Pockets Of Grace

This is one of God’s stories. A story of going from victim to victor. A story about a woman named Tina. Laced within the stanzas to follow are pockets of His grace, pockets of His glory. We’ll see how He is the shelter in which we find our refuge. He is the pocket desiring to hold the world.

Pocket: (noun) a compartment capable of holding, and/or carrying.

Pockets cherish what is within them by protecting the items from the elements around them. They cover. They are a place of refuge. They take the first hits. They remind us there are safe places woven into our lives. They remind us of shelter of being covered, being protected.

This is one of God’s stories. A story of going from victim to victor. A story about a woman named Tina. Laced within the stanzas to follow are pockets of His grace, pockets of His glory. We’ll see how He is the shelter in which we find our refuge. He is the pocket desiring to hold the world.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

This I declare about the Lord:He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;

   he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap

   and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers.

  He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection

Psalm 91: 1-4

apexanthologiesAt the age of 3 Tina was a child of divorce. From a young age, Tina was often ill. Mental illness threatened triumph over those close to her. Abuse, physical aggression, and emotional turmoil, chased about all around her. Rape was a reality. Homelessness occurred. Suicide attempts were made. Cancer carved its way in. Darkness tried to win. However, tried is the key word in this Victor’s story. For we know, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”   – John 1:5

Sitting down with Tina, sipping Starbucks coffee, Jesus met us. A beautiful daughter of God, humble in heart and bold in sharing. Within minutes of meeting, we dove into her story. The Gospel was soon to be presented. A pocket full of Jesus.

Tina shared about her parents divorced and the instability, fear, and pain she felt as a small child, well into her early life. But Jesus, Jesus wrapped his hands around Tina’s heart and mind. He protected Tina from becoming hardened by her experience. Tina, she shared about how The Lord shielded her mind and protected her. A pocket of protection. A pocket of grace.

She shared about how she met Jesus at the age of 9. After fighting with a family member Tina retreated to the kitchen and shared with God how she felt she couldn’t do this on her own and He met her. She received Christ upon surrender in her kitchen. A pocket of love. A pocket of shelter. A pocket of hope.

When life was good, it was really good; but when life was bad, it was really bad”, Tina recalled. It was hard when Tina couldn’t share what she was feeling with others. She remained silent until divine intervention came in the form of a friend and confidant. At that same time, a family member accepted The Lord and they began attending church together. Her situation didn’t change, but hope began to soar! A pocket of listening. A pocket of supernatural.

In a few summers to follow, Tina received a chance to attend bible camp. Pioneer Bible Camp was where she met a dear friend, Aletha. Tina shared how Aletha showed her a sweet piece of what the love of Christ looked like on display. Tina soon returned as a worker at the camp and for the first time, shared with Aletha what had happened throughout her life. Aletha became a dear friend, a sisterapexanthologies. A pocket of family. A pocket of home.

Change was on the horizon. Aletha, now aware of Tina’s hardships, continued to show the love of Christ by moving in with her. Tina shared how Aletha was a protector of sorts in her life. With her 18th birthday on the horizon, the two sisters remained hopeful of the future. A pocket of friendship. A pocket of community. However, when Aletha and Tina moved out of Tina’s lifelong home, they faced challenges through seasons of hurt and homelessness. Upon their exhaustion, another pocket of hope arose. A sister in Christ, recognized the sisters disheveled state and immediately welcomed them into her family’s home. Tina went to therapy and graduated from high school. A pocket of rest. A pocket of safety.

In the days to come, much needed rest was had and dreams for the future continued. After a lifetime in Utah, Tina and Aletha packed up and moved out to Ohio, where Tina began to pursue her dreams in theatre. Upon settling in Ohio, Tina shared how it instantly became a place of refuge, a place of solace, and their “safe place”.
A pocket of covering, a pocket for soaring.

More pockets of grace were soon to be seen. A dear advisor would encourage Tina to pursue social work, Aletha would begin to get great experience in her field of firefighting/first responding, and Tina would meet her now, fiancé. She would continue in therapy for healing, and even battle breast cancer. Tina overcame. A pocket of victory.

apexanthologiesCurrently Tina is a nanny for a family, as well as a CASA advocate for children in the foster care system. She is a member of a House Church within Apex and continues to share life with Aletha. Tina is soon to be married and she shares of how she now has her own personal police officer, as her fiancé works in criminal justice.  Tina beautifully and humbly summed up the entire reason we tell people’s stories with Anthologies, “even if I wanted to take any kind of glory in any part of my story, it is not possible because of how obvious God is.”

I don’t know about you, but these pockets, they are not just random pockets. They are Jesus. They are his pursuit after Tina, after you and I. A pursuit after her family. They are intentional and creative, purposed and laced with love. They remind us that He is our shelter, better than any “pocket” we think can help us to heal. And with that, I would have to say yes.  God is obviously laced into all of our stories, His pockets of Himself are more than we can count. He takes us from victim to victor because of His great sacrifice and the love of Christ. Because of Jesus, we get to go out and share of His deep love. We will get to be many people’s “Aletha’s.”

Author- Victoria Baker

Photographer- Sarah Maigur

A Reflection- Ask the Lord to open our eyes to the pockets of You that you have so clearly positioned in our lives. Open our eyes to see, Your wings, which desire to cover and embrace us. Your heart, which is seeking after us.

To submit a story to be told through Anthologies, click here. To apply to join our team of volunteer writers, photographers, and videographers, click here. Questions for the Editor-in-Chief? E-mail editors@apexcommunity.org