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Eleanor learned that, contrary to popular opinion, the road marked with suffering is never one we walk alone.

Eleanor Powers is hardly a stranger here at Keystone. If you’ve gotten an email from the church or called the office, you’ve probably talked to her! And you can bet any time some awesome event is going down, she’ll be dancing at the center of the crowd. But the smile that she greets us with hasn’t always been so genuine.

Sexual abuse wreaked havoc on her childhood home, a crime that takes far too many prisoners, and binds too many mouths shut; young and old alike. Keeping up the happy-family-front meant pasting on a smile that told the world, “It’s okay, there’s nothing to see here.”

Imagine how hard it must be for a small child to have to pretend as though her heart, body, and soul, are not crumbling as she desperately needs help she knows she can’t have. The lies that run rampant, not just about her value, but about God’s role. Where was He? How could He allow this? He must not care. He must not be who He says He is. It’s only natural that these lies fashioned themselves as truth, and Eleanor began to run, as far as she could, from this ruthless God who didn’t care about her suffering.

For twenty years, Eleanor held her head high on the outside, smiling through clenched teeth, never shedding a tear, all the while living with fear, rage, bitterness, and resentment on the inside.

At just the right time came just the right gift: a bible, and a challenge from a friend to just “give it a chance.” God had already begun to prepare Eleanor, because when she did open the Word, something happened inside her soul — or Someone, rather. Jesus came, in the precious way He does, tending her wounds and unveiling her darkest places.

She began to change in noticeable ways and became almost unrecognizable to those around her. Gone was the facade, the clenched fake smile, replaced by true joy, and hope that overpowered the darkness that had been ruining her for so long. That sweet smile we know so well made its debut.

Eleanor learned that, contrary to popular opinion, the road marked with suffering is never one we walk alone. Jesus had been there all along, with the keys to her healing, and once she took ahold of them, she got see what it meant to live her life unlocked.



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