“For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth.”
2 Corinthians 13:8 NLT
Warm sunshine filtered through the trees, yet a sense of dread filled Vanessa Gallagher as she trudged home from work.
She’d taken a stand against her abusive father but had yet to reap the consequences.
Digging the toe of one worn sneaker into sandy gravel at the edge of the winding dirt road, she spotted a single purple flower struggling among weeds in the ditch.
An unbidden smile lifted her spirits.
This delicate violet fought to show its beauty among choking thistles and thorns.
She bent down. Reaching beneath the violet’s dainty leaves, she dug her fingers into the pebbled dirt, grinding and scraping until she exposed the roots. Gently pulling, she removed the root ball and cradled the flower in her palm.
The tiny plant already began to wither.
“Sorry I had to uproot you," Vanessa whispered, "but sometimes that’s necessary to flourish.”
She stood tall, determined to give this flower a new life.
And herself, too.
She picked up her stride with confident resolve.
No longer would she cower to her father’s demands and incessant abuse.
Only her Savior, Jesus Christ, ruled her life.
Only her Savior loved her unconditionally and knew the truth of her destiny.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 NIV
Vanessa had finally seen God's truth.
Her destiny wasn’t in that shack up the road, nor was it bowing to Clyde Gallagher’s beck and call.
Tonight she was packing.
Her sweet boss, elderly Miss Julia, had offered Vanessa an apartment above the tea room where she worked. This was her chance – God’s provision.
Her steps quickened with anticipation.
With God on her side, Clyde Gallagher couldn’t stop her.
While she couldn’t possibly know the whole truth of her journey, a few things she did know.
Truth was not perception, nor thoughts or feelings, or even beliefs.
Her father told her she was a skinny, dirty, country girl – unwanted and unworthy.
He’d convinced her that she had no future other than working in his bait shop, wallowing in poverty for the rest of her miserable life.
And she’d believed him.
She’d worn the blinders of those beliefs for her entire sad childhood.
Yet something – or some One – inside her said it wasn’t true.
She touched the tiny petals of the violet in her palm. Beauty from ashes.
When she’d seen the Help Wanted sign at the beautiful tea room in town, hope kindled in her heart.
Despite the risk of rejection, she’d faced her fear and walked in.
To her great surprise, Miss Julia, God bless her, had taken mercy on a dirty country girl.
Thanks to her – and handsome Chad James – for sharing the gospel that finally gave Vanessa the courage to rip off the blinders of her beliefs.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 NIV
Vanessa crested a knoll where the ramshackle cabin and bait shop came into view.
Her father’s rusted car was mercifully absent.
She broke into a run. She was free!
Free to pack her belongings, free to move to town, and free to begin a new life in Christ.
Beliefs did not define her.
Thoughts, feelings, and perception – hers or her father’s – did not define her.
The TRUTH of God’s love and grace defined her.
In a world where people defined “truth” as their personal experience, and “reality” was based on scripted television shows, actual facts remained buried beneath an agenda-driven narrative.
Her father’s agenda was to scare her into servitude.
The world’s agenda was to corrupt and control Christians.
Satan’s agenda was to stop and silence God’s truth.
Vanessa had learned that not only her beliefs, but her perception was skewed.
So much of God’s wonderful world was beyond the limited lens of her view, knowledge, and experience.
Only God Himself saw, knew, and understood all.
Others saw and knew her situation, yet no one else really understood. But God did.
And she couldn’t quite understand anyone else’s perspective either.
What had happened to her father that made him so mean? Why had he let evil overtake him?
She’d leave judgment to God.
Because God’s Word told her not to judge and these things she knew –
Obeying God leads to life, love, and liberty.
Disobeying God delivers death, devastation, and destruction.
Seeking the truth was the only way to find it.
Lies, shame, and hiding the truth only magnified pain and multiplied heartbreak.
Those days were over.
Out of breath, she reached the house.
No longer would she make excuses or tell lies to hide the pain of her past.
She wouldn’t share her dirty laundry with the world, but she wouldn’t lie about it either.
Her father was a deeply wounded soul who wounded those close to him. That’s really all she needed to say.
Heading straight for the back yard, she found a withered herb in an old clay flower pot.
She dumped the dead plant onto the compost pile.
With a pitchfork, she uncovered fertile soil and scooped some into the empty pot.
Carefully, she nestled the wilting violet’s roots into the soil.
After a quick spritz with the garden hose, the flower brightened.
A bright reminder that God saw her, God loved her, and seeking God’s truth was worth the journey.
Because the TRUTH had set her free!
“...Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” John 8:32 NIV