My best friend and sister, Molly, disappeared about 3 weeks ago… she became involved with a charismatic cult and abruptly cut off ties with friends, social networks and regular church events. I am afraid for Molly’s safety because the leaders all have criminal records (including charges for domestic violence and interference of a 911 call when the victim called for help). The man Molly is involved with allegedly beat his former girlfriend and forced her to sign over her life savings, he is now proclaiming he is a “prophet” and a “man whom god ordained”.
The last day with Molly, I woke up as always—eager to text her with my latest thoughts on last night’s conversation, to ask her about her day and plan to spend time together. I remember thinking that Molly and I are so close, it was like we were twins…that I could not imagine my life without her. That memory is so strong now, at any time I could reach out and Molly would be there. Now I am keeping company with shadowy memories.
Molly and I talked or text at least 4-6 times a day, we often fell asleep in conversation together. It was not an exaggeration to say we did everything together, a friend said that we are a “package deal”. Molly and I would cook meals, then pack them up and share them with each other. It was really funny because the meals we chose were so opposite. Molly was health conscious and would make gourmet meals with organic ingredients; whatever your ailment was, she would find the right food to cure it. I cooked for comfort—didn’t think twice about what I threw in the pot. Somehow we balanced each other out. We both agreed that food tasted best when we were together. We went grocery shopping for each other too. — I don’t even know how to shop anymore, I automatically pick out foods I know Molly would like then realize she is gone, begin to cry. Several times, I have run out of the grocery store with mascara running down my face. Or I avoid shopping altogether. Molly & I helped each other out when money was short, and clipped coupons or community resources to make our money stretch. And we agreed that it was our duty, as a friend and a sister, to let the other know if the man she was dating was abusive or was no good.
“You have to promise me”, Molly confided,” that if I date a loser you will stop me. Yell at me. Drag me away. Do whatever it takes because I won’t see how bad he is until it is too late.”
“Me too”, I agreed,” Even if I get mad at you, and say I hate you, don’t listen to me because I will love you later for trying to save me.”
Molly and I had both been through a painful divorce, we wanted so much better for our life…real love, a family, happiness. Molly often dreamed of the “perfect guy” for me and she stubbornly set out to find him in real life. In the meanwhile, we set each other up with “Mr. Wonderful”—a cardboard cut out of a man. Molly’s Mr. Wonderful wore a retro 1940’s plaid suit and had magnetic sayings that included “You are always right” and “I love the shoes!” He must have been really wonderful because “Mr. Wonderful” went missing, and Molly suspected her cat ate him. My “Mr. Wonderful” was a male underwear model; he didn’t talk because his many tattoos said enough. I had “Mr. Wonderful” carefully tucked into my tote bag but my son was looking for something, and to his great embarrassment found the cardboard cut out. My son dangled “Mr. Wonderful” by the tips of his fingers and with a grimace yelled, “MOM! What is this?!?!” He was too red-faced to say much else. Molly and I agreed “Mr. Wonderful” had to be good with kids, or it was a deal breaker.
How Molly would up enchanted by this short, fat cult leader with a few strands of greasy strands tugged over his pock marked baldhead is beyond me… Molly stands at least 3 feet taller yet acted meek, even submissive to this stranger. I tried to warn her. I yelled. I acted tough. I called the police. I called everyone begging for help. For the first time in our friendship, Molly was beyond reach…my solace is in knowing I kept my promise, I tried to protect Molly, to tell her this man is no good.
A verse for comfort, we live in an imperfect world and though human promises may fail. God’s promises will not—they are everlasting:
Isaiah 29:22-24,”Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, Nor shall his face now grow pale. But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel.
Those who have erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine.’”
The above verse talks about the “children” and “the work of My hands”, we can apply this promise to our life. God promises to redeem us from anything keeping us in bondage, which may be your past, your mistakes, your hurt or embarrassment. In the midst of their pain, God spoke words of hope to the house of Jacob—He told them that they will not live in shame or fear, and that He is creating a new life for them…. and He will do the same for you!
Those who have erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine.
“The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart..” — Saint Patrick