Emily felt pressed on every side, with a heavy heart she lifted her head and stared into the full-length mirror for the first time that she could remember. Starting with her feet her ankles and calves, the bruises, the scratches, she caught her breath holding her hands to her mouth, it made her heart feel tight. Her knees were bruised from repeated falls. They would probably never fade away. Her skin wasn't as taunt and smooth as it was when she was a younger woman. She raised her shirt and touched the bruises on her left side, three small purple and blue marks outlining her ribs. It hurt to breath in deeply. She felt such shame. Her arms showed the same signs of bruises and cuts. Then she looked straight into the mirror at her face. Tired, small fine lines around her eyes, and dark circles underneath. She touched her skin. What she saw, could everyone else see it? The small downward lines around her mouth; the sadness she tried to hide with forced smiles. What would someone say if she told her story, would anyone care? Would anyone even listen? She wanted to close her eyes and run away, but she couldn't. She just kept staring at her own face. The young women she knew was gone and now left in her place was someone she didn't know, someone she never thought she would become. So what should she do now, keep quite or speak. Pretend or live. She realized the choice was hers and hers alone, but did she have the strength to make a choice.
She closes her eyes remembering a happier time, a soft wind blowing through her hair and the warm sun filling her soul touching her skin. How did she come so far from that? Maybe how isn't important, but what to do now. How to change her life now.
She fell to her knees sobbing, each tear rolling down her face like a race to a finish line. She began to pray, something she hadn't done for a long time. Finding the words between sobs wasn't easy; all she could say was "Help." "God." "Help."
Just then the doorbell rang, she gather herself together wiping away her tears. She straightened up and shifted her shirt as if that would disguise her anguish. She didn't have time to change into long pants; she would just have to go to the door as she was. She grabbed the knob and began to turn it, taking in a deep breath to stabilize herself or so she thought. She opened the door with a half smile; it was the neighbor two houses down, Mrs. Wicker. Actually most in the neighborhood referred to her as "Old Mrs. Wicker." She was a pleasant person always smiling, working in her garden, and raking leaves. She had lost her husband a few years back to cancer, they never had children, she was alone now, but it did not seem to change her, she carried on. Every now and then a niece from out of town would stop by, but she never stayed the night. Mrs. Wicker was alone, but she never seemed lonely.
Why was she here, she had never stopped over before, was something wrong? Mrs. Wicker spoke first. "Emily my dear I hope I haven't disturbed you at an awkward time, but I just had to come over." "You seem as though you are a bit upset, is they're anything I can do to help?" Emily stammer, "Why no, nothing is wrong, I was just, I mean I just was." It was no use, Emily bust into tears. A floodgate had been opened up and Emily didn't have the strength to hold it back any longer. She put her hands up to hide her face. Mrs. Wicker stepped inside and guided Emily to the couch in the living room. "I am so sorry Mrs. Wicker, I don't know what's come over me today, I apologize for, for, well I am just sorry." "It's just." Emily looked down and tried to cover her legs. "I am so embarrassed; I am quite clumsy you see." "I should be more careful, my husband is always telling me I need to be more careful, and he doesn't want to look at damaged goods with no value". Emily couldn't look up at Mrs. Wicker. She just folded her hands across her legs. "My dear, who on earth told you that you had no value?" Said Mrs. Wicker. "I know for a fact that you do, you have great value, so much so that a Man, a very special Man died for you because He loved you and saw your value."
"I don't understand what you're talking about Mrs. Wicker, Look." "Look at me, at my legs and arms my bruises, this is how much value I have, each bruise represents that." "Each time my arm is twisted or I am slapped across the face." "No, I understand my value, I have learned very well what my value is-it's nothing."
"Emily do you know why I had to come to see you just now at this very moment?" Emily just shook her head no. "Because, dear one He sent me, the Man I was telling you about, He sent me here to talk to you, to look after you and to tell you the truth about yourself."
"I know what the truth is, I live it every single day." Emily sobbed. "Well, yes I guess that is one truth, but I am here to tell you about another truth." "What your life can be and should be and all you have to do is ask." Mrs. Wicker paused a moment, she reached out and touched Emily's face to wipe away a tear. She sighed and continued to speak. "That's what you did, didn't you dear, you asked God for help, and that is why I am here."
"How could you know that, it's not possible, I was just in the bathroom and, no, no Mrs. Wicker how could this be?" Mrs. Wicker moved closer and touched Emily's knee as if to soften the bruises.
"It is because He is." Mrs. Wicker said in a soft but firm tone. "A long time ago God sent His only Son Jesus to earth, He lived 33 years and then He was crucified on a cross to pay the penalty of our sins so that one day when we leave this earth we can be in Heaven with Him forever."
"Mrs. Wicker, I have heard about Jesus, I used to go to church many years ago, I even have a Bible some where here in the house and I believe He died for me, but what does that have to do with me now, with my situation; its impossible."
"No Emily it's not." "That's the wonder of God; nothing is impossible with Him." "If you give your life to Him and trust Him, you will start to see yourself through God's eyes and then you will understand your true value." "If you will allow me, I want to pray with you Emily."
"But Mrs. Wicker, how did you know about me, I mean today?" "Oh, dear one I have watched you for many years come and go while I was working in my garden and God had placed a need in my heart to pray for you." "Today, as I was praying, I knew you were ready to accept His truth and I had to come over and talk with you."
"Mrs. Wicker that is so amazing, I don't even know what to say." "May I ask you how long you have been praying for me?" "Well, dear one, a long time." "Please, please Mrs. Wicker how long have you been praying for me, I must know."
Mrs. Wicker grabbed Emily's hands and held them tight. "Since you were a little girl, I guess you were about seven years old and I saw you looking out the front window of your house." "Your father and mother were fighting and your father had a suitcase and he tossed it in the trunk of the car." "Your mother was crying and pleading with him." "As your father opened the car door to get in and drive off your mother ran to him, he pushed her back with such force she fell on the pavement and he drove off." "I was so absorbed in watching the fight between your parents I didn't notice you standing there." "I realized you had watched the entire sence from the front window of your home." "Your face told me all I needed to know and that's when I began to pray to for you."
"But, Mrs. Wicker, that was more than 40 years ago, how could you pray for me for 40 years?"
"That my dear one is the power of God and the love He has for you and the value you have to him, that is what made me pray."
Emily bowed her head, tears still rolling down her face she held Mrs. Wicker's hands and they began to pray.
I have been writing all my life, I just didn't realize it until I was my late 40's. I hope my experiences can help other who have gone through similar trials. This story is a bit different for me, however I feel compelled to write what I see, even if it isn't always happy.