“Here, go fix yourself.” He handed her a Bible and a hanky. “Cry if you have to.”
She pouted stubbornly and dropped back into a chair. “I want you to help me.”
“Now, that’s the small problem, because I can’t help you. Listen, there are things only Jesus can fix,” he said, taking her hand.
“You’re struggling with a lot of things. Heartbreak, family betrayal, friends desertion, low self esteem, alcoholism. What you need right now is to sort yourself out.”
“But I have!” She retorted. “I just want love.” She burst into tears. “It’s so lonely out there. I have no one. No one.”
“Listen Benita. There’s just so little I can offer you if you don’t get on your knees and accept God’s love first. No matter how I run my mouth now, I can’t love you even a fraction of how he would.”
“Please. How about a hug? I’ll be on my way after that. You’ll never see me again.”
Levi buried his face in his palms. Only God knew just how helpless he felt. He wanted to help this girl. Really wanted to. But he wasn’t who she needed. She needed God! And he didn’t want to get in the way.
“Benita. How do you suppose I would help?”
She sat up straighter. “First,” she counted on a finger, sniffing. “You’d be mine huh? You’d never leave. You’ll tell me how much I mean to you. How beautiful I am. Make me feel like a woman. I’ll leave my old lonely lifestyle if you do this. I did all that cos I was depressed.”
A muscle ticked in his jaw. “I’ll do that.”
Benita jumped off the chair and hugged him.
“Only if you listen to me.”
“I’ll do anything you want me to do. I can wash your clothes, clean up the house and get another job. My qualifications are mesmerizing and I promise to not keep excusing myself from work and get fired again.”
“Hmm. Alright. So, I want you to take this Bible. I’ll introduce you to an elderly woman in my church. I want you to open up to her. Let her guide you. You’ll really have to listen to her. Study your Bible, pray and get closer to Jesus. How’s that?”
“And during that period, you’re not getting in any relationship with me or anyone for that matter. You’re going to focus on building a relationship with God.”
“And after your discipleship period has elapsed and you’ve made great progress, we will see. I really want you to ignore me like I’m not there and throw yourself into this.”
“I can’t cope.”
“That’s the point. I can’t be with a woman who can’t cope without me. So you’ll also learn how to cope, be happy, serve the lord and live your best life without me.”
She burst into tears afresh. “You’re just trying to dismiss me. You want to send me away.”
“Look at me Benita.”
He took her face and gazed into her eyes. “I love you.”
She covered her mouth with a palm, tears trickling down her face.
“But Jesus loves you more than I will ever do. I’m not sending you away. I’m sending you to meet Jesus. He can fix you and I can’t.”
“You really want me to do this, huh?”
“More than anything.”
“Fine. I’ll do it.”
He kissed her forehead. “Thank you. I’ll call her now. You’re not sleeping here tonight or ever. You’ll stay at her home until you get another job and rent an apartment.”
Benita took a deep breathe. “You’re a tough one. How you combine such discipline with so much love. It’s amazing.”
He smiled. “Thank you.”
“So, the Holy Spirit is our comforter? Like, he’s with us all the time. Even in our worst moments?”
Mummy Chiugo beamed. “Yes my dear. And guess what?”
“He’s the only one who can take away our burdens and give us peace in our storms. You’ll be calm and be filled with joy, no matter what’s happening in your life. No human being can do that.”
“Hmm. Doesn’t mean we don’t need humans, does it?”
“Of course we do need humans, but when we’re filled with the spirit of God and treasure ourselves like daughters of the King, the right people will come into our lives. People who place same value on us as God places on us. You’re only valued as much as you value yourself. Bible said to love your neighbor as yourself. Which means?”
“I must love myself first.”
“Beautiful my dear.”
“Hmm. So we attract the wrong people when we feel worthless.”
“Exactly my dear.” Mummy Chiugo beamed, adjusting her glasses on her wrinkled nose.
“So how do I see myself through God’s lenses then?”
“My dear, you have seen in the Bible that you’re made in God’s image and He has made you for His own purpose. You have to work with that understanding to begin with. Now that you’re saved and have received the Holy Spirit, we’ll work on that for the next couple of months.”
“Alright.” Benita stood up and headed for the kitchen. “I’ll warm the food, make your tea and prepare for work. Your bathing water is ready.”
“Thank you my dear,” the old woman replied in her ever cheerful voice and continued reading her Bible.
“Hey,” Levi said. “Been like forever.”
“Yeah, right?” Benita took another sip of her tea, adjusting the phone so she could hear him better.
“Umm… How are you?”
“Happy. Working in the Lord’s vineyard and fulfilling purpose. Never felt more accomplished.”
Levi couldn’t control the grin that spread across his face. “Awesome. Mummy Chiugo told me she sent you packing. Said you wanted to make her lazy.”
Benita laughed. A beautiful sound. “She’s stronger than any 80 year old I know. I’d have to leave sometime. Just didn’t expect it’d be this soon.”
“How long have you lived alone?”
“Three years? More? Not sure.”
“Ahh. How come I’m just hearing it?”
“I don’t know. I lost your contact. And she didn’t tell you. So.”
“How is life with Jesus?”
“Amazing. I won’t trade this for anything.”
“Hallelujah,” Levi said. “I never stopped praying for you.”
She inhaled deeply. “Thank you Levi. Thank you for everything.”
Her voice broke and she took a moment to comport herself. “I don’t know what would have become of me, if our paths didn’t cross.”
“Hey. Alright, I’m blushing, but you know who did all the work right? Only Him takes the glory.”
“Yeah. So, how are you?”
“Me… I want to see you.”
“We can arrange that. I’ll look at my schedule and tell you when I’m free.”
“I made you a promise remember?”
“Well, I prayed about it. I prayed a lot. And… I’m convinced I should keep my promise. With your consent anyway.”
“Levi. I’ll pray about it and we’ll see.”
“Alright. Have a nice day.”
Benita hung up and swung her legs under the table while drinking tea. Her Bible was on the table next to her jotter. She looked around her home. Neat, organized. No more alcohol. No more hangovers and she had been speaking with her family more, strengthening a bond that was once brutally severed. She had new friends now, fellow believers who would do anything for her. And then there’s her beloved Holy Ghost, always with her. She beamed.
“Lord, what do you think? Levi wants to marry me. Is he the one?”
A wave of peace washed over her. The voice ever so subtle whispered in her heart and she knew it was finally time. Time to love the man who truly loved her and sent her on a journey to find Jesus.
What is Love?
Love is Jesus.
And love is Levi. She laughed.
Listen, no man who truly loves you would want to exploit your loneliness, depression and desperation. He wants a complete woman, secure in whom she is and the daughter of whom she is. He wants you to build a relationship with God and walk with God. If he’s not sending you on a journey to Calvary, he’s not whom you need.
Listen, you’re not ready to marry until you don’t need to marry. You’re not ready until you’ve built a solid relationship with God and found fulfilment in Him alone. Then, you’re ready.
God bless you.