Ana wanted to be at home writing in her home office. She did not want to have to keep running, keep hiding. She appreciated that her parents were there for her, and she cherished the time she could spend with them, but she needed to get home. Ana wrote better in her office, surrounded by the things she loved. She was doing what she could though, and she understood it was not safe to go back yet. She feared it would never be safe, but things had to get better. Ana had to believe that, she had to believe someday the monster was going to grow weary of his games, grow weary of chasing them.
Journey and Justin did make things a little brighter for Ana. While their Mom was at work she would bring them for me to watch, because she knew how much I enjoyed spending time with my niece and nephew. I was blessed to have such a close family, because I knew so many did not. I got to see my niece and nephew often, we all lived no more than a thirty minute drive from one another.
“Aunt Ana, guess what, Mommy says Justin and I are going to go Kindergarten pretty soon. We are going to go to big kids school.” Journey said, smiling showing off her dimples.
“I know Journey I think you and Justin will love Kindergarten.”
“Mommy says we will make lots of friends.”
“Your Mommy is right Journey. You and brother will love Kindergarten.”
“Will you come with Mommy to take us to our first day.”
“You bet, I wouldn’t miss it.”
Lord protect Journey and Justice from the hands of our Grandfather. Keep them safe, let this madness end, and end soon. It seems like we have been chasing monsters our whole lives, and we are all growing weary of it. It is making us feel old before our time.
Ana watched as her Niece and Nephew set up a game on the floor, Candy Land, Ana sat next to them watching. They were used to entertaining themselves like this, because they had each other. They were twins, and that in a way was a blessing, because they always had a playmate, even if at times, they were practically at one another’s throats. Ana had remembered that at times she, Vania, Ahab and Jasmine had fought like this.
After she was sure her niece and nephew were occupied. Ana opened her Bible and began reading her devotions from Romans 8:
Life Through the Spirit
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Auntie Ana, are you okay?” Justin asked Ana, trying to wake his aunt up. Ana had not realized she had dozed off after spending time with the Lord. She had been sleeping so fitfully lately, and only in snatches here and there so it really was no wonder.
“I’m fine Justin. I am sorry if I scared you.”
“It’s okay, are you sleepy? Do you need a nap?”
“No I will be okay.”
“Can you take us outside in the backyard?”
Ana agreed knowing that she needed the fresh air, as much as the kids did, if not more. She took her cell phone with her, and sat on the patio, while she watched the kids play in the grass. Vania had not called yet today, so work was most likely keeping her busy. In a way the lack of phone calls could be a good thing anyway, it could mean that nothing was going wrong, that everything was okay. At least she had not called to say Ana’s house had been broken into again. She was trying hard to focus on the good things in her life, and not focus on the bad things in her life. She knew she could not spend all the time focusing on what her Grandfather was trying to do to her, if she did that she would be letting him win.
Thank you Lord for giving us moments of peace in this madness. I know that you have allowed us to get through this, that you are going to keep us safe. Despite everything we have been through Lord, I know you have never left our side. I am grateful Lord for all you have given me, and I know you continue to bless me.
Ana watched her niece and nephew play, wishing she could remember a time when her and Vania, Ahab and Jasmine had been able to play so freely. They had to spend much of their childhood running, even missing a year of school, because of the monster. They had been homeschooled, and Marishka was a good teacher, so they did not fall behind, but they missed being with their friends, doing things that normally kids were doing. Ana knew it was not her Mother’s fault though, she was just trying to keep her family safe, and Ana understood that. She was glad her Mom had done what she had, because if she had not, they may not be alive today. It was hard to think about, but it was the truth, and Ana knew that.
“They are growing up fast aren’t they?” Ana said, she had not heard her Mother, wheel herself out to the Patio, but she was glad for her Mother’s company.
“Yeah, it’s hard to believe that they are going to be starting Kindergarten in the fall isn’t it?” Ana said. It wasn’t a question, but a statement.
“Yes it is. You guys have all grown up so fast, I feel bad because you had to spend so much of your childhood running from things, dealing with things no child should have to deal with.”
“Mom none of that is your fault. You were not the one who did the horrible things you bear your scars from what he had done to you Mom. You Aunt Sophia, Aunt Anna and Aunt Sasha, I cannot even begin to imagine going through some of the things you did.”
“Ana I would not want you to have to even face something like that.”
“I know Mom, and thank you for doing everything you could to protect us.”