This is a story from my book Taming the Dragons: Powerful Choices for Women in Conflict and Pain, a HarperSanFrancisco original soon to be republished by Redemption Press.

“Is there really a dragon out there?”  - Eve the Innocent

MARY, Seattle 1989


Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
    the Most High your habitation,
no evil shall befall you,
     no scourge come near your tent.

For he gave His angels charge of you
     to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
     lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
     the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. 
Because he cleaves to me in love, l will deliver him;
     I will protect him, because he knows my name.
          - Psalm 91:9-14  (RSV)

"I awoke shortly after midnight, and within minutes I'd been shot in the headl."

Mary was asleep in bed with her three-and-a-half-year-old son when an intruder broke into her home through a bathroom window. Her husband was working the night shift as an airplane pilot. “Because of a previous burglary attempt,” she told me, “I’d been praying for the ability to quickly discern good from evil.” In God’s answer to prayer, she awoke one night, sensing something amiss. She called 911 only moments before the intruder forced his way through her bedroom door and shot her. She remembers feeling strangely detached and overwhelmed as she folded to the floor. “I kept talking in a soft voice, saying, ‘Please go away. Please go away.’”

Mary, a member of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington, didn’t live in the Garden of Eden and, for her, evil invaded the safety of even her own home. “I felt the struggle between good and evil,” she said. “But as I lay there, watching the pool of blood grow larger and larger, I felt like God was dealing with that person, not me.” The paramedics arrived and her son, awake by now, said, “You better get a Band-Aid. My mommy has an owie on her head.” Hearing his voice, Mary wondered if she’d live to see him again. “Even so,” she said, “I felt really calm. I felt God was with me.”

Evil lurks and even strikes, yet there is a bigger truth. God is with us. In the midst of Mary’s trouble, God answered. He was there. He gave her peace. And he himself dealt with the evil raging all around. So while the Psalmist may sing “no evil shall befall you,” two stanzas down he also sings, “when he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.” Mega poo happens.

For Mary, who’d been praying for discernment between good and evil, she woke in time to call for help before evil could strike. In the days that followed, the police, medics, and hospital staff, who seldom see victims survive a gunshot wound to the head, were astounded. A miracle unfolded before their eyes, for Mary lived.4

And because she lived we know God is with us, even though none of us live in the Garden of Eden anymore.
3  Last name deleted by request
4  Adapted from Eva S. Nixon, “Mary Counts Miracles in Her Night of Terror,” UPC Times, vol. 9, no. 4 July 1989: l , 6.