The years came and went. REAL grew and grew until there were branches all over the world of the youth program. When Jessica and Devon had been married for seven years and their son Malachi was six, they had a visitor from the past come to see them.
One morning, when Jessica was folding laundry, she heard a knock on the door.
“Coming “, she called. Jessica put the laundry basket down and went to the door. When Jessica opened the door she couldn’t believe who she saw, at least who she thought she saw. Michele Lane looked like she had lost a lot of weight and the skin was just hanging off the bone. Jessica stood there for about a minute, unable to speak.
“Jessica, is that you?” Jessica nodded her head. She still couldn’t believe it.
“The one and only. Can I come in?”
“Yes of course.” Jessica stepped aside to let Michele in. Her steps were considerably slower than the last time Jessica had seen her. When Michele finally sat down in the living room on the sofa she began.
“So how is everything Jessica?”
It took a moment for Jessica to speak. “Well, everything is fine, Devon and I have a son, his name is Malachi and he’s six years old.”
“I have a son also; his name is Jeremiah but he likes Jerry for short. He’s five and he’s such a blessing. So you must be wondering why I’m here,” Michele began.
“That thought did cross my mind,” Jessica admitted.
“Well, I’m here to explain what happened that night and what has happened to me since. Remember that day in Devon’s office?” Jessica nodded her head.
“Well, after I left Devon in the office I was so upset that he was so happy that I met with Megan and we planed to destroy your relationship with Devon. The night of the engagement party you added fuel to the fire when you talked to me about the anointing that Devon had on his life. I was deliberately late for the party and I parked my car at a nearby parking lot and took the bus. When Devon and I had finished bringing all the stuff up to my apartment I convinced him to have a drink of water. I went into the kitchen and put a sleeping drug in his drink and gave it to him. When I was sure that he was asleep, I called Megan who had been hiding in my room. We both undressed Devon and took pictures. Some pictures we took together with Devon and some were with just one of us with him. After our little photo session was over we got him dressed and placed him in his car so it looked like he had fallen asleep in front of my apartment building. I can’t begin to tell you how I’ve regretted that day ever since. Back then I was a lost soul, hungry for attention from men, and I would do anything to get it with no thought for the people I hurt. Ye,s I was good at the games I played, until they caught up with me and now I’m paying a high price for my mistakes: much too high.”
At this point Michele broke down in tears. Jessica put a loving hand on her shoulder.
“What happened?” she said gently.
“About four months after the incident with you and Devon, I met someone at a club one night. That was the night I got pregnant with Jerry. I didn’t get the guy’s name or any information about him. So here I am and my son is without a father. I stopped partying for a while when I was pregnant: it was during that time that I became a Christian and swore that I would never go clubbing or partying again or so I said at the time.”
“So I had my son. I was alright until he was about a year old. I made the mistake however of meeting up with one of my old friends and she convinced me to go out with her that night: I met another guy. After we had danced a little bit he offered to take me home. All of the sudden I felt sick and I wanted to leave the club; that’s when I realized that a club wasn’t the right place for me anymore. I refused to go with him as I was going to go home on the bus. And I told him so. I thought he was going to just walk away and leave me alone but instead he said “You’re not going anywhere without me.” He took my hand and dragged me outside, I was kicking and screaming all the way. Then he pulled out a gun and said that if I didn’t do what he said he’d kill me. He forced me into his car and then raped me.”
Jessica was crying so hard at this point that her eyes were blurry. She held Michele tighter as Michele continued the painful story.
“About three years after the rape I was diagnosed with HIV. After my diagnosis , I went into deep denial thinking that the doctors were wrong and that I was fine. I refused to do anything I was told to. I think that in a way I thought if I didn’t accept the truth, I could tell myself that it wasn’t happening and it was all some sort of bad dream. Because I didn’t take care of myself properly like the doctors instructed I now have full-blown AIDS. It’s been about two years since I was diagnosed with AIDS . The medication that the doctor has given me has stopped working and the disease is quickly spreading through my body. I came here today not just to say I’m sorry but also to ask for the forgiveness of you and Devon. What I did to you was inexcusable and I ’d do anything to take it back.”
Michele started crying again at this moment, harder than she had been before. Devon came home about half an hour after Michele had finished her story. There were tears in his eyes after Jessica finished telling him Michele’s heartbreaking story.
“If we can do anything to help you Michele, just let us know,” offered Devon. Michele thought for a second. “It’s getting pretty hard for me to live on my own and raise Jerry by myself. My mother thinks I am contagious and won’t come near me; the same thing with my friends. I need a place to stay but I don’t want to be a burden on you.
“You know of course you won’t be a burden on us, and of course you can stay here.”
Two weeks later Michele and Jerry moved in with the Morrises. Jerry looked so much like his mother and he and Malachi soon became the best of friends.
One September morning, about a year-and-a-half after Michele came to live with the Morrises, Jessica went up to give Michele her breakfast because by that time the AIDS had spread to the point where Michele could not even get out of bed. She insisted on not having any more treatment for the disease soon after she moved in. She was tired of the constant doctors’ visits and fighting with her body. When Jessica went up to see her Michele asked, “Would you and Devon adopt Jeremiah? He’d be well taken care of, I know that for certain.”
The couple had talked about it previously and agreed that yes, they would be glad to. Two weeks later, when Jessica was downstairs and Jeremiah had come home from school, Michele called him upstairs. When she saw her almost nine year-old son in the door she smiled. “Come here sweetie,” she said softly, “Mommy wants to talk to you.”
Jeremiah obediently got in the bed with his mother.
“Jerry” Michele began, “First and foremost I want you to know that I love you very much son and I don’t know what I would have done without you. You have been such a blessing to my life over the past nine years. Now I want you to promise me something.”
“Anything mommy. What is it? ”
“Learn to obey the voice of God whenever he speaks to you; the voice of God comes in many ways son.”
”What do you mean mommy?”
“One day your aunt Jessica said something to me that I should have listened to but I didn’t. The Bible says a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold and pictures of silver. What that means is that one word can change a person’s life in a moment.”
“That fast mommy?”
“Yeah, that fast,” Michele said with a little laugh.
“That word that aunt Jessica gave me was to change my life if only I had listened to it.”
“You’re a bit too young for that answer. I will tell you this however, make sure that you say good things about everyone, it doesn’t matter if you like them or not. You still say something nice about them as your words have the power son to change people’s lives in a good or bad way. Use them wisely, do you understand?”
“Good, now you can go and watch television.” Jeremiah left the room and headed downstairs. Michele smiled to herself. Her son was going to be a brilliant young man one day.
Two weeks later Michele developed a serious infection and one morning, when Jessica went up to give Michele her breakfast, she was gone. Jeremiah Lane, about a year later, was officially adopted by Jessica and Devon. Jessica said to her husband one night as she was lying in bed beside him: “Isn’t it amazing how God works? Not only do we have a worldwide ministry but we have two kids, one of whom is the son of the same person who tried to destroy our lives.”
“Yes it is,” Devon said with a smile, not only thinking of Jeremiah and everything he had gone through over his lifetime. “He truly is amazing,” Devon whispered into the darkness.
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