[Part 4, Chapter 23]
Beth was special in our lives. She’d come to know Jesus out of a drug lifestyle, and a social environment where she was third generation abused, unemployed, and on welfare. We’d had a very close relationship. She is the only one who can pat me on the head and call me Patchy, and one of the few Julie won’t ignore if she calls her Juju.
We’d lost touch because Beth (not her real name) had gone into hiding. For self-protection. It’s complicated.
Now, we were staying for one whole week just fifteen minutes from our last-known location for her. Julie was doing a prayer ministry course, but I was footloose and fancy free.
I texted her.
Typically, it bounced.
I tried a private message through social media, expecting the same. Within seconds, Bing.
“Patchy! Is that really you?”
“Yes, where are you?”
“I’m at That-Town. Where are you?”
“We’re staying in This-Town. For a week!”
“Oh wow! That’s only ten minutes away. Can we catch up?”
“Sure. I’d love to.”
After a while we realised it would be easier if we actually talked. She still had my number, so she rang, and oh my goodness, it was neat to hear her voice.
“Patchy, you know it’s my birthday today?”
“Beth, I’m so sorry, I’d forgotten.”
“It’s my 40th!”
“Wow! Congratulations. How amazingly good of God to reconnect us on your birthday. Can we catch up today? Can I buy you lunch?”
“Yes. In fact, I’m coming to This-Town at 11 am today for therapy. We could meet straight after that.”
“Brilliant. How about out front of the Town Hall?”
“Patchy, I’ve had this dream—more of a vision really, or perhaps a longing, but it’s been there for some time. In this dream, I’m coming out of counselling where my Therapist and I have been working through all the abuse that’s happened to me, and either you or Julie are there, waiting for me out front of the building, meeting me with the hugest hug.”
“Beth, that’s so beautiful. I can’t wait to see you and deliver on this longing Father has placed in you.”
“Oh, by the way, Peter,” she’d gone all formal on me now, “there’s one thing you should know…”
There it was. Instantaneous. One nano-second I didn’t know, the next second, Holy Spirit planted it right there in my mind. So, I intervened.
“It’s okay, Beth. I know you’re gay.”
“What???” Who told you? How do you know?”
“I didn’t. Holy Spirit just prompted me with it right now.”
And this is the whole reason I’m sharing this encounter with you, readers.
“And you still want to meet with me?”
“Dear, beautiful Beth. There is nothing in the whole world I would rather do today than meet with you on your 40th birthday.”
Jump forward to twelve noon.
Just like in her dream, one of us is waiting out front.
Just like in her dream, out comes Beth, from therapy.
Just like in her dream, she falls into my arms for a hug.
Just like in her dreams, she senses the reality of Father’s favour through the presence of one of his kids.
Just like in her deepest longing, she is accepted as his daughter, without exception, without judgement, without a lecture.
Just like Beth, you have access to all the acceptance that comes from Father’s heart, because Jesus made the way.
Experience his embrace.