I knew. One hit of that pillow I was going to be out for the count.

Monday was my baby’s first day at preschool. Foundation. It is necessary.

Anyway we got up at 7:47. Who knows what time we went to bed. We have been doing our own thing, sleeping as long as we want to, no structure no rules. But she needs to start. I need those few little hours to myself so that I can run unobstructed no worries about what derelict of society is approaching my daughters vicinity.

I have to be on alert for her sake. I can handle me. The other nurse assistants use to refer to me as the strong girl. They knew who to call to lift the two hundred fifty pound plus resident into their chairs. My mother used to joke and call me herculessa. The times I needed to use my strength I did not. Figuring people that know you and have relationship with you won’t hurt you, until they do. Strong fragments, still muscles don’t quit.

I digress. I knew if I went to sleep Monday night there was no way I would be up for four AM prayer. So I began to just talk and talk to my Father. Thats all He has been asking for since the beginning, relationship. It is in relationship that He can have my obedience and trust. I do that in human relationships where people fail me constantly  How much more so would I do it once He empties the cups from my past so that I am free to have that with Him. So we engage. Fellowship.

I wonder what to do until it is time to leave. I hear the quiet whisper. Food prep. If you know what I have to do to cook in this place the Lord has given me until it is time to get out while I get me together you know that is no easy feat. But I do.

I have eight ready meals for the week and now it is three AM. Time to leave out.

I call my little sister twice.

No answer.

So I get ready to go to my car. I don’t know about anyone else but I know it is mandatory that I be in the building. No streaming. I need to be there.

I am putting my baby in the car when I see a figure staggering towards me.

It takes a lot to shake me.

My first encounter with an armed robbery I was four. My mother had just come from the currency. The man followed her. He held the knife up to her and I in shell shock watched him grapple with my mother trying to find her money. I stood there motionless until he accidently hit me in the head. The shrill scream that emitted from my tiny lungs shook him and he ran. He had no money. We were safe, again. That powerful voice of a young child made the spirit in him want to flee.

I was eighteen when it was happening to me, alone. No mother close by.

Walking down Monticello off Chicago ave coming from my ‘friends’ job heading to McDonalds two men approached. The one standing in front of me had two guns. They wanted our jewelry. They wanted our lives. The big mouth next to me was talking about how she wasn’t giving up anything. I’m looking at these guns. One directed at me and one at her. I comply. I sneak one ring into my pocket and give him the one of lesser value.

I kept my cool in the face of danger. Quiet calm and collected. I was shaking on the inside, but the motto has always been never let ‘em see you sweat.

However, last night I saw the figure staggering towards me and I didn’t see a man. He looked like a zombie. Half of the top of his head was missing. I just knew I was seeing things. I was shaken. I began shaking.

I do not scare easily. I was terrified though.

The word says For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. I saw something on him that made me shake to my very core. I knew the flesh and blood man, but whatever had a hold on him, whatever it was that was gripping him constantly sending him to the D boy for a fix whatever monkey was riding his coattails put fear in my heart.

I couldn’t think of the scripture that reminds me that I am not given a spirit of fear. I saw that thing on him and I shut down.

I was shaking as I texted my sister to pull up right behind my car.

See my family has made it an open door thing with him and others that struggle with the addictions that are tearing their flesh apart. When he knocks with something to sale, someone is buying.

Now his change is so evident. There is no more family to keep him. After his brother and mothers deaths within six months of each other he is now without family. He is now homeless. There are no more things to steal from his mother to sell to anyone in my family or wherever he can get a quick ten dollar for his fix.

There is only despair. Now there is fear and despair, because as my grandmother keeps the bolt on the door explaining to me that this man doesn’t look the same and is not the same, whatever has a hold over him has him so strong there is no telling what his desperation may force him to do to a 76 year old woman who is often home alone as my 78 year old grandfather is still working his twelve hour days at the job he retired from over a year ago but returned as soon as the company realized no one could replace him.

I saw the figure rushing to the back porch at three Am. I knew I saw half of his skull caved in and as he asked where I was going so early in the morning it took all the strength I had to muster Four AM prayer in a voice of authority and assuredness. Neither of which I felt.

When my sister came and parked behind me, I could do nothing besides rush to get my baby in the car looking over my shoulder to see that he was still standing at the door of my grandparents apartment, get in the front seat and ball my eyes out.

Shell shocked.

Repentant. Of all the meals I cooked for the men that served up death on a platter to give them the strength to stand in their positions. For any money received from this lifestyle. For not understanding that every time a person takes a stand against what is wrong it plants a seed for what is right.

Sorrowful. What happens so bad in a persons life to make them turn to something that they know is going to lead them to their demise?

Terrified. All I saw was death. I don’t know if it was his death or the life he was going to take in his desperation.

I was a mess.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t speak for the thirty minute drive until we got to the Lords house. I would stop crying for mere seconds before I started right back up again.

When the first thing pastor began to pray for was Joshua 1:9. be strong and of good courage. Do not be frightened. Pastor said terrified. I heard the Holy Spirit comfort me. The strength that had left me from that encounter that morning began to slowly return to me.

So much so that after coming home to get three hours of sleep I ran my best mile out of the eight and a half I did in only twelve minutes. I walked into my grandfathers apartment and asked because I had to know if the man that was at the door yesterday had a hole in his head. He said yeah. Someone had busted him in his head. I could do nothing more than shake my head. I wasn’t seeing things, but most importantly God was showing me something. The need to pay attention and stay safe. In our city of too much drugs and so much violence mostly over drug territory stray bullets have no specific assignment. God has not given us a spirit of fear, we have power, somethings we have to use our sound mind over unless we have Neo like Matrix skills able to stop bullets midair. That sound mind allows us the ability to hear the Holy Spirit clearly. Listening is of the utmost importance.

So I put my trust in Him. My God my Father. My Lord and Savior that sits on the right hand of the Father. I won’t be bullied or pressured into doing anything anyone else’s way. The human mind can never comprehend the magnitude of God. So there it is. I respect everyone else’s journey.

I ride the waves knowing that the God I serve can calm every storm and every wind that comes my way. For that I am thankful. I find peace, and my renewed strength is like wind underneath my feet.

Its time to take flight!

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