Listen here to Adelaide’s Sanctuary by Erica Brock read by Jami Amerine! Or on your favorite podcast app! Or read it below
Adelaide lay upon her canopy bed holding a cold compress to her cheek. She waited for the pain to subside but the chilly fabric could not soothe the throbbing wound that went deeper. This most recent strike from her father bruised the center of her heart.
She rested her head on her pillow and let the tears flow and the memories of better times come flooding back.
It was five years ago that she was a small child of six. She was wearing her favorite blue dress and sitting upon her grandpa’s knee as he read her his favorite Bible stories…
“Once you can read for yourself, Addie, you will learn many stories. They will guide you through each path of your life.” Adelaide’s eyes grew wide and she smiled. “More stories of war, and plagues?” Grandpa laughed heartily and smoothed her ruffled hair. “Oh, Addie. Perhaps tomorrow we will move ahead to some tamer stories.
Your father would not want you learning to be a warrior. It isn’t proper training for a young English lady.” He gave her a wink. She sighed. “I guess you are right, Grandfather. But, let us never stop reading.” He smiled down at her. “Never.” In a moment, Adelaide’s smile faltered and her spirit became melancholy. Her grandfather frowned.
“What is it child?” She didn’t look up but spoke quietly. “I just… I wish that father loved me… as he does Laney.”
Her grandfather said nothing for a few moments. He stayed silent so long she was afraid he had been offended. When she finally looked at him, there were tears in his eyes and he offered her a weak smile. “You know, Addie, one of the greatest mysteries, even for the best Christians in the Bible, was why God allows bad things to happen to seemingly good people. Paul didn’t understand it. Peter didn’t understand it. David didn’t understand it. Not even Moses.”
He stroked her cheek gently for a moment. “So what are we to do, my dear?” He turned her to face him fully.
“Adelaide, God commands us to have faith. He says that His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways, ours. Imagine the disciples’ fear and confusion when Jesus walked away, when He was nailed to a cross, and when He died. Where did it seem that their faith had gotten them? Some went right back to their old life and they all forsook Him and fled. They didn’t understand; but, now we understand. God’s plan was greater than just the disciples. His plan was for all of mankind.”
He reached down and wiped the tear that fell from Adelaide’s eye.
“We can’t change our situation, but we can change our attitude in dealing with our situation, Addie. We can always choose to have faith because God is faithful. Trust in Him, Addie, and know that He is always here for you, my love. Can you do that for me?” Adelaide nodded and he pulled her into his arms. “That’s my good girl.” He kissed her cheek. “My sweet, sweet girl.”
Addie wiped the last of the tears from her eyes and looked at the Bible on her shelf. Her grandfather had been her hero. The one to point her to the beautiful things in this world. He had lost his wife of 45 years yet he had never let bitterness set in. He had turned to God’s Word for his strength.
The struggle and pain had made him into a better man, by drawing him nearer to His Savior.
His son, however, had absorbed every drop of the bitterness rejected by his father. He expected more from his father’s God. He was not done with his mother and when his father accepted it, it felt like a betrayal. He would not turn to this failing God with his pain. Instead, he turned to the drink. The bottle distracted him from the emptiness but could not change the anger he stored within, so the anger was delivered to Adelaide.
What would Adelaide do with her anger?
She pushed herself from the bed and went to the book shelf. Would she allow her life to be controlled by bitterness as her father had? She pulled her grandfather’s Bible from the shelf and flipped it open. As it opened a paper slipped from the inside and she watched a photo float from the book to the floor. She lifted it to see a beautiful picture of a butterfly and glanced back to the Bible. She saw the marked verse-Psalm 31:15 “He hath made all things beautiful in his time.”
Her grandfather’s smiling face appeared in front of her.
“His time is not our time, Addie.” She took a step to the right and grabbed another book from her shelf. It was entitled. Nature Surrounding Us. The nature book was also a favorite of her grandfather’s. He loved how nature taught us about God, almost as well as the Bible. She opened the pages and found the article to which the picture belonged.
The Chrysalis and the butterfly.
In nature there are many miracles, one of which is the transformation of the butterfly. The vulnerable creature will not always stay that way.
One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly.
Definition of chrysalis-
1) the hardened outer protective layer of a pupa
2) a protecting covering
3) a sheltered state or stage of being or growth
Adelaide looked out of her bay window and surveyed the meadow before her.
She spotted a small butterfly fluttering to and fro and finally settling onto a red flower. She felt a yearning inside. There was something beautiful in the idea of a chrysalis. A safe place. A place where something ordinary could become something beautiful; but, she was just a child, she couldn’t build a safe place. Could she?
She stood in thought for a few moments then smiled. Perhaps she could make a sanctuary. She took her grandfather’s Bible along with her nature book and placed them on the floor in the center of the room. She moved to her bed and slid a basket of loose ribbons from underneath. Lastly, she snatched her ink well and quill pen from her writing desk and sat them on the floor along side the books and box of ribbons.
What followed was an hour long expedition to find all of the promises of God that her grandfather had taught her so many times.
She found the verses one right after another and wrote them on her ribbons. After an hour, the floor was a smorgasbord of fabric and ink and her heart was filled with peace. Tears of thanksgiving filled her eyes as she gathered the ribbons and began to tie them together-looping them, one into the other, forming a beautiful chain of colorful fabric. When the task was complete, she stood a top her bed and pulled down the drapes of satin clipped upon her bed posts and tossed up the beautiful ribbon chain. She cast it over and over again until it cascaded across the top and all sides of her bed.
After a few moments, she stepped back and examined her work.
Excitement filled her. There in front of her was a beautiful canopy of the promises of God, sanctuary. She closed her eyes and felt God’s Word and His promises soothe the wounds that the cold compress had not been able to reach. She took in a deep breath of peace and let out a sigh of thanksgiving. She would not live in bitterness and let her hurt consume her as her father had. No. She would trust in these promises just as her grandfather had done. She would not allow her circumstances to define her and determine her future. That was God’s job. According to all that she had read from His Word, He was very, very good at it.
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