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Midnight Mission
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As I slowly backed my car into the loading dock, a glance at my watch told me it was midnight. No one was in sight as I hoisted the large cardboard box out of the trunk of my ’59 Ford onto the dirty, cement dock and sped away.

A sense of relief flooded over me. Somehow I felt better. I had just closed the loop on a three year crime spree by packing up everything I had stolen, placing it in boxes and tucking a note of apology under the lid.

You see, at the age of 19, I began stealing from my employer, a large well known department store chain. Initially, I took only clothing. On my lunch hour I tried on outfits I liked but couldn’t afford. Later in the afternoon, I casually removed the clothing from its hangers, folded it neatly and placed it in store bags. On my rest break I slipped out the mall exit and placed the bags in my trunk. I did this repeatedly without getting caught. For, this was well before the days of “security hard tags” that set off an alarm when merchandise leaves the store without being paid for.

Eventually, I started stealing cash right out of the register, a couple of hundred dollars at a time. I did this several times. Then one day I noticed they were on to me. My every move was being watched. Immediately, I applied for a job as a sales clerk at a competing department store and was hired.

Day of Reckoning

My fresh new start presented its own set of temptations. I was employed as the manager of a leased department that sold pictures, mirrors and wall plaques. Routinely, I began removing these items from the store and decorating my apartment with them. I gave them as gifts to family and friends until one day I couldn’t stand it any more.

My closet and walls were filled with items I had stolen. But they didn’t satisfy. In fact, I couldn’t wear them or look at them without feeling guilty. It was at that point I decided to box everything up and return it all to the respective stores with notes of apology.

Looking back, I recognize this behavior was symptomatic of a deeper problem in my life. I didn’t feel loved and was trying to fill that empty place of pain in my heart with pretty clothes and other material possessions. But it never worked.

When I gave my life to Jesus a few years later, the Lord began to fill that place of pain and emptiness with love. I found this to be a love that grows ever deeper and fully satisfies. The relationship I found with God brought me joy and peace, as well. And, the criminal behavior melted away.

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By Kathy A Lewis. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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