Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Making Covenants

I sat down and put my arm around her, then waited for her as she regained her composure. Once she stopped crying, I held her hand until she was ready to speak. The words tumbled out in a wild mixture of anger, hatred, and bitterness.

She related the horrific tale of being rejected by the very people who should have been supporting and strengthening her. My heart ached. Gingerly, I asked the forbidden question, “Are you thinking about suicide.”

All was quiet as she looked at the floor. I waited, knowing that she needed to have courage to answer truthfully. This was the first time we had met. She might not trust me enough to answer. She slowly raised her head and nodded in the affirmative.

I embraced her with tears rolling down my cheeks. Now the work could begin. Taking both of her hands in mine, I looked her in the eyes and told her of the covenant I had made with God years before. “Promise me,” I implored, “No matter what happens, that you will not take your own life.”

I waited as she considered carefully what I was saying. With head still bowed, she glanced up for just a second, and then quietly nodded. I gave her my phone number and told her to call if she wanted to talk.

At that moment, the youth leaders found us and took over for me, assuring her that her needs would be met, and that all would be well. I walked away, knowing that God had put me in the right place at the right time once again, and a life was spared. I uttered a prayer of gratitude.

Covenants are promises we make with God or another person. They commit us to certain actions in exchange for blessings or privileges. When we make a covenant, we make a conscious choice that prevents us from having to make a decision the next time the situation comes around again.

Covenants keep us safe. They put boundaries around our emotional health, making it strong enough to protect us when the storms of opposition threaten to tear us down and wash us away. Covenants give us a foundation on which to stand that is solid and unmovable.

The covenant I made with God has stayed with me all of my life. Every time I even think that maybe the world would be better off without me, I remember my promise, and I put the knives away.

©2014 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved.