Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
This was the first time I had the chance to see Father with His gifts Grace and Mercy. The former still reminded me of a fairy-like creature, but the latter appeared different. Yes, Mercy had similar features as Grace, but that is where the commonality ends. Where Grace appeared vibrant and energized, Mercy had aged facial features. Healed scars across her cheek and limbs burned bright red against ivory skin. Grace had a dress made of flower petals, but Mercy wore an outfit made of the scales of a pinecone. Only her pants were made of leather. She looked more like a weary soldier.
“Grace, I have met before, but this is my first time meeting Mercy,” I said.
Mercy rolled her eyes, and Grace tried to hide a giggle behind her dainty hand. Even Father shook His head at me before He spoke, “Before we met, I sent Mercy to come and find you Melody. She has been with you longer than you realize.”
“Are you sure? I think I would have noticed a floating maroon-colored fireball.” I voiced honestly.
Wingless, Mercy zipped in the air and stopped in front of my face. “I’ll take it from here,” she addressed the King. Father nodded and stepped aside to give us room. I continued to watch Mercy with curiosity as she began speaking to me. “The very first time I came to you was when you were born.”
Suddenly, she had my full attention. Mercy’s glow dimmed as she continued. “Your mother was very young and alone, but she loved you very much Melody.” I could only stare wide eyed. My mother loved me? Then why did she give me up?
Father cleared His throat taking me out of my stupor. “Melody, your mother’s name was Raylah.” He hesitated for just a second. “She was a courtesan.”
Courtesan. The word echoed in my head until it clicked. I was the daughter of a prostitute. “Did she know who my father was?” I forced out the question.
“No, she did not,” whispered Elyon. I nodded mutely. Having my suspicion confirmed gave me no satisfaction. All of a sudden, I felt embarrassed. I could only look down at the stream of tears to avoid looking up at Father. Then He did something unexpected. The High King went to the Broken Stream, scooped up a handful of water, and walked over to me. “Watch and listen.”
I couldn’t help myself as I stared at the swirling liquid. There was a face of a young girl. She had unruly brunette curls framing a heart-shaped face with hazel eyes and a pointed nose. Her resemblance to me was uncanny. The only difference being that she appeared to be eighteen or nineteen. My mother truly was young when she had me. I watched Raylah being kicked out in the middle of the night by her employer. I could see the small bump protruding from her dress. She left weeping hot tears.
The scene changed to daylight, as Raylah knocked on door after door looking for work, but after one look at her the door couldn’t be slammed in her face fast enough. That is, until she reached one particular cottage. As soon as the older woman saw the soiled dove, she ushered her in as if Raylah was her own flesh and blood. “That woman is Narcissa. She happened to be a midwife,” said Grace. I nodded my head, but my gaze was glued to the rapidly changing scenes. Raylah’s belly continued to grow, and it seemed as if Narcissa patiently told her the good news about Elyon, His kingdom, and His family. At first, Raylah seemed very skeptical. Eventually, her heart softened, and Raylah finally surrendered her life to the Great Physician just as I did.
I couldn’t resist jumping and clapping for joy as I watched my mother die to her old self and begin anew. Then my momentary joy leached away as I watched the last scene. Raylah was in the throes of labor. Narcissa was at her side saying encouraging and comforting words, but I could see the dread marring the older woman’s face. Then I heard her voice. “El Shaddai, it is not time for this precious little one!” she pleaded with her tears. “If it is Your will… please Adonai, show mercy on my baby!”
The last image seared itself into my memory as my own tears mingled with the glowing water. I finally looked up and looked at Father’s face. His eyes were red-rimmed as if He had been crying the whole time. “I heard the cries of your mother, Melody, and I sent Mercy.” Elyon allowed my mother’s tears to filter through His hands.
“What happened next?” I asked.
I held my breath as Father continued with the story. “Raylah delivered a healthy baby girl, but the stress was too much for her body…She bled out, Melody.”
A sob was caught in my throat, “Why didn’t Mercy save her? Where were you? Aren’t you the Great Physician?” Confusion, anger, and sorrow all warred within me. Before Father could utter a response, Mercy spoke up, “What you didn’t see was Elyon and His soldiers defending the village from Raylah’s enemies, her former boss and his henchman.”
Confused, I enquired, “Wait. I assumed her employer kicked my mother out as a courtesan after she became pregnant. Why would he come back?”
“Once my enemy found out that I was involved, Slanderer wanted to take Raylah away from Me out of spite,” He admitted. “More than likely, he also wanted to steal you to groom you to become a devoted servant for an added bonus.”
“But my mother still died! I know you could have saved her! I just don’t understand…” I entreated.
This time, Grace intercepted. “Elyon sent Mercy to you, but He sent me to Raylah.” I watched as gold flecks burst all around Grace. “I was able to let her see you before I took her to the Palace. Your mother lived a very hard life in Slaven, but now she can truly live in peace!”
Everything Grace said made sense, but in my selfishness I couldn’t help feeling sorrowful about growing up without my mother. Then a thought occurred to me before I voiced it, “If my mother passed away from this world, who left me at the Lost Circus?”
A shadow crossed Father’s features. “As soon as Raylah disappeared, Narcissa took you away and snuck away from the ensuing battle. In order to keep Slanderer’s henchman away from you, Narcissa left you under the care of a friend. She had no idea that she had handed you over to Ringmaster.”
I didn’t realize I was shaking until Father placed His comforting arms around me. “It’s alright. He can’t harm you anymore.” I just stood there as the King embraced me until the shakes desisted. I felt so ridiculous. After all this time, I thought Ringmaster no longer had an effect on me. Clearly, I was wrong.
“Melody, even if you don’t remember seeing us, Grace and I were there with you during all the physical cruelty. You are not silly for feeling like this,” said Mercy forcefully. Father loosened His hold on me before He began to speak with a smile on His face. “I purposely disguised Mercy and Grace to hide them from Ringmaster. As long as they were concealed, they could help you until you could find Me.”
I stared at the sisters. They were with me my whole life? I only had one more question, specifically for Mercy. “Why did Ringmaster always beat me and never my siblings?”
The maroon sparks grew brighter as Mercy looked at me with a sad smile. “You were the only one who refused to allow Ringmaster to have complete access of your life. All of your siblings were easily swayed, easily molded by the Magician.” Then it was Mercy’s turn to ask me a question, “Do you know why Ringmaster always kicked your ribs?” I shook my head slowly wondering where she could be going with this.
“Ringmaster was constantly trying to break into the one thing Grace and I earnestly kept safe for Elyon.” Mercy flitted over to my chest and grinned. “Your heart.”