in my grandparents' and mother's love; that's how I felt during my early
childhood. In New York City's outskirts, my mother and I lived with my
grandparents in their sturdy old Victorian home. Tall maple trees
sheltered the house. Other ornate homes, fields and patches of woods
surrounded it. Inside, I'd warm myself by the fireplace and inhale
the aroma of home-cooked food. Outside, I'd romp in the piles of
autumn leaves my grandfather had raked in the yard.
Best of all, I knew there was always a lap I could climb onto. During storms and nightmares, my grandmother's large arms would fold around me. I imagined that life would always be this safe. But it wasn't.
When I was five, my mother married her second husband. She and I moved in with my new stepfather, whose rages were easily ignited. For nine long years he would often beat my mother and me until we bled. I once watched him hold my mother against a wall with a butcher knife. Hearing our cries, terrified neighbors would call the police to tear him away.
My mother and I would run to my grandparents' house for shelter. They always welcomed us with open arms. But my mother gave my stepfather chance after chance.
As the marriage broke up, my mother and I found ourselves penniless and begging for food in a strange city. Giving me the few morsels we had, my mother went bald from malnutrition. Her weight dropped to seventy pounds. Nutritional deficiencies I suffered, have left me with lifelong health problems.
Hearing of our plight, my grandmother rushed to help us and bring us back to her home. Sadly, both she and my grandfather passed away within a few years. I collapsed at my grandfather's funeral, then wept for days when my grandmother died.
My secure childhood home, filled with memories, was sold to strangers. The lovely, old neighborhood began to deteriorate into high rise apartment buildings, drugs and crime. Suddenly, there was no safe place where I could hide from life's storms. I felt orphaned and alone.
In my early twenties, however, I asked Jesus Christ to forgive and save me. That's when I learned a life-changing truth. God is a Father to the fatherless (see Psalm 68:5), and I can run home to Him. Although my grandparents had a sturdy home, my Heavenly Father has many mansions. And He is preparing one of those mansions for me (see John 14:2).
When storms and troubles strike, prayer brings me into the safety of my Father's lap, where He comforts me with His Word. His inheritance to me is beyond the reach of change or decay (see 1 Peter 1:4). Because God has conquered time and death, He will never grow old or die (see 1 Corinthians 15:54). His house will never be sold to strangers. Neither will Heaven's streets fall into disrepair. Forever, they and God will remain the same.
With open arms, God stands at the door to welcome me into His presence--now as I read my Bible and listen to the whispers of His Holy Spirit. One day, however, He and I will stand face-to-face at Heaven's portals as He welcomes me into my eternal home.
Published by Spirit Publications June, 1998
©Copyright 1998 Flora Reigada
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