Have you had a moment, or moments, in your life that have left a lasting impact on you? One that you will never forget, and yet you are so blessed to have lived through it, but still wished it had never happened?
Well I cannot begin to tell you how many of those “moments” that I have had during my childhood, but one is particularly the most memorable to me. I believe that I was in the 5th grade at this time, and my siblings were younger than I . My mom had taken her friend, Reggie, who lived in our apartment complex, to a Bible Study. Reggie ahd previously given her life to Christ, really enjoyed herself, and was on fire for the Lord at that point in her life. Well Reggie's husband, Sam, was really not happy about his wife going to any Bible Study, let alone with my mom, who already wasn't one of his favorite people to begin with. So, he had gone on a 3-day drinking binge since the night of the Bible Study. We all really liked Reggie, who was such a sweet, loving, kind woman, and my mom was working an all night shift at the truck stop, so she said that we could go to spend the night with Sam & Reggie while she went to work that night. We had been having fun with Reggie, making popcorn, playing card games, etc. She was just spoiling us kids to pieces! We stayed out of her husband's way, just being basically kept busy until it was bedtime.
That particular night though, as the evening went on, Sam became more and more mouthy, and belligerent. So, she put my brother and sister in the spare bedroom, and locked the door from the inside so that her husband couldn't get through the door from the outside without a key. Then I was to sleep on the spare sofa that was in the office, across from their master bedroom.
I'm not sure when the fighting actually started, but it was shortly after I had gone to bed. Reggie had shut the office door, but I could still hear everything that was going on. Before I knew what was happening, I heard the front door slam, and peaked out the window, just ever so slightly moving the curtain so he didn't see me watching him. Sam opened his trunk, pulled out a shotgun, and started loading it with shells. Then he took out a smaller gun and loaded that one as well. At about this time, I started feeling sick to my stomach. I wanted to go to the bathroom, but quite honestly, I was too scared to leave the room. Sam came banging through the halls, falling in to walls, and jiggling the doorknob of the spare bedroom. Of course, thank the Lord, Reggie had locked it. Well before I knew what was happening, Sam and Reggie were yelling at each other across the hall, and Sam told Reggie that “their mother is going to wish she'd never met him!” The door to the office where I was supposed to have been sleeping, flew open hitting the wall behind it putting a dent in the wall from the doorknob! I was so afraid that I literally could not move! Well Reggie managed to distract Sam, who slammed closed the door again, and who saw that she was trying to call someone, so he apparently yanked the phone out of her hand, and threw it against the wall, pulling the cord out of the wall. I kept thinking to myself that I had to run and get help, and there was a window just over the sofa where I had previously been peaking out of. I knew that if I could open the window, climb out, and run for help. However, as good as my intentions were, I laid there, totally and completely frozen with fear, and too terrified to even barely breathe, let alone move and climb out a window to go for help.
What seemed like an instant later, Sam threw the door open again to my room. This time he grabbed me up off the bed like a rag doll, and threw me up against the wall. Still, I was frozen with fear! At that point, Reggie shoved her way through the door, and pushed herself between Sam's gun and I, which he had shoved in to my stomach at that point. Reggie stood there while Sam kept yelling at her to “get out of my way!” (Well the words he used were not quite so nice, but I won't repeat those exact words.)
THAT specific night is the night I learned the 23rd Psalm. Reggie, shoved herself between the gun and myself, and started repeating the 23rd Psalm, over, and over, and over again. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadows of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou aren't with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me...” In between repeating it, she'd tell Sam, “If you're seriously going to kill her, then you'll have to go through me first!” Then again, she would start repeating the 23rd Psalm. Finally, after what seemed like hours, but realistically was probably about 20 – 30 minutes, Sam was so tired of hearing the 23rd Psalm, and yelled at her to “Shut Up!” He stormed out of the room, and stumbled through the hallway to the front door. Reggie stepped away from me and I almost fell to my knees. She ran into her bedroom, got the phone plugged back in to the wall, and called 911, and then called my mom at work. One of the two sheriffs came out right away, and my mom got there shortly thereafter. My mom got the three of us kids gathered up, and told Reggie to get some of her clothes and things that she needed because she was coming to our apartment with us. While we left out the back sliding doors, the sheriff was at Sam's truck, and was removing all of his bullets. Why he didn't take the guns away from him, and put Sam in jail, I have no clue. But, we got out of that house, and back to our apartment, safe and sound. The sheriff promised us that he would keep watch over our apartment for us for the rest of the night in case Sam came back to cause more trouble. The next afternoon, having convinced Reggie that God loved her more than she could ever imagine, and that He would never want her to be more physically or verbally abused than what she had already been through, and certainly not threatened with death, ever again! So, she and my mom went back over to her apartment to pick up a few more of her things. She had decided that it was past time for a divorce from him, and she needed to be away and free of him. When they walked in, that were both completely astonished to find that at some point, between the time we had all gotten away from Sam the night before, and them going back over there to get more of Reggie's things that afternoon, Sam had literally packed up and stripped clean that entire apartment! It was like no one had ever lived there, minus some miscellaneous stuff and trash that had been left behind. He took absolutely every single thing that Reggie had owned, clothes, jewelry and all. We later found out, that after the sheriff had taken away his bullets from him, that he had gone and rented a Uhaul that night. How he managed to move all that furniture and everything else in that apartment, by himself, we will never know. No one admitted to seeing anything suspicious. No one had heard anything unusual, and no one claimed to know that he was even gone. It was as though he'd vanished into thin air.
We, our family, never did find out what ever happened to him after that. Reggie stayed with us a few more days, and then got a bus ticket to head back home to where her family lived. I don't even remember any more where that was for certain, but I believe it was Georgia. Many months later she called my mom, told her that they had indeed gotten a divorce, and that she now felt at peace with her life, and with the Lord. God had protected us all that night. I seriously believe that God had seen the situation, and had put His angels all around us to keep us safe, and alive. And to this very day, I can remember those very special words of Psalm 23 as if it was only yesterday... “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...”