There once was a woman named Ida Mayfield Wood…perhaps you’ve heard of her. She lived in squalor in a couple of rooms at New York’s Herald Square Hotel. By the time of her death in 1932, Ida had hoarded nearly $1 million in cash in her hotel room. The money was stuffed in pots and pans. A diamond necklace was even found inside a Cracker Jack box.
Ida was found to have $10,000 in cash sealed around her waist.
For some reason her story has stuck with me since I first heard it and she has come to mind several times in the past week.
I am thinking about how I, as a woman in Christ, sometimes live like Ida Mayfield Wood.
Now I don’t know why Ida lived in squalor…why she did that. Perhaps she didn’t think of herself worthy to live as she truly was (wealthy) or perhaps she had just gone mad. Perhaps she didn’t FEEL rich so she lived as she felt…poor. Her most true identity though was: a wealthy woman. She had access to great wealth, but she didn’t use it. She lived in squalor and she hid her money.
Don’t we all do the same…at times? I know I do.
God’s people in the New Testament, are now called saints, heirs to the kingdom, freed from the dominion of darkness, new creations. We are, indeed, siritually wealthy.
Do we live out of that reality? Or…do we live according to how we feel?
Sometimes I live according to how I feel instead of what is true of me. I allow my emotions to rule the moment…or even the day…instead of truth.
The New Testament says we have been rescued by the Father “from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son He loves…” (Colossians 1:13).
“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galations 3:2).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” (Romans 6:1-14).
For the most part, these verses are very much a part of my thinking…but…things happen. Stuff happens. I get distracted. I forget that I no longer have to sin but, instead, can walk in this reality.
It is absurd that Ida lived in squalor…and it is absurd that I sometimes live according to who I used to be…before being transferred to the kingdom of Christ.
But I am growing in learning to walk out of who I most truly am in Him. Each time I do it, I see His renewing work in my life and the world around me. Each time I don’t…I want to remember these truths.
Below is a great scene from the movie Blood Diamond in which the father reminds his son of who he most truly is. If you’ve seen the movie, you will immediately remember this powerful scene. If you haven’t, Solomon Vandy, the African man in this clip, has been striving to pursue his son, Dia, since Dia was kidnapped by guerillas. Solomon himself was enslaved by guerillas and forced to work in the diamond fields. He finds a rare diamond worth millions and buries it, hoping it will help him get back his son.
Dia’s kidnappers, have brainwashed him and turned him into a killer. He is even given a new name, “See No More,” and is lied to about his family. The guerillas have forced him to commit terrible atrocities, so that he cannot even remember his former identity or family.
After his escape from slavery, Solomon chases his son across the continent of Africa, risking his life time and again, to save his son. This is the scene when the father is face to face with his son who hardly remembers the life they once shared together.
Our heavenly Father is so in love with us and so loved us that He sent His Son to reconcile us to Himself. He risked it all, so to speak, as did Solomon Vandy. As I face sin and temptations to sin, I wonder what my life would look like if I allowed my heavenly Father to remind me, through biblical truths, of who I am in Him. Be encouraged by this scene because the Father loves us and wants us to remember and know who and whose we are!