Chapter Seven ~ Whispers of Promise

Heartache is hearing her sentence . . .

Heartache is seeing your beautiful daughter handcuffed and taken to jail . . .
 

Heartache is not being able to hug her . . .

Heartache is answering your grandchildren when they ask if Mom and Dad will be with them for Christmas: “No, honey.”

And Jesus Whispered ~ 
Although the mountains around you are shaken, Kathi, and the hills are broken down, my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor will my promise of peace be removed. I am the Lord who has compassion for you and your precious grandchildren.
 
 
 
The evening of the sentencing was especially difficult for all of us. After the children were sound asleep and I had knelt by their beds and prayed, I went back into their bedrooms, checking on them all through the night, whispering one word prayers to the Father: Bless. Comfort. Touch. Heal.  Moving about our home throughout those unsettling nights, I felt the presence of the One who never slumbers or sleeps.
 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(An excerpt from When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers ~ Chapter 7 ~ Whispers of Promise)
by Kathi Waligora .
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Sentencing

. . . we prayed and then drove to the court house. I was uneasy.  I wanted to glorify God no matter the outcome. The courtroom was filled with our family and friends. I felt blessed. Amber and Jesse sat at the front, waiting to be called up. But we waited quite a while. Others were being sentenced. It became frightening. We could tell the judge was giving harsh sentences for seemingly minor offences. When these “criminals” went forward to be sentenced, their family members entered the courtroom. Possibly one or two family members. Sometimes none. None of these people, “criminals” or family members, had the support Amber and Jesse and Ron and I had.

A young woman, crying, sat alone at the side of the courtroom.

I went over, sat beside her, and put my arm around her, hoping to console her. She told me about her sister who would be arraigned on this day.

Her short story was filled with hopelessness – a background of abuse and hate, a story of drugs, a child taken from her mother, no money for bail. I asked if I could pray for her and for her sister. She allowed me to.

Although I prayed for her sister by name,

my prayer was for all women invaded by the enemies of abuse and neglect, deceived by the demons of a myriad of drugs, – for their crying and neglected children, entwined in the lost cycle of it all –

people for whom I now had a greater empathy and a sincere concern. “Christ, we fight under your banner. Lead us.”

Soon her sister, handcuffed and dressed in orange and white stripes,  stood before the judge. The arraignment was stated. The officer led her from the courtroom. The young woman smiled a thank you through her tears as she left the courtroom. I returned to my seat and waited our turn.

I thought of the first time, nine months ago, when I had entered this court house. I remembered seeing my daughter and her husband in shackles. I recalled the many court appearances speckled throughout the months between then and now, during which I had seen other women and men shuffling down the halls of the court house, in the faded striped coveralls, shackled hand and foot.

Some hung their heads in shame; some were frightened; some smirked. No matter their demeanor, my heart had ached for each one; my hate for the deceitful enemy who had caused it all was refueled, but my awareness of the Father’s great love for all and the saving grace of Jesus Christ was foremost in my mind.

Now I looked at my daughter, her beauty and health returning to her once-addicted body, and at my son-in-law, now a redeemed man in every sense of the word, and I thanked God. They sat together, knowing that most likely, they would be separated from this day forward, and separated from their children, as well, for a lengthy time. But they faced the consequences of their sins and crimes, thankful that God had saved them out of their depression and addiction, thankful that they had a bright future in Him.

The judge had stepped out – then reentered the courtroom. “All stand,” the court assistant instructed.

Jesse was summoned first. His lawyer spoke. Then Jesse spoke, humbling himself before the court. The judge pronounced the sentence: One year in the county jail. His face was enveloped in pain as the deputy court officer escorted him out. Our family cried. I hurt for Jesse, and I hurt for his children. A year without their daddy – and after he had become a better daddy. Amber tried to compose herself, knowing she needed to stand before the judge next.

I hadn’t felt so helpless since her arrest nine months ago. There was not one thing I could do to change the course of events today. It seemed that it was all in the judge’s hands, yet I knew it was truly in our Lord’s hands. I trusted Him, and I trusted the judge.  We believed him to be a godly man and we had committed this all to the Lord, even this sentencing. We had seen the miracle of God in transforming our Amber and Jesse. We knew we would see the mercy of God today. And although I trusted in God’s mercy, it didn’t change the pain I felt when Amber was sentenced.

Her lawyer spoke. Amber spoke, admitting her crime and regret, putting herself at the mercy of the court. “Ninety days in jail,” the judge said. Oh, no, I thought – or spoke – or cried. I don’t know which. I was numb. The deputy took Amber by the shoulder and began to escort her out of the courtroom. I rushed to the front, near the door where he was leading her, extending my arms to hug her – to hold her one last time. “GET BACK,” he shouted. “DON’T TOUCH HER.” Our eyes met – Amber’s and mine. She was my daughter, my beautiful little baby girl.

Through clouded eyes, I saw Ron crying and hugging our daughter, Kristen, our son, Matt, and our daughter-in-law, Lynette. I was trying to make my way to them, but I couldn’t seem to move.

Our friends were talking. Some were smiling. I felt very strange. Their lives would go on as usual after they left this courtroom, but ours wouldn’t. I was very broken.

I had asked God for mercy, and I had received mercy. Their sentences were evidences of His mercy, shown through the wisdom of the judge. But the overwhelming pressures of the last nine months pressed in on me. All I could think of was, how will we tell the children? How will we tell them their parents won’t be with them for Christmas? Emotionally crushed and physically weakened, I felt someone take my arm. My brother, Larry, had come to my rescue, as he had in various ways throughout our childhood and the many years since. He helped me out of the courtroom and out of the building. The cool November air and warm sunshine stroked my face like a fresh renewal from God. Ron and I drove straight home, and Matt and Lynette and Kristen met us there. We “regrouped” and I once again knew “the hope” to which my Lord had “called” me. After a time of prayer and renewal, they headed home. Then Jake came over and the three of us, as grandparents, went to the school to pick up the children and convey the bitter report.

The children were quiet. I’m sure they suspected to hear that their parents were in jail. Once they were all in the car, collected from their three different schools, one of us, I don’t remember which one, told them the sad news: Their parents had both been sent to jail. It was another one of those moments you never want to experience. Their faces were the saddest I had ever seen. I held back the tears. It was the least I could do for them. “Will they be with us for Christmas?” Kaylee asked.

“No, honey,” I replied. I think those were the two most arduous words I’d ever spoken.

My sandals were off, and the place was holy. We carried around Jesus, and we knew the hope to which He had called us. Now we needed the healing he promised.

Click here to read more in Kathi’s new book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers.

Humility in the court room

. . . I thought of the first time, nine months ago, when I had entered this court house. I remembered seeing my daughter and her husband in shackles. I recalled the many court appearances speckled throughout the months between then and now, during which I had seen other women and men shuffling down the halls of the court house, in the faded striped coveralls, shackled hand and foot.

Some hung their heads in shame; some were frightened; some smirked. No matter their demeanor, my heart had ached for each one, my hate for the deceitful enemy who had caused it all was refueled,

but my awareness of the Father’s great love for all and the saving grace of Jesus Christ was foremost in my awareness. Now I looked at my daughter, her beauty and health returning to her once-addicted body, and at my son-in-law, now a true man in every sense of the word, and I thanked God. They sat together, knowing that most likely, they would be separated from this day forward, and separated from their children, as well, for a lengthy time. But they faced the consequences of their sins and crimes, thankful that God had saved them out of their depression and addiction, thankful that they had a bright future in Him.

The judge had stepped out – then reentered the courtroom. “All stand,” the court assistant instructed.

Jesse was summoned first. His lawyer spoke. Then Jesse spoke, humbling himself before the court. The judge pronounced the sentence: One year in the county jail. His face was enveloped in pain as the deputy court officer escorted him out. Our family cried. I hurt for Jesse, and I hurt for his children. A year without their daddy – and after he had become a good daddy. Amber tried to compose herself, knowing she needed to stand before the judge next. . . .

(Continued in tomorrow’s posting)

My prayer was for all women assaulted by the enemies of abuse and neglect

. . . we prayed and then drove to the court house. I was uneasy, filled with anxiety, and a bit “punch drunk.” I wanted to glorify God no matter the outcome of this sentencing. The courtroom was filled with our family and friends. I felt blessed. Amber and Jesse sat at the front, waiting to be called up. But we waited a length of time while others came before the judge. Some offenders were being arraigned. Others were being sentenced. As we heard those sentences, we became frightened. We could tell the judge was giving harsh sentences for seemingly minor offences. When these “criminals” went forward to be sentenced, their family members shuffled in and out of the courtroom. Sometimes one or two family members observed. Sometimes none. None of these people, these “criminals” or their family members, had the support Amber and Jesse and Ron and I had.

A young woman, crying, sat alone at the side of the courtroom.

I went over, sat beside her, and put my arm around her, hoping to console her. She told me about her sister who would be arraigned on this day.

Her short story was filled with hopelessness – a background of abuse and hate, a story of drugs, a child taken from her mother, no money for bail. I asked if I could pray for her and her sister. She allowed me to.

Although I prayed for her sister by name, my prayer was for all women invaded by the enemies of abuse and neglect, deceived by the demons of a myriad of drugs. My prayer was also for their crying and neglected children, entwined in the lost cycle of it all, people for whom I now had a greater empathy and a sincere concern. Christ, we fight under your banner. Lead us.

Soon her sister, handcuffed and dressed in orange and white stripes,  stood before the judge. The arraignment was stated. The officer led her from the courtroom. The young woman with whom I had spoken smiled a thank you through her tears as she left the courtroom. I returned to my seat and waited our turn.

I thought of the first time, nine months ago, when I had entered this court house. I remembered seeing my daughter and her husband in shackles. I recalled the many court appearances speckled throughout the months between then and now, during which I had seen other women and men shuffling down the halls of the court house, in the faded striped coveralls, shackled hand and foot.

Some hung their heads in shame; some were frightened; some smirked. No matter their demeanor, my heart had ached for each one, my hate for the deceitful enemy who had caused it all was refueled.

But on this day, my awareness of the Father’s great love for all and the saving grace of Jesus Christ was foremost in my awareness. Now I looked at my daughter, her beauty and health returning to her once-addicted body, and at my son-in-law, now a true man in every sense of the word, and I thanked God. They sat together, knowing that most likely, they would be separated from this day forward, and separated from their children, as well, for a lengthy time. But they faced the consequences of their sins and crimes, thankful that God had saved them out of their depression and addiction, thankful that they had a bright future in Him.

The judge had stepped out – then reentered the courtroom. “All stand,” the court assistant instructed . . .

Continue reading in When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers by Kathi Waligora Click here to order directly from publisher: https://www.boldvisionbooks.com/shop/when-life-roars-jesus-whispers

or contact Kathi by message through this site to order.

. . . jail. I hated the word.

On Sunday, the day before the sentencing, the kids spent the afternoon visiting their parents. Before they had to separate and say their goodbyes, from a distance, we observed Amber and Jesse seriously and gently talking to the children. Later, we learned that they were explaining that in the morning, they would likely be sentenced to jail.

I was uncomfortable, knowing they were speaking about jail. I hated the word.

But I had begun to trust our sweet Amber and renewed Jesse, and I had also began to trust that as parents, they knew best for their own children. It was with anxious hearts that we tucked our children into bed that night, and with tender souls that our children prayed for their Mommy and Daddy and for the sentencing to take place the next day.

On the omegaMonday, November 19 arrived. It was a most difficult day for us all. I wore my mother and father’s wedding rings on a necklace chain around my neck. The rings lay close to my heart. I was glad my parents weren’t physically there, to see and feel my pain, but so glad their rings were close, for their rings, once a symbol and a promise in their marriage, were now a symbol and a promise of their commitment and fidelity to me and to my family. It was a reassuring reminder of the heritage in Christ they had begun and which now continued in our family, finally including our once-wayward Amber and Jesse.

Ron drove the kids to school but of course didn’t go on to work, as usual. Instead, he came back home, where we prayed and then drove to the court house. . . .

(Excerpt from When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers)

This Nana has no regrets. Only precious memories.

I awoke this morning to an empty house – very empty! And very quiet!

No little girl stood beside my bed, looking at me and asking the usual Saturday questions: “Where’s Papa? At work? Can we get up, Nana? I’m not sleepy any more.”

I made only one bed this morning – my own. Jacob’s, Ben’s, and Kaylee’s had not been slept in.

I stepped into a clean kitchen and watched the CBS Morning Show instead of Saturday morning cartoons.

I leisurely drank coffee  and fixed my own breakfast instead of Kaylee’s.

I rushed to the laundry room to start the first of many loads today, but I found only a few odd socks. I won’t be washing any laundry today.

Then I wrote my grocery list and found it to be very short.

I feel very strange and terribly lonely. The house is not the same.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

I’m remembering the last 13 months when the house was filled with dolls and Legos, backpacks and half-eaten granola bars. I rescued socks from between the sheets and I sorted outfits for each day of the week. The fridge held large jugs of Powerade and organic 2% milk; the pantry was packed with Honey Nut Cheerios and Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips; and the freezer was stocked with Cookie Dough Ice Cream.

IMG_1943~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Laundry room hooks held fleece jackets and hoodies;  its shelves were stacked with boots, shoes, and baseball cleats; and its hampers overflowed with dirty jeans and white t-shirts. Crumbs covered the floors under the kitchen stools; Happy Meal trinkets bounced from one room to another; and blobs of blue toothpaste splattered the bathroom counter.

 

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

 

 

 

Nana and KayleeThis Nana took on the traits of Mommy. (It’s an awesome combination!) And Papa added the role of Daddy to his character. (It’s a huge responsibility!)Papa, Benny, Jacob

DSCF6835The savings account dwindled.

The vehicles’ odometers soared as “The Road Less Traveled” became “The Road More Traveled” – back and forth between home and schools 24 miles away – three or four times a day.

Evenings were filled with baseball games, homework and baths, snuggling and lullabies. Weekends meant wrestling meets, visiting Mommy and Daddy,  and going to church.IMG_1960

Nana and Papa forgot that they once went out to dinner, sat quietly and talked, and watched old movies on television. (They were too tired to remember such times.)

And yesterday, I sorted some last-minute thoughts and turned them into reminders:

“Kaylee, here are your little pink wash cloths. I’m packing them for you to take.”

 

“Benny, don’t forget to brush your teeth – morning and night.”

“Jacob, your baseball uniform is washed and ready for your first game next week.”

And last night, they took that long-awaited step from our house to their own house with mommy.

So today, as I sit alone, I’m remembering the last 13 months, when this house has been a refuge and a haven of unconditional love to three adorable grandchildren, and I’m feeling strange and lonely in this empty, quiet house – a house that is not the same.

But this Nana has no regrets. Only precious memories.

“Are you the one?”

They asked Jesus, “Are you the one . . . or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report . . . what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

(Matthew 11:3,4)

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

I ponder this scene in my mind. They come to Jesus to inquire, “Are you the one we’ve been expecting?”  You see, they knew the Messiah was coming. They had been awaiting the fulfillment of the prophecy for a very long time. But they just weren’t sure if this Jesus was the one.

Jesus responds, “go back and report . . . what you hear and see.”

 So I “report” some of the amazing things He has done for my family and for me, “the poor.”

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

My husband,Ron, and I raised our children to know the love of God and His amazing grace. They knew what we wanted for them; they knew what God wanted for them; but, as adults, of course, their choices were their own.

Our youngest  daughter and her husband “tried” to follow what “we wanted” for them. They attended church for awhile, possibly trying to please us, maybe thinking it was the right thing to do, but they did not seem to have a relationship with God. Soon, they wandered far from us, from the church, and seemingly from their God.  He was “their God” because, you see, God calls us. He ordained us before the world began, and He had ordained our Amber and her husband, Jesse.

Amber and Jesse went through years of turmoil. Lifestyle and life choices brought them heartache and sorrow. They were depressed. They lost their jobs. A house fire put them out of their home for 18 months. When the home was finally restored, they lost it back to the bank. Then Jesse’s beautiful mother died, much too young. They were both very close to her, and the loss devastated them.

We observed their depression. But we didn’t know of their addiction.

Our hearts ached for them. We were angry. We were sorrowful. We were sad. We pled. We cried. We begged. We suffered in our own way. A terrible way. A way that only a mother, father, or grandparent can know. A way that eats at your soul and steals your sleep, while it agonizes your mind and your body. An enemy is present and he preys upon your family. We try to change things. We try to make things better. But we can’t.

We share the only thing we can share – the good news. The good news that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  That he died on the cross for them – in their place. That He rose again for them. That He loves them. That He has planned abundant life for them. That it is a free gift.

Then we pray. We cry and pray. We plead to God. We read in His Word that there is victory in Jesus. We read that He – our Lord God – is GREATER than the enemy. We read that the name of Jesus has power over the enemy. And we say that name over and over and over and over and over and over . . .

And I place that powerful name in writing. I write letters to my daughter! God’s Word enters her home. God’s Word is placed in her hands. And God’s Word is in front of her eyes.

I claim that name – the name of Jesus – for my family! I rebuke the enemy. I tell him that he no longer has control over my family. My Lord Jesus died on the cross and rose again for my family, and our Almighty God has the victory in our family. His Word is filled with promises for my family. The enemy is no more!

. . . he answers [her] from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. . . we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:6)

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

 “Go back and report . . . what you hear and see,” Jesus says.

I hear a phone call in the middle of the night. I hear a message – a message I don’t want to hear. I see my daughter and her husband in shackles – a sight I don’t want to see.

I hear God’s comforting voice, speaking to me in my deepest pain. I see his angels surrounding me. I feel His tender arms holding me, lifting me up when I feel I can’t go on. I experience His amazing grace and His unfailing love that pulls me through the agonizing moments of each day.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

 “Go back and report . . . what you hear and see,” Jesus says.

I hear and see a miracle. The dreaded message of that dark night changes to the good news of a the Light of the World – and the shackles of bondage and addiction are removed forever. My daughter and her husband are transformed by the power of the resurrected Christ. They give their lives to the Lord Jesus, the God of miracles.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

“Go back and report . . . what you hear and see,” Jesus says.

I hear my daughter and her husband speaking of God – their God – telling of His amazing, saving grace. I see their changed lives. I see light where there was darkness. I see a bright and promising future. I see a new love and a new life. I see a couple nurturing their wounded children, parenting them, loving them, and guiding them in the love of the Lord. I see Jesus.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

They asked Jesus, “Are you the one . . .?” (Matthew 11:3)

“Yes, Lord,” [I] tell him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (John 11:27)

Yes, my friend, Jesus is the one!

He is the Jesus of Miracles. He is the Jesus who heals the broken-hearted and mends broken families. Jesus has compassion for you.He can heal your broken heart and mend your broken family. Jesus died on the cross to save you. He can change your life. He can change your family’s lives. Call upon him in prayer today.

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Tomorrow at midnight, . . .

Tomorrow, at midnight, her daddy will be at the back door of the building.

Tomorrow, at midnight, her daddy will pick her up – his precious daughter – his youngest daughter.

She’s coming home – to her new life – free of the addiction, guilt, and darkness of the past.

She’s coming home – to her children – her beautiful children who have weathered the storm and are awaiting the comfort of their mommy’s arms, awaiting the sound of her voice, the coconut fragrance of her hair, and the touch of her fingers stroking the nape of their necks as she sings them to sleep.

—  —  —  —

She’s coming home – to her new home – a big yellow house bathed in love and steeped in tradition and heritage.

—  —  —  —

Her recovery is complete; her debt is paid; her punishment is over.

She will step out and breathe in the cold, crisp, fresh air.

And she’ll thank God for the new life He has given her.

And tomorrow at midnight, I’ll thank God again, as I promised Him last year – and forever and ever – for the new life In Christ He gave my precious daughter – my youngest daughter.

 

Through the child, the angels are made known

I don’t begin to know how or why, but I do know that my little granddaughter, Kaylee (the one who lives with us now) sees angels!

The first time I realized that she saw angels was one night – the middle of the night! – when she climbed into bed with her Papa and me.

See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

As she lay between us, squirming like crazy (while we tried to get back to sleep), she talked as though it were the middle of the day instead of the night! Then she began describing the angels she saw flying around her. I thought she might be frightened, so I said, “It’s probably your special guardian angel, Kaylee. Everyone has a guardian angel!” She wasn’t frightened.

“There are lots of angels, Nana. See?”

I didn’t see them. I just kept encouraging her to go to sleep!

“Close your eyes, Kaylee. And go to sleep, honey.”

She did close her eyes. “I can still see them, Nana.”

I turned toward her. She opened her eyes and said, “There’s one on your nose, Nana.”

 

At breakfast, I encouraged her to “rethink” the events.

“Your were dreaming about angels last night, weren’t you Kaylee?”

“No, Nana, I didn’t dream about angels. I saw angels!”

I tilted my face, smiling, “You were just kidding about the angels, weren’t you, Kaylee?”

“No, Nana. I really did see angels!”

 

Similar episodes have since occured, both in her own bedroom, as well as ours. But the episode that amazes me the most occured one night when many angels flew around the room. By this time, I had learned to pretend I was sleeping while quietly, I enjoyed her descriptions. She described the many as perhaps forty, which was more than the few at a time she had previously recounted. Suddenly, these forty angels stood perfectly still, forming a wall. 

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve us? (Hebrews 1:14)

I waited. Finally I asked, “Are they flying around again?”

“They’re still not moving, Nana. They’re holding still on the wall they’ve made.”

A few minutes passed.

“They’re flying around again, Nana.”

Have you not put a hedge around [her] and [her]household and everything [she] has? Job 1:10

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalm 34:7)

I don’t know the danger that was coming our way at 1 am that morning, or why those angels formed a wall of protection around us, but I prayed, “Thank you, God, for showing me, through the innocent eyes of my child, your awesome protection upon our family.”

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. (Psalm 8:2)

 

We have this treasure . . .

And  God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts . . .

2 Corinthians 4: 6

Friends, Tuesday morning, after a heartbreaking Monday, after telling our grandchildren that Mommy and Daddy were in jail, and after a miserable night, I opened my Bible to Joshua 5:14b, to ask the Lord the question I have been trying to remember to ask  him every day, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” (Me!) Was I expecting something new? Something dramatic? Something unusual? As I flipped through the pages of my Bible, my eyes fell upon highlighted passages, post-it notes, and ink writings, smeared by time and wear. I read His promises–the same promises I’d been given in His Word before Monday’s sentencing–were true for me on Tuesday. The same God who loved me (and Ron and Amber and Jesse and . . .) before Monday’s sentencing loved me on Tuesday. And loves me today. And will love me tomorrow . . . and . . .

Do you see?

He doesn’t change.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Ron and I are heartbroken. But He is here with us.

Amber is hurting and lonely. But he is there with her.

Jesse is humiliated and broken. But he is there with him.

He will never leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5

You see, we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God . . . We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Why? Because we always carry around . . . Jesus!

 2 Corintians 4: 7-9

So, grab your jars of clay and go fill them with His treasures.

More to come . . .