I remember the very first morning I noticed You walking with me. I crept out of the slumbering house in the pre-dawn, the whole world a royal purple. My bare feet flicked the dew off the grass and then squished through the muddy spot that was a perennial feature on the lawn. I could see the woodshed in the darkness, glimmering white in the last of the moonlight.
I felt very alone yet very safe, 8 years old, up and about before the grown-ups. I walked down the path from the shed to the woodpile, mincing through the bracken and thorns of the forest. Our giant red dog came snuffling behind me, searching for a woodchuck or squirrel to pester. Past the woodpile, I sat down with a sigh, back to the linear stack of split lumber. I was safe and secret in the silence. No one knew where I was.
I didn't cry. I rarely did. Safe at last, I grinned to myself. I had outsmarted you this morning and I would outsmart you again tomorrow. Warmth enveloped me and I closed my eyes with a smile still on my lips.
I thought no one saw my bleeding heart. My mother, though, years later...she saw and wondered and asked. I had been shamed into lies for so long that I didn't tell her the truth. I will never forget the ache of my heart, thunderous and building, when I lied to my mama. Could she help me, I wondered? Lips stayed shut tight as if sealed by a king's signet. Not to be opened until the date prescribed.
In every moment of searing pain, I could escape to a beautiful place in my mind's eye. This memory of my morning walk through Your kingdom saved me a hundred times as my body went through hell. I always felt you, close as close could be, whispering in my ear and intimating a better time. Redemption for the blood-stained sinners. Rescue for the bloody and broken hearted. Wrath at injustice and secrets in the night.