tales2apoint

…stories and poetry to touch, teach, & turn the heart toward truth.


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Story of Hope, Chapter 3 – part 2

Jamin hadn’t known what to expect when he’d sat down on the bench by the fireplace and looked at his hands. His mind flew back to the night those hands had clenched onto his father’s soiled shirt collar, shoving him toward the doorway of their old shack. He’d remembered the look in his father’s eyes when Jamin shoved him so hard that the man went stumbling backward into the street, landing hard on his back. With the impact, the shock that had been there was replaced by a flash of anger, and Jamin knew that if he didn’t follow through he would regret it.

In a moment of pure adrenaline, Jamin had rushed at the prostrate figure and started kicking him with wild fury. His fists had pounded into his father’s face until blood came rushing from his nose and mouth. By the time Jamin had regained anything resembling composure, his father was clawing at the street trying to escape Jamin’s assailing rage. The last words Jamin had spoken to his father as the drunken fool hobbled into the darkness was that he would kill him if he ever returned.

The guilt and bitterness came flooding back to Jamin as he’d sat safely in their safe, new home and tried to imagine how God could forgive him for what he’d done. Almost as severe as Jamin’s spite for his father was his guilt over what he’d done in return. What son could assault his father so mercilessly and not feel this way? Jamin had realized for the first time that he was afraid that his father would never forgive him either. Even if Jamin could forgive his father, how would he ever be able to overcome the guilt of what he’d done to the man who had given him life? Somehow, even amid the brokenness of his childhood, Jamin had always known that he and his father were supposed to be friends. Other boys that Jamin had known as a child looked up to their fathers as heroes. Jamin had threatened to kill his.

He couldn’t go on like this.

Too many years of warring emotions and conflicting allegiances had brought Jamin to a breaking point. He knew now that what his mother had told him was true. He needed someone much stronger than himself to help him deal with life, or he would be trapped in a prison of hopelessness until the day he died.

Quietly in that little farm house, Jamin had prayed for the first time since he was a young child. He’d asked God to forgive him, because he believed He could. Jamin had asked God to give him the strength to forgive his father and for his father to one day forgive him. After he’d prayed, the silence of the room had returned and he felt a chill of relief rush through him. He’d looked up to see his mother standing at the door with tears pouring down from her eyes, over her cheeks, and curving around the happiest smile he’d ever seen.

For the first time in years, Jamin had felt hope. It was hope that brought him day by day thereafter to a morning in early fall, when a girl in the city market turned his world upside down all over again.

Hope.

The morning was young when Nina sneaked out of the house with basket in hand, and made her way to the Saturday morning market. She loved to feel the freshness of a fall morning as the sleeping city roared to life. She loved the brightness of the fresh fruits and vegetables that lined the streets of the marketplace. She loved to listen to the banter of patrons heckling with the vendors for an acceptable price. She loved to find the most perfect piece of fruit in the whole market and munch on its juicy freshness as she bartered and shopped for the week’s goods just the way her mother…

Why did she have to keep thinking of that woman? The bitter hurt she continuously tried to swallow down kept swelling back up her throat and, once more, tears tried to fight their way to the surface, clouding her vision. She wiped them quickly and looked around for something to distract her.

Her eyes found their target, and the world seemed to stop.

She’d sought a distraction, but found an obsession. The morning sunlight caught in his rusty brown hair and glistened in his shining brown eyes. He was perfect.

Her feet moved before her mind was full engaged, and before she knew it she was approaching the produce stand behind which he was waiting. His face turned toward her, their eyes connected, and she looked into a world of mystery and wonder. Because she was speechless–and he seemed to be the same–she smiled the most winning smile she could muster and walked away, dazed. What just happened?

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Story of Hope, Chapter 3 – part 1

Jamin smiled with a confidence even he didn’t expect. Before today–about twenty minutes ago in fact–it would have been more confidence than he had, but things had changed. It was her. She’d changed everything, and hadn’t even spoken a word to him. Her eyes still pierced him, even in her absence. The things she had said about him with one fleeting, eternal glance spoke more about who he could be than he’d ever dreamed. From today forward he was going to be someone new. He knew it. It was like he’d met the real him for the first time!

*

Since the day he’d taken his father into his own hands and thrown him out of the house, Jamin had been untouchable. He knew he’d only been able to do it because of the dizzying effect his father’s drunkenness had caused, but it had still been a defining moment in his life. He’d finally learned his lesson about trust. No one could be trusted; no one deserved anything from him. His role in life became to protect his mother and himself from that man–and anyone else who thought they could taken advantage of what was his.

Despite the turmoil Jamin had known as a boy, growing up under the wrath of an alcoholic father, he’d always been a much clearer reflection of his mother’s gentleness than his father’s volatility. Enough was enough, though, and the boy became a man at the age of fifteen. Now Jamin was seventeen, and had learned more about life than most knew by thirty.

He’d become the main provider for his home the day after he’d showed his father the door. He and his mother had moved to the country, where he now worked for a farmer in exchange for rent and a small wage. The farmer was a childhood friend of his mother and had taken them in as family, but Jamin’s heart was in such turmoil that he was unable to speak to anyone but his mother for over a year. The depression that had plagued him was more than any could bear alone, and he was drowned by it daily. Even still, his mother’s prayers floated up to his ears each night as he drifted to sleep in the small loft of their shanty, and it was those words of love that first sparked a flame of hope in his heart.

Twenty days before Jamin’s seventeenth birthday, he’d worked up the nerve to ask his mother how she lived with such peace and hope. Tears flooded her eyes as she told him about a word he would never forget–forgiveness. It was more than a word. Until then, it was a concept he couldn’t bring himself to consider, but after a year and a half of listening to his mother pray with love for the man who had harmed her indefinably, Jamin knew he would have to change. He admitted to himself that the longer he hated his father the more of his father he saw in himself. That was the last thing he wanted.

Quietly, Jamin’s mother explained to him that forgiveness is bigger than human heartache–that it is stronger than hate. “Forgiveness is love in action,” she’d explained, “and love is the most powerful thing in the universe.”

It hadn’t come to him instantly. The thought of loving his father was more than he could stomach. It wasn’t until he’d come back a week later that she explained to him how love was possible. “Love comes from God,” she continued with a glow in her eyes. “We cannot love on our own. That’s why you don’t understand how I can love your father. What I’ve never told you is that I hated your father for more years than I loved him. I wasn’t able to forgive your father for what he’d done until I realized, like you have, that my hate was destroying me. I knew God when I was a girl, but I left Him when I fell in love with your father. That was my biggest mistake. I made your father more important to me than anyone, and–as I should have expected–he disappointed me more than I knew was possible.”

Jamin’s eyes had clouded over with anger when she’d said that. He would never understand how his father could hurt this woman. He still wanted to see his father pay for what he’d done to them. His absence wasn’t justice enough.

“I know what you’re thinking, son.” His mother drew him in with her eyes. “No one can excuse what he’s done and that’s true. Your father will need to come a long way before he can see himself though God’s eyes, but there is hope even for him, if he should ever choose to accept it. That is between him and his Maker. It’s a choice we must all make, and it’s a choice that is standing right in front of you, too.”

Jamin wasn’t used to his mother speaking this forwardly, but he loved to hear the confidence in her voice.

“I haven’t ever been the mother I wanted to be for you, but I hope you know that I love you more than I can ever express.” Both of their eyes were filled with tears, and Jamin had felt the bitterness inside him begin to melt as he’d felt his mother’s love wash over him.

“I know that,” he’d replied, as a sob escaped his throat, surging up from his heart. “I know.”

They’d stayed there, clinging to each other as the hurt of so many years washed over them, then slowly drifted off into the air.

After a time, his mother finally broke the stillness. She’d stood him up to face her with both hands around his arms. “Jamin, you will never be able to forgive your father until you ask the Lord to forgive you. That is as simple as I can put it.” Her eyes were searching his, as she’d continued. “God is more powerful than either of us can know, and if anyone can forgive your father, it’s Him. You will never know any peace in life until you choose to make things right with God and ask Him to give you the power to forgive your father and start living the life you were made for. I don’t want this life for you, and I know you don’t either. You have too much life to live to be moping around this farm lost in your hurt and pain. If I could take it away I would, but the only way you will know hope, my child, is if you find it in God–plain and simple.”

With that, Jamin’s mother had hugged him and told him she was taking a walk so he could have some time alone with God. The impending confrontation had terrified him.


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An Excellent Wife

I need to ask you to forgive me…

…for letting myself go and not even trying

…for making up so many lies in my head about not being beautiful enough for you

…for  just knowing and telling myself that I was not good enough for you

…and telling myself that our marriage would fail and you would not be faithful to me.

I am SO, SO SORRY.

Will you PLEASE forgive me?

I want to vow again before God and you that I will stay faithful to you and never give up on our marriage.

If I say I want it, then I must put all I have into it, and try all the time–not just when it is easy.

As God is my witness (Who is always there), I will make our love my first priority, after my walk with the Lord.

I am trusting Him to teach me how to love you.

Please help me to stay on track as I work on making myself  healthier for the Lord to use…mind, body, & soul.

I love you.