It was early in my second tour of graduate school. I’d applied and been accepted because as a dear friend suggested, when life gets complicated, don’t simplify. At the time it made a kind of sense since everything in the recent past had officially fallen apart and where else does one go when you can’t go home if not to school. Money had been in short supply and this particular month I had enough money to either pay for the low-budget hotel room or eat during the weekend-long class. I’d borrowed enough money to purchase the air shuttle ticket so I could attend class if nothing else.
At the time I was a member of a faith community that fasted every Wednesday and so I thought two days without food back to back wouldn’t be a stretch. A classmate had offered to pick me up at the airport and drop me to the hotel each month and the hotel was within walking distance of campus so I didn’t need cab fare. The only trouble was that this time, since I would be paying for the hotel in cash, a deposit was required and that meant I wouldn’t have enough money for the second night. As I considered the limited options, tears threatened. Seeing the sense of defeat spread from my face to my shoulders, the desk attendant suggested that perhaps I knew someone who could use their credit card for the security deposit. I responded that my parents were out of the country and that my sister with a credit card was traveling for an interview. But I would try.
I paid for the night, leaving the cash deposit, and took the elevator up to my room. As it was early afternoon, the curtains were drawn against the afternoon sun. Opening the door, a shaft of light divided the room. The effect was startling and it must’ve jogged something in my cell memory because I felt a kind of electricity run the length of my spine and I straightened the way, ’round the way’ girls do as they take of their hoops, spoiling for a fight.
Into the darkness I spoke with authority over my situation, Satan picked the wrong Saint. And to this day, I remember hearing what sounded like a wounded dog retreat along the balcony. Tears swallowed, I wheeled my carry-on to the closet, turned on the light over the vanity, and looked through my wallet once again. This time, a gift card for Marie Callendar’s revealed itself. It had been given to me as a housewarming gift the month prior when I’d sent out a few invitations that included BYOC – the C standing for chair. Jehovah Jireh had made a way for me to rent a condominium I couldn’t qualify for and in which I’d spent the first week sleeping on the floor. But that’s another testimony. As far as this one is concerned, let’s just say Marie Callendar’s was the one restaurant on property, and I graduated, on schedule, despite countless other attacks of the enemy.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death…”