“Star are you sure you are ready for this?”
“No Hope, but ready or not I am going to do this.”
“Do you want me with you, or to sit in the audience?”
“Stay with me please.”
“I will Star.”
“Thank you I couldn’t do this without you.”
“Star you could, don’t sale yourself short, but I am going to be with you for this don’t worry.”
“Thank you Hope.”
“Star your my sister, what good would I were not there for you.”
“Thank you for that Hope.”
“You’re welcome, but if we keep stalling people are going to start wondering.”
“Hope I think it’s okay for now, the doors haven’t even opened yet.”
“I guess you’re right there Star.” Hope said laughing at herself.
I was glad for the little time I had to compose myself. People would soon be filling in and I would have to be ready to share my story. I knew it was only by the grace of God I was even able to talk about this, but the reason I was talking about it was in the hopes of helping others. I felt that was what the Lord had called me to do so that was exactly what I was going to do.
I looked at the beautiful bookstore, and saw how blessed Mom and Dad were. The answers to their prayers were in this place. There was denying that God was work in our lives, and I knew we were all more than grateful for what the Lord had done in our lives. We were indeed blessed, and I was never going to lose sight of that fact.
As people made their way in, to hear what I had to say, I warned that the story, my story was not necessarily something people would want their children to hear. At least not young children, because I had to tell it honestly.
“I was a little girl when I came to the U.S, when I became a Baxter, a little girl who was scared, scarred and abused. I carried so much weight on me, and I was so afraid of everything. I could not trust, I did not know how to trust, because of the things I had endured as a little girl, at the hands of my birth Father. He did horrible things to me, things that I probably should not have survived, but I know that it was God’s grace and only God’s grace that allowed me to survive this.”
I paused for a minute trying to get my thoughts in order, trying to think best how to continue my story. People were listening, and some seemed genuinely touched, but I had just begun my testimony, just begun to show how God had worked in my life.
“I was a broken abused soul, with a broken abused body. I had not lost my leg yet, that didn’t come until later, and that happened because I was too afraid to say what had happened to me, too afraid to tell someone I was not feeling well, but my sister Hope she finally told my parents, and I was rushed to the hospital. Hours later I woke up in the hospital to find they had to amputate my leg. I was angry at first, felt that somehow it made me less of a person, but I think more of that anger was pint up from what I had been through. The truth is losing my leg, ultimately saved my soul, but forgive me I am getting ahead of myself.”
Hope put up pictures from before the amputation and after. Just looking at them I realized how empty, how dead my eyes looked. Even when I smiled, or tried to smile my eyes looked dead. But after I gave my life to the Lord, that light, that life began coming back and I was grateful for that.
“I was born in a small village in Afghanistan, my Father abused me in horrible ways, from the time I was little more than a toddler he would brutally rape me, when I was nine I became pregnant, and gave birth nine months later, to a little girl. My Fathers child, but I was never given a chance to even know that little girl, for years I feared my Father had killed her, but recently I found out she was alive and it set my heart at ease some.”
I watched as people reacted to my story. Some gasping others, sitting their silent, almost as if they were trying to figure out if this were a true story, or some piece of fiction. Nothing about my life was made up, I had lived through the abuse, but the point was I had lived, by the Grace of God I had lived and I knew that was a blessing. I knew that I was here telling my story for a reason.
“I do not want anyone’s pity, so please don’t feel that this is what this is about, but I do feel the need to share my story, because I feel that is what God is having me to do. My faith in the Lord has carried me far over the past few years. When I first came to America, after my parents were killed in Afghanistan, which I just recently learned was all part of a ruse, because they are not dead, and this man he still tries to make threats, and scare me, but since I have given my heart to Jesus my life has been so much better. I have been able to let go of things that hurt me in my past, I realized I was given a second chance, when I was reborn, and I am so grateful for that.”
I motioned Hope up to where I was, so she could help tell this, because it was her story too, She had not lived through the abuse I had lived through as a child and I thanked the Lord every day for that, but no matter how angry or hateful I got, she stuck by my side, and did what she could to help me. She truly was a blessing, as were my Mom and Dad, who I later led up to the stage so I could give them my thanks to. I was surprised that when at the end of the speech I was given a standing ovation but I did not deserve it the good Lord did.
“Star I think someone has been following us.” Hope said, as we made our way from the bookstore to our hotel room. I was leaning heavily on my crutches, not because I felt unsteady, but because I was nervous. Hope was right, we were being followed, and in my heart of hearts I knew who was following us.
Lord keep us safe, he will do anything in his power to hurt us Lord, but you are in control, blind his eyes so he can’t see where we are going. Whatever it takes Lord, please do it.
“Is it him?” Hope asked.
“Yes.” I said, wanting to assure her, it wasn’t, and that we were completely safe, but I could not lie to Hope. She had to be on guard just as I was. He was after her too, though she had done nothing to him, in his mind she was an enemy simply because she cared about me.
“Where are the agents?” Hope asked. As we moved as quickly as we could.
“I don’t know.” I said. “I hope they aren’t far from us.”
Seconds later, I heard shots fired. He was getting desperate, because he usually was more careful than this. For years he had hid his evil from most of the world.
It took me a moment to realize Hope had been hit.
I will hurt those you care about first, and make you watch them suffer.
I will kill them one by one and make them watch.
I grabbed my cell phone and began dialing automatically.
The bullet had hit Hope’s back, and instantly she had collapsed. I could only pray he hadn’t hit her spinal cord. I was so afraid, that I lost track of everything around me. I could only pray that he was away, that he was not going to try and kill us again.
Lord let Hope be okay. I cannot lose my sister I need her as much as she needs me if not more. Hope does not deserve this Lord, she does not deserve to be chased by the demons from my past.
I could not help but wonder how a day that had started out so well, have ended up like this. I had felt good about sharing my story, then this. My sister was shot, I should have taken that bullet, but he had made sure to hurt me where he knew it would get me the worst.
I will make you watch your family suffer. I will hurt you by hurting them first.
“Hope please stay with us.” I managed. Help would be here soon, but I could only pray that Hope would be able to hang on that long. That she would stay awake. I was afraid of what might happen if she drifted off.”
My sister was fighting hard to stay with us. I was afraid of losing her, and afraid of it all being my fault. I knew that was not the way the Lord wanted me to fill. I could not believe that this was happening, that my sister was laying on the sidewalk in a pool of her own blood. People were helping, but we all knew not to move her, we could hurt her worse.
I called our parents as soon as I could, frantically trying to explain what happened, but I was such a mess I wasn’t sure I was making sense to myself.
Lord I know you are here with us, but I am frightened. I don’t know what to do. I want to continue leaning on you Lord, but my faith is being severely tested. Still I know I have to be strong for Hope just as she has been strong for me.
Finally after what seemed like a much longer time than it actually was, the paramedics arrived. I watched and prayed knowing they were doing their best to stabilize my Sister. I just felt lost and confused, not to mention helpless.
“I am sorry Hope, this was not supposed to happen, you were not supposed to get hurt.”
“Star it’s not your fault.” My sister said reaching for my hand, even that little task took an effort from her, but I had to be positive, at least she was moving her arms.
Lord whatever happens give Hope the strength she is going to need, give her the courage, and give us all the courage we are going to need to get us through this. This weekend was supposed to be different, we were supposed to get away from all of this, but it seems we have been lured back in Lord. When is this man going to stop? When are we going to be safe again? Lord God let them catch this man and soon. He is determined to make me watch my family suffer, before he ultimately tries to murder me. I cannot stand seeing my family hurting Lord and he knows this.
I was finally able to breathe when I saw my sister safely loaded into the paramedics, I rode with her. Mom and Dad following behind in the rental car. I wanted to make sure my sister was going to be okay. I wanted her to know that I was going to be with her through this.
I felt that in a way the reason she was in the ambulance on her way to the hospital. If anything happened to her I was going to blame myself, no matter that I wasn’t actually the one who pulled the trigger.
My Child let the burden go, this is not your fault. Even in this I am here.
End of Section Two