A Nothing or an Heiress, by Paula Rose Michelson

Before I began writing this post, I found myself wondering how many times I had allowed what others thought of me, or how they treated me to define me. Since the founding of LAMB Ministries twenty-four years ago, I have heard many women speak of issues that arose from others that defined them. Much of my work has centered on trying to help women overcome the reality that though perhaps well meant, to allow others to define us ties us to them. To set ourselves free we must chose to believe that we can be…

                “Are you from Spain then, my child?” the old padre asked.
                “Sí, I am.” She smiled and struggled to sound appropriate while she reflected upon Tía’s wise words, Men will want you or want something from you. Watch what they do and make certain it matches what they say. Be very careful, even of those I have trusted. They may try to take advantage of you, for they will see you as a young niña and pretend to take care of you but may be busy taking better care of themselves! Resolved to do as the old woman had taught, Naomi stood and nodded, as if Tía were there by her side reminding her that these men might have ulterior motives. “Pardon me, I need to check on Tía and see if she is ready to receive you.”
                The men had stood the moment she did. When she turned away, they looked at each other but said nothing until it seemed she was gone.      Because Naomi had thought that might be the case, she hesitated outside the room and listened as they spoke.
                “What,” ventured the attorney, “has happened to the girl?”
                “She is no longer a girl but a woman,” Padre Paul answered.
                “All right, she is now a woman. So what of it? We are here at La Señora’s bidding not to assist thisthis pretender! She is nothing! No one with a good reputation will have anything to do with her! She has remained hidden in this casa since she arrived. Except for us, few people
even know she exists. If tomorrow she were to leave, no one except La Señora would miss her!”
                “That is true. How old do you think she is?”
                “Probably close to twenty.”
                “How would you know that?”
                “I and my father before me have been involved in La Señora’s work for many years. We prepared the papers that allowed the girls detained by immigration to stay here. Without someone to vouch for them, the government sends the girls back to their place of origin. With our help, La Señora brought some of those niñas into this country. The paperwork was always the same, always set up for a fifteen-year-old Spanish female. Strange,” he mused, “once La Señora brought this little mouse
home, she never brought another niña to her casa. After this one arrived, La Señora would only go to immigration once she had arranged for the girl to have a job and a place to live. I asked her about this change several times, but she never explained her reasons. It was as if she was looking for something and found it in this one. But I will never understand what she sees in the girl, or woman, as you call her.”
                When their conversation ended, Naomi raced to Tía’s room, checked on her, and returned. Instead of ushering the men to her benefactor’s room, she remembered that the old woman’s training had made her wiser and listened to see if either of them would unwittingly reveal anything else. Silence greeted her, so she stepped out of the shadows and motioned for the men to follow her.
                Quietly, with reserve and decorum, the priest and attorney moved forward. When they did, Naomi wondered if they suspected that she had overheard them. No matter, she told herself, perhaps it is good for them to be unsure about what I know or where they stand with me. When they reached Tía’s bedroom, Naomi knocked, then opened the door. “Tía, the two men you asked me to invite are here to visit you.” She waited for her tía to motion for them in. When she did, Naomi turned to withdraw.
                “No, Naomi, come here,” the old woman wheezed. “Sit in this chair. Stay next to my right hand, listen, and remember, for in the days to come you will need to know all that is said today so that nothing will be taken from you when I am no more.”
                The priest and the attorney exchanged glances. The padre nodded, removed his vestments from their pouch, and put them on. He lifted his voice in prayer and began to perform the last rites.
                “No, I am not ready for this!”
                “I understand, but we must proceed.”
                “Not yet! I have matters to discuss with my attorney!” The old woman turned toward Mr. Martinez and began to speak. Within the hour, Tía had attended to everything as she promised. Naomi watched as she signed the legal documents. The attorney glowered while he placed the papers in his briefcase. He seemed bewildered and annoyed by the proceedings, but he told La Señora, “The final papers will be mailed to you once they are recorded.” His voice broke with feigned concern as he asked, “But surely, La Señora, do you think it wise to give your power of attorney and leave your estate in the hands of one so young and unschooled in the ways of the world?”
                “I most certainly do.” The old woman chuckled, obviously pleased by her attorney’s reaction. “I have every confidence that, unlike many, Naomi will do all I have instructed. And when I am gone, she has agreed to continue my work.”

Authors Comments

The Men~
I believe it not far fetched to believe that both men saw Naomi’s change of station as an affront. Had not each of them done everything in their power to assure that La Señora would turn to them when in need; they might have handled the situation differently than the text implies. However, in this portion of the text shows how quickly one thought to be of no account can become someone to recon with.

Having allowed herself to believe that the same woman who bound her for five years would let her leave once she died, Naomi now discovers that she has bound herself again, this time for life! By choosing to be reflective, Naomi shows us an option many have never considered. To the others she looks as if she has agreed to what was said. Internally her thoughts may be screaming for attention. However, externally she seems at peace.

Food for Thought~
The hardest to endure is the reality that makes you believe that your choices have been taken away. Yet even within that reality one can chose how they react. Below I’ve posted some Scriptural choices worth considering.

Psalm 119:36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 119:104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. 

Authors End Note
I first began using Gods Word to reprogram my thought life, and I must admit that I was challenging God to heal my hurt. When he did, I was dumfounded! However, having read Isaiah 55:11 …so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it, I understood that I had discovered something amazing.

Today I hope you will trust that my journey can be yours.
Until next time I pray that you walk in the Shalom (peace) that only God gives so that no matter what others think of you, you will know that he loves, and cares for you.

A Role Reversal? by Paula Rose Michelson

Authors Observation and Reflective Questions

Many wish their lot was different. Some might admit that they fantasized about changing places with someone else. Stories abound where less deserving individuals are lauded, and those who do deserve praise are passed over. Such it seems is Naomi’s and perhaps your lot. This posting shows how quickly the individual who was seen as a menial can become a person that others will chose to favor.

  • What do you wish would change?

  • How would your situation be different?

  • How would the changes you wished for change you?

The Text

                The next morning, Naomi was in the vestibule dusting the sideboard when Mr. Ralph Martinez, the attorney, and Padre Paul, the priest, greeted each other while standing at the threshold to the door. As she walked toward the door, she watched the play of their shadows through the opaque glass and heard ever nuance of their dialogue because the transom was open.
                “Why in this day of modern conveniences does La Señora still keep with the old ways?” she heard the attorney mutter. “Still no doorbell.”
                “One should not change anything that still works. Better a caring heart and an offering to Our Blessed Mother Church.”
                Since she had spoken with each of them, Naomi knew they were aware of the old woman’s condition. Over her years in the casa, she had heard a lot about these men and assumed that each hoped the lady would select him to manage her estate since she was, obviously, unable to do so for herself. Others had informed her that each of them had tried to curry favor with La Señora and the general population of El Barrio, and each had worked hard to acquire a manner of meekness. From observing them when they visited Tía, she knew that each valued his own wisdom, each believed that he alone should manage the old woman’s funds.
                Perhaps, she mused, the attorney has decided that everyone needs his services in the end, even those who fear God. And the priest, no doubt, he believes his services at the end of one’s life are even more important than those of a lawyer. She could almost hear them thinking, Whom else could she trust but me? She was aware that her musing was not appropriate, so she took a deep breath and pulled the door open. Nodding a humble greeting, she gestured for them to enter. As she did, she reminded herself that they considered her little more than a necessary nuisance and knew that never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined how her presence in Tía’s house was about to change all their plans and hopes.
                She watched the two men as they stepped into the shuttered semidarkness of the casa. “Tía is resting for a moment,” she explained as she led them into the parlor. “Her strength left as she was preparing to see the two of you. But she will be all right in a while.” She motioned to a silver tea service, which she had set out for their visit. “May I pour you some tea?”
                The padre looked at her in apparent amazement. Since she had never before spoken to them beyond what was necessary, Naomi wondered what was going through his mind.
                “Dear,” the old padre began as he took a sip of tea from a delicate china cup, “where did you learn to make tea that is so rich—almost like coffee?”
                Naomi glanced up from the cup she was pouring for herself and smiled. She knew that neither of these men had ever concerned themselves about her before, and that was to her advantage. “Why, Padre, you flatter me. Thank you for being interested in such a small thing as this little service, which I have done for you when you visited La Señora. This tea is made like one would make espresso. You may know it better as sweet tea because after I poured your tea, I added sugar and cream both in large portions. I learned to make it this way from mi mamá while I was yet a young girl in Spain.” She lowered her eyes so he would not see the pleasure she derived by giving him a small tidbit of her history. She remembered the times she laid out tea for these men, yet they had never before spoken to her or asked any questions. Since he did not respond, she looked up to see if he understood. Noting the look of confusion in his eyes, Naomi almost lost control of the tight rein she kept on her emotions. Although the situation was a serious one, she felt like laughing at the absurdity of their role reversal: she, a servant, acting like a grand dame, and he, the priest, seeming as confused as she had been when she first arrived at Tía’s casa. Fighting to regain control, she coughed to stifle her natural reaction and smiled sweetly as she lowered her eyes.


Insight unlike hindsight or foresight allows us the luxury of imagining what would happen ‘if.’ Without the ‘if’ we are day dreaming, spinning yarns. With the ‘if’ of possibility we feel free to imagine, and our imaginings can take us to a place where survival is replaced with an inner reality more real for some than the one they are living.

Revelation 22: 17 says, The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

In Biblical Judaism the father chooses the bride and pays the bride price. Once betrothed, the groom builds a home. Although all might be ready, the groom cannot fetch his bride until the father tells him to. While the bride waits for the day when her intended will fetch her, her days are filled with preparation so that when she is claimed, she has everything that her home and husband will need.

The bride, like Naomi and perhaps you, might know very little or nothing about what will be. Yet the possibility of a bright future and the insight that being set free from previously imposed restrictions allow one to hope. Where there is hope the heart quickens, ones step is lighter, and we smile.