen could do was laugh. Rachel hugged him tightly, perhaps, too tightly, causing her to grab her stomach.
“Hello, Rachel. Oooo, are you alright?”
Having been extremely nervous and anxious, she assumed that she had probably disturbed the baby. She laughed nervously as she replied to his question.
“Well, Pastor Allen, it depends on how you look at it.”
They both laughed in an effort to mask the awkwardness of the moment and the embarrassing feelings which had gained control over them.
“Yes, I’m okay. Its…its just that my…my baby is suddenly very active and I’m a little uncomfortable. He seems to have taken control of my body.”
They both laughed again.
“Yes, it looks like there’s more of him there than there is of you.”
Pastor Allen let out a big howl.
“Here let’s get you off of your feet. Is there anything I can get for you?”
“No, no, no…I’m…I’m…”
Rachel sucked in some air and let it out slowly as the baby gave her a hard kick and began stretching inside of her. Seeing the distress upon her face, Pastor Allen winced.
“Please don’t go into labor now. I can preach about deliverance, but, I’ve never delivered a baby before.”
Realizing what a bad joke he had made and that he was surrendering to fear, distraction, and the weakness of the flesh, Pastor Allen began to pray within for guidance. Taking a deep breath he spoke what was in his heart.
“Rachel…Rachel, I apologize if my coming here has caused you discomfort or embarrassment. That was not my intention. I’m here because I love you and I care about you. I wasn’t certain that this was the right thing to do, but, I prayed about it and here I am.
When you became part of our congregation, God entrusted me with your care. But, I’m not here just because you are a member of our church. I’m here because you are a Child of God. Please forgive me for taking so long to come and see about you. There’s no other way to put it. I was afraid and I was negligent of my duties as a servant of God.
My taking care of God’s sheep shouldn’t be determined by what you have done or your coming to church every Sunday. We are accountable to one another everyday and as your shepherd, I am accountable to God and Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, everyday, for your well-being. If I had been following the Mind of Christ, with the unconditional love of the Master, I would have understood that, but, now I do. Please, forgive me and allow me to serve you.”
Rachel began to cry and got up to hug Pastor Allen.
“Now, now, I’m the one who should be crying. I’ve missed out on most of your pregnancy and not been there to support you.”
Unable to speak, Rachel just held onto Pastor Allen.
“Now, I’d like for you to come and talk to me, if you don’t mind.”
Rachel nodded her head yes.
“How about Sunday evening at five in my office at the church?”
Rachel nodded her head again.
“Okay, then, I’m not going to keep you from your work. Call me if you need me before then, or if you can’t come. We can reschedule.”
Pastor Allen grabbed some tissue and offered it to Rachel. Wiping her face, she laughed and looked up at him.
“Thank you for coming. I’ve missed all of you at the church.”
“We’ve missed you, too, Rachel. We’re your family. Don’t ever forget that. God made us family. You know, Rachel, coming here has taught me that I’ve got a lot of soul searching to do. As Believers, we call one another brother and sister, but, do we really mean it, or, is it just formality and part of being the scripted Christian instead of the scripture Christian? I appreciate you Rachel and I give God the glory for putting you in my life to keep me on the right path. I’ll see you Sunday. God bless you and your baby.”
After seeing Pastor Allen out, Rachel returned to her desk feeling much lighter. All of her anxiety and nervousness was gone. Even the baby seemed to be resting and content. She laughed at herself for being so afraid and embarrassed.
“Now, the old Rachel would have seen right through those tricks and known what the enemy was up to,” she told herself. “You need to get your eyes back on Jesus, Rache.”
Calling herself Rache reminded her of Hal, someone she didn’t want to think about at that moment. Pastor Allen had left her feeling much better about herself and her life. She hadn’t realized that she had been carrying around the heavy weight of guilt and shame all of this time until she saw Pastor Allen.
Rachel knew it would be good to talk to him and looked forward to seeing him and perhaps some of the other Disciples on Sunday.
“Disciples,” she spoke out loud to hear the word. “I haven’t described myself in that way since, well, since my life changed,” she thought, rubbing her stomach.
Suddenly she realized that she hadn’t been able to share her feelings with anyone for a long time. She and Derek talked, but, he just wasn’t the kind of person who liked talking about deep feelings. He didn’t even talk about his own deep feelings. They never talked about God together and she missed the joy she always felt talking to other Believers about God. She began to question their relationship, when her phone rang. It was Derek.
“Hi Sweetheart. I’m sorry I wasn’t back before you left, but, here’s what I’d like you to do for me. Take a few days off of work and come with me to Vegas.”
“Derek! Vegas? What on earth for?! I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to fly at this point in my pregnancy.”
“Oh, you’ll be fine. I’ll hire a nurse, or, aww hell, I’ll bring a doctor!”
“I…I don’t know, Derek. I’m going to be missing a lot of work and…”
“Alright, Rachel! You’ve spoiled everything! I wanted it to be a surprise! I want to take you to Vegas to marry you! I want to marry you before the baby comes. We can still have the big wedding later on, but, I want you to be Mrs. Derek Graves by this weekend! Okay?”
“I…I don’t know what to say, Derek…”
“Just say yes and hop in a cab. No, on second thought, I’ll send a limousine for you. And, no need to stop and pack, I’ll buy you a new wardrobe.”
Rachel’s mind was racing. This was just too many surprises for one day in such a short period of time. She didn’t think she was ready to say yes, but, she didn’t know how to say no. Yet, with all of those thoughts and feelings racing around in her head, pride found its way to the forefront and the thought of being Mrs. Derek Graves, a married woman, instead of the unwed pregnant woman, living in sin with a man, won out over, “Is this what God wants me to do?” Pride even tossed out any questions as to if marrying Derek was what she really wanted to do? Pride was getting what it wanted in order for it to look good on the outside in the eyes of man and the enemy had succeeded in setting another trap.
Who knew Rachel Montgomery cared so much about what the world thought about her? I guess when pride gets us in the right situation or circumstances, any of us can fall prey to its trickery. The flesh is weak, as the Word of God has warned us and pride can convince us that what we do for the flesh is the right thing to do.
Like many women, Rachel is even convinced that what is right for her is right for her child and what she is doing is because of her love for her child. This is the same confusing rationalization as when parents take on the role of the child and believe that they deserve to be happy first, believing the child should sacrifice their happiness for them out of love or be able to share the same happiness. However, what is missing in the minds of these people and in their relationships is the understanding of true joy, true sacrifice, and unconditional love, which is the parents responsibility to transfer to the child, as well as the responsibility to put God first in their lives. Joy, sacrifice, and unconditional love are Fruits of God’s Holy Spirit, borne of holiness and righteousness. God is Holy, and His Fruits are part of His character being manifested through us as we imitate God.Yet, Rachel isn’t thinking about bearing Good Fruit, she hasn’t been able to fit it into her schedule or into her plans. Pride has made sure of that.
Now, where did all of this talk come from? What is its relevancy to the current situation in the middle of our story? Why have I gone there? Because, Rachel’s story is important to us in that it can help us find our way out of darkness, how we got there in the first place becoming disconnected from God. Perhaps, Rachel’s story can better explain how what looks good on the outside can actually be a trap. As we come to understand how others fall into the traps of darkness, we are able to have compassion and unconditional love for others.
Well, we all know that Rachel is about to fall into another trap, which will lead to another trap, and another, unless she awakens to the Truth and/or someone intercedes on her behalf. Have I given the story away? By no means. The story doesn’t end here. Rachel knows that she needs to put her eyes back on Jesus, but, she still feels she can make her own choice as to when and how, because like many other Believers being in the flesh, led by pride, she has a sense of entitlement—privilege without holiness, and rights without righteousness!
Part of the adversaries plan is to make a Believer think that because they know the Word of God they can think and behave in such a way, as if they have graduated, or, become elevated to be beyond sin or failure. In other words, they may feel that they have enough of the Word within them to sustain them and control their own lives and protect them from sin. Which is contrary to the purpose of us ABIDING, LIVING WITHIN THE WORD OF GOD. Again, the trap leads the Believer to make the mistake of thinking that a Believer is one who knows of the Word instead of actually living within the Word and following the Mind of Christ, daily.
So, what happened to the old Rachel? Can we explain her disconnection? Having come to know the Truth, Believers can still find it difficult to resist the weakness of self, if they do not die daily to their flesh. Although, we have knowledge of the Word of God, it is not uncommon for us to lose our way when faced with new experiences in our lives and having opened the door to darkness through sin. This is why it is best not to yield to temptation in the first place. Can we still call Rachel a Believer if her belief is without trust in God? What if her faith is without works? Rachel believes that she knows unconditional love and that is why she can love Derek as a husband. God said that if you love me, you will obey me. Does Rachel’s continuous disobedience show love for God or self? She has fallen into another trap of forgetting who she is, as a Child of God. She is trying to please herself and others instead of pleasing God–first.
Perhaps, Rachel is doing what she believes to be right, but, for the wrong reasons. Then, like some parents, she will expect her child to be able to live with her mistakes and her unhappiness. Rachel is blinded by pride and living for the world and for the moment, both which shall pass away, but, the Kingdom of God is eternal. She is not seeking the Kingdom of God first, knowing that all else will be added through the Will and Way of God. Neither is she following The Way, The Truth, and The Life–Jesus. She prides herself in being an independent woman capable of taking care of herself and making her own decisions, but, has she forgotten that we cannot do anything without God?
Yet, before we point a finger, shaking our heads and simply finding fault within Rachel. Let’s look at the same trap and the weakness of the flesh in Abraham, who also believed God and it was counted as righteousness, although his flesh had not escaped the attachment to the world. We are shown Abraham in a struggle to please his wife and establish his priorities and authority concerning his sons. He is a parent struggling with the same trap of appearances and trying to please others. He gets caught up in the emotions of others. He tried to please the flesh, caring for the things of the world, until God tested his faith, asking him to sacrifice his flesh, in the form of Isaac, his son, his heir, and God’s promise to him.
Although, he believed God, Abraham had mixed loyalties and priorities. To become the father of nations, God needed his eyes focused first on the Kingdom of God. His wife, Sarah, insisted that he give up her handmaid, Hagar, and his son by her, Ishmael to appease her jealousy and love for the ways of world. Yet, God wanted to know, “What will you give up to serve ME Abraham? What is our relationship all about? Where is your love and loyalty to ME–HOLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS? Have you forgotten about ME? How do I get your attention?! All that you have came from Me and belongs to Me. Now, SHOW me your faith and sacrifice he that I have given to you!”
As Abraham was in a delicate state, about to give birth to a nation, so is Rachel in a delicate state, right now. Not only because she is pregnant, but, because like Abraham, she has allowed her pregnancy to isolate her and separate her from God. Now, instead of trusting God and living in the spirit, walking by faith instead of by sight, she is living in the flesh, walking by sight. However, I cannot stress enough that she is not unique in her circumstances or her blindness. It is something we ALL struggle with from time to time. The proof is in the condition of the world and the condition of those who claim to Believe today. Satan knows our Achilles heel, our weak spots, and our weak moments.
Acknowledging her weakness, Rachel searches for her old self, but, she can’t find her, because, she is still blinded and disconnected from God. Still, we have a God in Heaven, a loving Father, who promised to never leave us alone, therefore, God has not given up on, or, disconnected Himself from Rachel. He is allowing her to go through the darkness in order to bring her into the Marvelous Light!
Rachel remembered that she had agreed to meet with Pastor Allen Sunday evening. Meeting him next time as a married woman appealed to her enough to satisfy any doubts she had.
“We’ll be back by Sunday afternoon, won’t we?”
“If that’s what you want. We’ll plan a longer honeymoon, later.”
“Then, yes. YES! My answer is yes! Let’s do it! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, let’s go to Las Vegas and get married!”
“That’s my girl! I’ll send a car for you in a couple of hours.”
“I’ve got to ask my boss first. I don’t want to lose my job!”
“Well, he better say yes! I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”