These words were on my heart this week with everything I was facing combined with the regular issues I have been dealing with and it being Passover Week.
I clung to them as a personal promise as I entered the welfare office for the interview with the fraud investigator.
I felt very afraid as I was told, by well meaning friends, real stories of women being accused, charged and penalized by suspension of benefits, fines and even prison time. I had no idea how this would play out or what to expect.
My husband and I drove mostly in silence on the way there. Then we sat mostly in silence for the 45 minutes we waited for the investigator. I began to wonder if I was in the right place or I had possibly gone to the wrong offices.
We were finally called into one of the regular welfare interview booths. The investigator was wearing a sheriff's green polo shirt that had a large golden badge embroidered on her upper left hand shoulder, the around the neck ID and sparkly gold eye shadow. She introduced herself with the same firm demeanor she used when she had come to my door. She directed her comments toward my husband, "I am not a case worker, I am a welfare fraud investigator, a police officer. I have been investigating you since February." She reiterated how she had come to my door, that I refused her entry to my home and that I was not required to allow her into my home.
I had dressed as professionally as I could with what I had, black pants, a fitted black shirt with a built in white collar, light, fitted grey jacket and closed toe grey shoes--that were much tighter than the last time I wore them. My husband was in his standard work clothes. I handed over my documents and sat up straight. I remained silent through most of the interview. I did feel a little defensive when she began to tell me how I could put my children in outside school, not home school, because that was a personal choice. "And my husband's..." I said. I felt a little more defensive when she told me I could get a job or get on cash aid to alleviate some of the tension between my husband and myself. I then pointed out the discrepancy between my husband's income last year vs his current income.
She continued to address most of her comments and questions to my husband, including giving him unsolicited advice about filing for divorce for free, lowering his child support and relieving his financial stress and tension by suggesting that I apply for cash aid. She made a point to add that all of this could have been avoided and my husband would not have had to miss work, if I had only allowed her into my home in the first place. I refuse to look down and lower my head but kept my gaze focused on the clock on the wall behind her with my hands folded in a relaxed manner, on the counter top in front of me. I prayed silently to myself the entire time but there were moments that I could not hold it together and tears spilled out. Especially when she referred to my husband as my "husband"...at least a dozen times or more.
After she dictated to us what to write on an affidavit, and sign, it was over. She ended the interview with, "You can pick up an application for cash aid on your way out, since you're here, and make an appointment."
I could not get out of there fast enough. My heels made deep clicking sounds on the linoleum. I hadn't noticed it before the interview but it was very attention getting on my way out. I tried to hold it together at least until I was outside.
I tripped and lost my balance a bit as I crossed the cracked concrete of the parking lot drive-way, rushing to my car. There wasn't any sidewalk where I had parked. I took off my heels and walked barefoot on the thick green grass. I opened the back passenger door, throwing my heels and paperwork into the back seat. I walked barefoot on the asphalt to the driver side door, got in, leaned my head on the steering wheel, let out a confused deep breath along with my tears, and waited for my husband. He never showed up.
I went back to look for him in the office. I drove around looking for him. I went into the office a second time. Security looked in the restroom for me and also let me use the phone to call him. He did not answer. I felt worried. I went home, but I kept an eye out for him the entire way. Maybe he had a friend pick him up? When I got home, I called him again and left another message.
Maybe he had his sister come and get him? I called his mom but they had not heard from him. His sister sent him a text and he finally called me. "I'm walking home."
"Why, what happened?"
"Because I don't want to be in a car with you," he angrily responded.
"Why?" I was shocked by his anger.
Click. He hung up on me with out an answer.
The angel of death will pass over...
I felt a little confused, lost, defeated maybe...Mostly just confused--it was hard to tell if I could really claim victory or not...
I meditated more on this angel of death scenario...the angel of death DID pass over the Hebrews--and they woke up the next day STILL ENSLAVED! Think about that a little bit.
They were spared a plague BUT the thing they wanted most: their FREEDOM, had still not manifested. They were finally released and Pharaoh changed his mind and went after them...then they were cornered up against the Red Sea...we know what happens.
We're in this war and God is giving us promises and encouragement for each battle. These battles are NOT the big war! The final victory IS coming--I believe. Praise God even in the small victories or in the midst of battle.
...the plague will not...destroy you.