Chapter Two, Part One

Luke 17:2

1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

Five years ago can seem like forever, unless the memories plague your mind like they happened just yesterday.  Sarah remembered five years back with haunting clarity.  She had hoped to put her past far behind her, but some memories, especially bad one, were hard for her to shake.  She wanted to put her hope in the future, but so much had happened, and she had so many broken places in her life.

She knew too well that time had a way of etching away at her unsecured hope of a future.  What she didn’t know is that God could help her pick up the pieces.  She lacked faith that a savior existed.  She doubted this Jesus Christ that her father preached about would be able to help her leave her past behind.  Most of her problems were her father’s fault.  How could he expect her to believe in a God that he preached about on Sunday morning and then ignored Monday through Saturday?  He preached about a boss who expected perfection.  He told of an intolerant judge who would throw people into hell for mistakes.  If God was that hateful, how could she ever be good enough to go to heaven?  Her view of Jesus was shadowed by the view she had of her father.

Her way seemed so lost and meaningless and she despised the image she saw in the mirror, but as long as she had breath in her, she refused to lie down and quit.  Something had to change one day.  Her hope was in some future event that she was waiting for.  She just had to make it to that moment in time, and everything would be changed.  She got out of bed every day, hoping this would be the moment in time that would change her life forever.

She flipped her hair back and fluffed it with her fingers one more time.  Her make-up looked good and her clothes were tight enough to draw some attention.  She was hoping for one of the guys to notice her at work and ask her out.  There were a couple of nice looking ones, but they didn’t seem to notice her at all.  She was invisible to them.  After six months of working in a machine shop, she figured someone would have a more in-depth conversation with her other than to say, “Hi, how are you doing? Can you get me some bolts and washers?”  She kept trying different things to bring attention to herself, but no one seemed to notice.

Carol, one of the women that she worked with, tried to witness to her about Jesus a few times, but she shut out the words as quickly as they were spoken.  Carol did not know what it was like to grow up with a step-mom and a dad who were so abusive that she felt completely detached from anyone?  The Jesus she once thought she believed in was a Jesus of her childhood fairy tales that she had fabricated before her mother died.  Although she begged Him to save her, he never showed up to save her and her image of him was soon destroyed by the violence of her step-mother and her father, who should have known better.  Too many nights she cried herself to sleep.  Too many days she had suffered bruising by hands that should have held her and cared for her.  Those bruises were covered by clothing, but the emotional ones were plainly seen on her face as she went through her day. She wished she could cover her face to hide her shame.

Because of this, Sarah had no true concept of mercy.  When she was young, she would go over and over in her mind the mistakes she had made and wondered how she could do better to earn her Dad’s love and respect.  Each day, she would try harder, but nothing seemed to work.  By the time she was in middle school, she had given up and began to rebel as much as she could. She had resigned herself to pleasing her piers no matter what she had to do.  The guys seemed to like it, so she kept pushing towards that attention with no restraint. She sought male attention where danger had no harness.

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