Annaleise curled up in a fetal position on her hospital bed.  The flourescent light from the overhead light threw shadows everywhere.  Trembling.  Still trembling.  A few hours after lunch, and four after medicine, another one.  They had increased her dose, and it had still happened.  The screaming obscenities, the dark waves washing over here.  It was a wonder she could talk to the nurses, with all that noise, and all the circles rushing at her.

About a half hour before, it had receded a quickly as it had overtaken her earlier.  Could’t sleep.  Couldn’t eat.  Too many people’s eyes.

The mysterious retreat was welcome, but the coldness in her stomach hadn’t abated.

God hates me, I am broken.

An open Bible in front of her.  She had selected a random page.  Somewhere in Peter.  She hadn’t read anything yet.  Worried the pages would cause it again.

God, please help, please help, please…

She closed her eyes.  Tired.  A random thought in her head,

I should look at what Sam dropped off.

Her husband had tried to visit earlier, but a conversation had been impossible.  Opening her eyes, she saw the gift bag on the night stand next to her.  She reached for it, sitting up and pretzel crossing her legs.  She removed the tissue paper on top, and pulled the first item out.  Pink, fleece pajamas.  The second item was a book.  She pulled it out and examined the cover. Victory Over the Darkness.   It was actually one she had read before, years back, but had not remembered much about.  She set it on the bed, and went into the bathroom to change into her pajamas.  Emerging from the bathroom, she padded to the bed, the still opened Bible on the bed, the book near it.

She opened the book to the first page.  The first sentence was “Who are you?”

A strange, subtle stirring moved in her heart.  Slowly at first, she read down the first page. The reading picked up speed as she read further and further through.  She was startled when the first chapter became chapter two.  Digesting the words came slower than reading them.

I am not….

Her eyes fell on the Bible she had left there, and the lines on the page seemed to be in bold, and she felt them cut through to her heart,

“But you are a chosen people, a holy priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV version)

I am…God’s.  He. Chose. Me.

It. Is. Grace.

Still, I am broken, my mind is broken…

A new, clear thought rose, almost painful in it’s suddeness.

I am not…

my sickness.

I have sickness….

it is not who I am.

She wasn’t sure how long she would feel it, but a soft peace, a balm over her raw mind and heart, and a lifting of tenacious darkness inside.

Everything would not be perfect, but she was Jesus’.

For now that was enough.

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