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Then Along Came an Angel

True angel stories touch the heart and uplift the spirit. Please enjoy the stories and feel free to comment and/or pass onto other people who might need some encouragement today. Julie Bonn Heath is the compiler of the book, "Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance", which includes almost 50 true angel stories. You can order the book at online bookstores order from your local bookstore. It makes a great gift!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Story from the Book: Night Angel

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“I told my friends about the violent arguments my parents thrived on, that often ended with my father pounding his fists against my body. I hoped that if they could see what life was like in my house when no one was looking, that they’d show me compassion in regard to my lack of style.”



Night Angel
by Kriss Erickson


The summer air was deep with the scents of life—freshly mowed grass, hydrangeas, the mingled oils and essences of adolescent perfumes. I was at a party in East Orange, New Jersey, hosted by a family who attended my church. Chips, dip and punch festooned the dining table in the roomy brownstone home. Laughter chimed up the stairs from the basement where my friends danced to the hits of the 70s.

Though surrounded by friends, I felt alone. I sat on the basement stairs, watching couples dance, for the first hour of the party. My rumpled jeans and long-sleeved cotton shirt couldn’t compete with my girlfriends’ stylish dresses, cute pantsuits and upswept hairstyles. No one asked me to dance. I knew my unpopularity was at least partially due to my frumpy appearance. But when I tried to explain, my friends didn’t believe that my parents wouldn’t allow me to wear trendy clothes or style my hair.

"You just don’t like to dress up!" one friend said. "If you’d just try to fix yourself up, people would like you more."

Sometimes I felt rejected by more than my friends. Sometimes I doubted that God loved me. If He did love me, why wasn’t He there for me when I needed Him?

On my way home from school, I often stared at the beautiful clothes hanging in the window of our local department store. But my parents insisted that wearing stylish clothes was sinful. Neither did they allow me to "show off" by styling my hair, even though that meant looking more like a boy than like a girl.

By the time I was sixteen, I was so desperate for someone to believe me that I did the unthinkable. I told my friends about the violent arguments my parents thrived on, that often ended with my father pounding his fists against my body. I hoped that if they could see what life was like in my house when no one was looking, that they’d show me compassion in regard to my lack of style.

But my father was a deacon’s assistant and my mother helped on many church committees. Instead of understanding, I received outrage and anger.

"How dare you talk about your parents like that!" A friend snapped after I told her that my parents didn’t even wait to get out of the church parking lot before they began criticizing everyone they’d spoken to at services.

I knew that it sounded terrible to talk about my family in such a way. But once my father was so angry that he tore off the bathroom door and threw it down the stairs at my mother. My main responsibility was to remain silent and not mention how they’d beaten and yelled at me since before I could walk.

When I realized that my friends didn’t believe me, I thought that they didn’t care about me inside, only about how I looked. That night at the party, I decided for sure that God didn’t care either or He would have fixed my life.

I grew up in a small town where it was relatively safe to walk after dark so although I’d never been to East Orange before, I finished watching my friends dance and left.
Besides, if no one else cares about me, why should I?

I walked several blocks down the empty, eerily quiet street. Though it was only a little after ten, the houses I passed were dark. Few cars traveled the streets. I realized that I might not recognize the house where the party was being held if I went too far, so I walked back the way I’d come. By this time, I’d worked up a big ball of angry, hurt feelings.

"For sure they don’t care," I muttered darkly. "I bet they didn’t even notice I was gone."

The large number of cars parked around the house and the shining porch light made my destination easy to find. But then I had the same issue as before I left--should I listen to the adults talk or sit on the basement stairs, watching my friends dance?

Instead of going inside, I sat on the front steps, my elbows resting on my knees and cupping my hands beneath my chin. The more I thought about how lonely I was, the sadder I felt. When tears began to course down my cheeks, I didn’t wipe them away.

Suddenly, I was jerked by my hair into a standing position. In the light of the single bulb that lit the porch, I saw the glint of a rusty knife blade an instant before it poked lightly into my side.

"You comin’ with me, girl!"

A scruffily dressed boy with a red bandana tied tightly over his head and knotted at the back glared at me with cold earnestness. He looked about two years older than me.

"Get up!" He jerked my hair again for emphasis.

All the years spent defending myself against my father caused me to cry, "No!" as I tried to pull myself away.

Dropping the handful of hair that had ripped from my scalp as I resisted, he shoved me hard. I landed in the rose bushes, scraping my right forearm deeply on the thorns. The boy grabbed my hair again and jerked me upright. He marched me across the front lawn, toward the dark street.

I was so scared that my body stiffened from my toes to the top of my head. I walked beside my attacker woodenly, as if I had no knees. I felt the rusty knife against my side, and saw the empty caverns of a parking garage across the street. All the beatings my father had given over the years hadn’t prepared me for anything like this. I wasn’t sure what this boy wanted, but I was sure that if I let him lead me into that parking garage, I might never come out. We were almost to the sidewalk. I had to do something—fast!

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and prayed. It was a short prayer, but I felt my urgent request fly from me to God’s beckoning arms. Please God--help me! I screamed internally. Then I yelled.

“No!"

With my eyes still closed, I jerked away from the boy, expecting to feel his knife slip between my ribs. I jumped as far as I could from him, landing in a half-crouch with my hands balled into fists. Since this boy had attacked me so brutally on the front porch of the house, I knew he’d be more vicious now that we were nearly to the street and out of site.

It took a few moments for the pounding of my heart to back out of my ears. Once it did, I realized that there was no sound. Cautiously, I opened my eyes, and blinked.

When I’d sent up my desperate prayer, I’d been at least fifty feet from the front porch. I now stood close enough to the porch steps to touch them, which I did, to prove they were really there. The boy who’d attacked me was gone. I didn’t hear him run away, but he was nowhere in the yard.

Just as I was beginning to wonder if I’d imagined the attack, my right arm began throbbing from the gash received in the rose bushes. The pain of that scratch opened the wound of the loneliness I’d felt by turning my heart away from God when it felt like other people would never believe me. I realized that turning from Him had made me blind to the heavenly helpers who were always with me.

There was only one way that I could have traveled nearly fifty feet in the space of a breath. There was only one reason that I’d escaped from my attacker with nothing more than a scraped arm. God had sent an angel to answer my prayer. The angel carried me back to the porch steps, and sent my attacker away.

I knew now that even if my parents didn’t love me and even though my friends didn’t believe me, God cared. He could see and hear me, and He loved and believed in me. Though I’ve had lonely nights since then, I’ve never felt as alone as I felt on the night of the party. Because ever since that night, I’ve realized that I’m really not.

Kriss Erickson has been a freelance writer since 1981. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction.

The above story is an excerpt from the book, "Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance". Order the book at http://www.pleasantword.com/

1 Comments:

At 9:51 PM , Blogger Julie Bonn Heath said...

FYI- Any stories posted here may be used in newsletters, etc for free as long as the book "Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance" is credited before or directly after the story. Thanks! Julie Bonn Heath

 

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