By Vanessa Davis Griggs
Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Everybody wants to know how I, a nobody from nowhere, became a somebody about to sport the coveted last name of Landris. It just goes to show how people shouldn’t judge another without knowing what’s happening on the inside. And never, ever to underestimate the power of Faith!
Before I get ahead of myself, maybe I should begin at the beginning, since I’ve already told you the end. Don’t you just hate it when people flip to the back of a book and read the end before they even crack the beginning and middle just because they feel they have to know how it ends? Well, that won’t be the case here. The end is officially out, over and done with. Faith wins!
Now we can concentrate on the story, and how I managed to arrive here.
I am Faith. Not Hope—Hope is the timid one. You know, the one who crosses her fingers and wishes for the best. Not Charity. Sweet little Charity, the one who really believes love conquers all, and, if I’m truly honest, has been told she’s the greatest of the three of us. Both of them give up too easily. It’s like they’re not really sure what they want—a bit too wishy-washy for me.
But now me—I know what I want. And as a rule, I generally grab hold like a pit bull until I get it. Not by giving up at the first hint of opposition. Oh, no. You see, Faith recognizes the impossible, yet sees the invisible, and holds fast to the confession. I succeed because I stand by what I want as if I’m entitled to it.
And I am.
That’s why I claimed dear, charming Landris as mine the first time I laid eyes on him. God knows, it should be a sin for any man—let alone a man of God—to be so fine, smart, and good-looking, all swirled into one. Note to God: Needed—an 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not be so tempting.
So I “named it” and “claimed it,” right then and there. The man never stood a chance, not when it came to resisting me. Faith was at work; he was as good as mine.
“You can’t claim somebody else’s man,” Hope said to me when I shared my confession with her. I didn’t want to, but I had to tell someone. “You can’t impose your will over someone else’s. You just can’t!”
Dear Hope—always the practical one. She does have her own desires, but she chooses to live her life cautiously, always hoping. “Just in case it doesn’t work out,” she says, “at least I won’t be too disappointed.” She knows nothing about men, and if I’m honest here, even less about the power of Faith. That’s who I am: Faith Alexandria Morrell, and by tomorrow, the new Mrs. Landris.
From the beginning, it was the three of us: Faith, Hope, and Charity. Like water, steam, and ice—the same, but different. Water—easy and fluid, can flow anywhere, yet it’s strong enough to form a Grand Canyon. Steam—vapor like a spirit, practically invisible, yet leaves undeniable evidence of its existence. Dare I say, able to open, without detection, what some believe to be sealed for good, and create power never imagined probable, let alone possible. Ice—solid, steadfast and firm, can be grasped, handled, touched. Each the same, only a different form.
There’s one thing I would like to clear up here and now: Johnnie Mae Taylor Landris had her hands full even before she met me. There was her mother’s memory problem, and four siblings, three of whom were routinely uncooperative. She had a young daughter to raise within a brand-new marriage plus the demands of a writing career that required her to travel.
Her husband, the Right Reverend (and very handsome) Pastor George Landris, presided over a new ministry growing so fast it was making heads spin, especially for a church in Birmingham, Alabama. Now don’t get me wrong—I’m not putting down Birmingham. It’s just, who would have expected such a phenomenon to take place here? There were people who sold everything and moved from other states just to take part.
Can you blame them? Pastor Landris is a great teacher of the Bible. He definitely knows how to break down the Word of God. He’s unconventional and sure of himself. How else could he wear dreadlocks and get away with it? He’s the type who’ll rarely back down when he believes in something. Pastor Landris is the kind of man of God whom people will literally uproot their lives to follow.
Like Sapphire and Angela Gabriel. Although from what I heard, Miss Angel Gabriel (Angel is what she prefers being called) didn’t originally move from Asheville, North Carolina, to be part of this newfound ministry.
“Actually, I was supposed to be running a radio station,” Angel said with a smile. She and I worked closely on Johnnie Mae and Pastor’s marriage seminar material. We ended up talking, and that’s when I found out some interesting information. It turns out Pastor Landris had supposedly bought that same radio station in a deal that, incidentally, ended up blowing up in several folks’ faces. I’m talking big-time blowup! Of course, most people (including Miss Angel) quietly blame that costly misstep on Thomas, Pastor Landris’s older, yet equally good-looking and, might I add, talented brother.
So when Hope, Charity, and I showed up at the church in 2003 and inserted ourselves in these folks’ lives, things were already crazy. To our credit, we did try to help. And were you to ask Johnnie Mae, she would admit that I really was a blessing. And even if she were to deny it, I was—no ...I still am a blessing.
Don’t believe me? Okay, then you be the judge. Man can, and should, plan all he wants, but there are times when God has His own thoughts about the matter.
Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”
Yes, for good to them who love God and who are called according to His purpose.
And I do love God.