After reluctantly loading her things in the trunk of her car, a sobbing Cami went to the only place that she still felt welcome – the boarding house.
Mama Ingram welcomed her back with open arms. And not just because Cami had a five-year agreement with the house owners, either. The older woman was genuinely concerned for her.
After escorting Cami up to her former room, Mama Ingram listened as she cried and poured out her heart to her. She heard how bad Cami messed up with Millsap tonight. About how it was likely that she would never get him back now because she’d crossed the wrong boundaries again.
Mama Ingram didn’t judge Cami one bit concerning the things she’d done tonight. She just held her when needed and continued to listen.
When it was time for Mama Ingram to talk, she rehearsed a few things from her past. Things like how she lost her husband in a bad car accident, two sons to street violence, and eventually her home when she couldn’t pay the taxes on it. How all of that occurred within a five-year period.
“Unlike you, I received no help from the relatives I did have and little to no help from the government,” Mama Ingram went on to recap from her place beside Cami on the edge of the bed. “I eventually ended up living on the streets for two long years. I felt abandoned and tossed away by mankind and by God.” Then she smiled. “Until I met Greg and Aisha,” she added, calling Bonz by his given name like Aisha and Royal did.
Cami smiled, too. She continued to listen silently and patiently to her mentor, despite the fact that she’d already heard most of these things before. Surely there had to be a lesson to be learned somewhere in this recap. As stupid as she behaved tonight, Cami needed all the wisdom she could find now.
“Anyway, right before I met the Forsyths, I gave God an ultimatum,” Mama Ingram continued, now telling Cami something she didn’t know. “I told Him that He either needed to take me on home with Him or else show me why I was still on this earth. That’s when God sent Greg and Aisha. Through them, He helped me get back up on my feet.” She tenderly cupped Cami’s face in her hands and added, “God will send more people to help you, as well. He hasn’t forsaken you, Cami. Not by far.”
“I don’t know about that, Mama Ingram.” Cami’s eyes welled up with tears again. “I don’t think I’m gonna get anymore of God’s favor. I’m surprised He gave me what I’ve had recently, considering the fact that He stopped loving me a long time ago.” She choked on a sob, feeling so hopeless right now.
Mama Ingram frowned. “What do you mean God stopped loving you? I can’t imagine God stopping His love for anybody.”
Through more tears, Cami shared what happened with her mother’s boyfriend at the age of thirteen. About how she felt as if God couldn’t love her in order to let something so bad happen to her.
“The ropes. The mouth gag. How could God allow such a thing to happen to somebody He loved?” Cami trembled, sobbing openly now.
Mama Ingram was trembling with rage by the time Cami finished her story. Yet when she spoke, it was calm and full of compassion.
“Cami, God never stopped loving you. Now I can’t even begin to try to explain why He seemingly allowed that rape to occur, but I do know that the fact that you survived that experience with your mind still intact is a sign of God’s love. Of His mercy. Other signs of that love include all the people God placed across your path over the years. People like your father who wrote you every week while you were in prison. Delia and Royal, who forgave you for your sins against them and extended help your way, not once, but twice. Your aunt Valena, who sent you letters and care packages once a month like clockwork. Greg and even Aisha, who allowed you to stay here, despite your sins against them.”
“Millsap was a Godsend, too,” Cami added, unwilling to leave him out of that esteemed number. She felt so bad about betraying him tonight. So bad.
“Yes, he was,” Mama Ingram agreed, still quite fond of Millsap herself, despite what he did for a living and even despite his overreaction to Cami’s most recent sin. “The fact that you’re still breathing, Cami, means that God is hardly through with you yet. That He has more for you to do here. That He has a purpose and a plan for your life beyond all the pain you’ve suffered in the past. Beyond the pain you’re suffering now.”
“So what do I need to do to hook up with this plan?” Cami asked with eager eyes. “Especially since the ones I came up with on my own ain’t working for me no more.”
Mama Ingram smiled at her eagerness. Cami was so ripe for salvation right now. It was time to usher her on into the Kingdom.
“You need to accept God’s son Jesus and everything He died to give you. From there, you need to dive into the Bible and a good Bible-teaching church. With those tools, you can’t lose,” Mama Ingram encouraged.
“I’m ready,” Cami declared. “Because without Millsap’s help, I’m gonna need a true miracle if I’m ever gonna get my son back.”
“God can restore Little Man to you and so much more, Cami, with or without Millsap’s help. Just wait and see,” Mama Ingram reassured. Then she joined hands with Cami and prayerfully led her to the Lord.
Every word of prayer was repeated in faith. Every promise was received by faith. And soon…
Cami was saved!
She had a new man in her life now. The best Man of all. The God-man…Jesus.
To Cami’s surprise, she slept very well that night. It was the heartfelt prayer that did it. That sense of knowing that even though she messed up yet again, at least God was willing to take her back. At least He hadn’t given up on her.
* * *
Across town, Millsap tossed and turned in his bed. He missed his woman. He missed the feel of Cami’s body as she spooned lovingly against him at night. How clean and fresh she always smelled. The light snoring she did when she went into a deep sleep.
Why did you mess us up like this, Cami? Millsap mused, giving up trying to get any sleep tonight. I would have bought you two BMWs if you just hadn’t been so impatient, hadn’t given a brotha that stupid ultimatum, he thought as his eyes glistened with emotion in the dark room.
Millsap dared even one tear to fall. He would not cry over a cheating woman, no matter how much he still loved her.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier