Friday, 6:13 p.m.
“You can have my coat,” I told him. “I don’t need it.”
As I handed my jacket over the coffee shop table to the boy whom I had just met, I wished, even for an instant, that he would hand it back over to me, say he didn’t need it, say he had a place to stay that night. But he didn’t have a place to stay that night, and a tug on my heart told me that I’d regret keeping my coat more than I would than if I gave it away.
He took the coat and tucked it under his arm.
Glancing down at his phone, he mumbled a swear word under his breath.
“What’s wrong?” I said in a hushed tone.
“My phone… it’s at 12%,” he replied.
“You can have my charger,” I said, pulling it out of my backpack. “I don’t need it.”
Fast forward to the next morning, a WhatsApp message lit up on my phone. He was in a safe place. I drew in a deep breath. I missed that coat. My phone was at 11%.
I drove to the store and bought a new charger, and drove back to my apartment without a coat. But that’s the part that didn’t matter. I had four coats waiting for me at home.
Sunday, 9:22 a.m.
When Sunday came a day later, I woke up for church late. I twirled my hair around my straightener to release a few soft curls, and twisted my mascara brush up toward the ceiling to wake my eyelashes up from the 10 hour sleep I had had the night before.
I left fifteen minutes later than usual, and I made it to church early by three minutes.
The sermon came out of the book of Colossians, one of my favorite books of the Bible. The lead speaker talked about its history, how Colossae was a place Paul never actually visited, but instead wrote to from prison.
Sometimes at my church, some people there will feel God’s heart to heal something specific, and if it feels like something that resonates in your life, you can ask for prayer about it. I don’t feel this way too often, but I felt what he said resonate with me.
I got up from my seat and asked for prayer. When the man said amen, he asked me to look at him.
“You’re going to learn to trust again,” he said.
Tonight I left work early (5:13 p.m. on the dot), but got home late. I managed a little fender bender while merging into a lane that fell to a complete stop thirteen miles north of my apartment.
After waiting an hour and a half for the officer to arrive plus forty minutes to process our out-of-state info, the officer stood next to my open car window.
“This is just a warning,” he said. “Be careful in the 5 o’ clock traffic.”
Breakthrough happens in the moments we least expect it.
What the officer said was simple, but what he gave me was grace. I felt my fear turn into faith.
I’m convinced of this now more than ever before: it is grace that leads us into freedom.
When I arrived home, tonight was the first night I ran a fast mile on the treadmill since I broke my foot in 2014.
And greater, the pain that has radiated from my shins to my hips when I run since the time I was thirteen was no longer there. There have been times I thought the pain was gone completely; but it was not until tonight where I felt that it was gone to know that somewhere, that pain had still been holding on.
We are always one step closer to healing. We are always one step closer to trusting, to letting go, to holding on, to having hope. Grace is a choice.
& because of this, we give freely. The rain falls softer here, but if not softer, more steady. It reminds me of yellow lights and the eventide, of a midnight rush, and Lazarus. It reminds me of waking up and it reminds me of falling asleep. A gentle breeze tousles mist into my hair as I stand outside in December, taking in the final days of the year. I’m barefoot on the patio of my apartment. I put my shoes back on and swing open that glass door that leads me back into the florescent-lit room.
And once again, I tell myself: if you want to be free, be free.