Remastering the Schemes

Remastering the Schemes
by Staci Sylvester

I recently shared in a prayer meeting how quickly a memory of my old life can come back and invade my thoughts. Sometimes I replay the movie of the memory and let the shame and disgust marinate in my spirit and then before I know it I stay in the muckiness way too long. While I’ve not become 100% effective at not letting the movie start, I have become decent at pausing the memory in my mind playing a remastered version. I’ll give you an example.

I spent many years of my life as an addict. I spent many days as an addict in institutions. I met people who  walked in the light and were there to help. I met people who did not walk in the light and were not nice. The days I spent behind locked doors I gravitated to the people that walked in the light. I’d sober up in rehab or jail, get enough clarity to know something wasn’t right in my brain, and know God could help, so I’d go to any Bible class or Sunday service offered.

One Sunday evening  at what ended up being my last long term stay at an institution, I went to see Sister P. Sister P had caused quite a buzz every time she came, and even some of the people that leaned toward the not nice side were going to see her. I was definitely seeking God for help, so I was excited to attend. She came out, and I hadn’t seen or heard anything like her before in my life. Her dress was black and to her ankles, ruffles and lacy (think Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter meets Pentecostal Johnny Cash). She had a  big black guitar with a leather strap engraved with Acts 2:17. Her hair was a mountain of curls on top of her head that looked almost as tall as her. Normally someone who looked like Sister P would get laughed at or mocked by a bunch of criminals and addicts, but it was her genuine  smile and joyful countenance that won me over. Sister P was the real deal.  She told us her testimony and prayed and whooped and hollered  and sang one song over and over. It’s  funny the things I can’t remember after all of these years, but  I remember the song that Sister P sang:

“Jesus made a way, a way for me, when there was no way, Jesus made a way…and He keeps on making a way for me”.

I also remember singing and clapping with her and looking around at the not so nice people with softened faces singing along sincerely. She fed us all the Holy Spirit that night, and the atmosphere of a very heavy room was changed. I felt the air change in the room, and I didn’t want to leave. I was so taken with Sister P I walked up to her after her service and asked her to pray with me. She told me to read the book of Job and encouraged me to keep praying. I took her up on both. The doors unlocked for me soon after that night, and I never saw Sister P again. 

The enemy likes to use our sin against us. We all know this as Believers. I know he will continue to try to invade my thoughts with some pretty dark movies from the way I used to be. And while scripture, prayer, and positive self-talk are effective tools once the thoughts come, I can also replace that movie of a memory with a remastered one. Yes, I was in a pretty dark place- literally and figuratively. But God used Sister P to touch me in that dark place. He’s the Master in my remastering!

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