Thursday, January 31, 2013

Your Scarlet Letter

A few years back I read the book The Scarlet Letter for high school English. I remember reading it and having a little bit of a revelation.

I spend a lot of my blogs and writings talking about young people saving themselves for marriage. It is something that I am so passionate about, especially now that I'm married and I really see the blessings in waiting.

When I read that old, classic book I found myself stuck thinking about the heavy sin the woman had committed... her and the Minister both. In that day and age it was a great, a very great and grave sin to have a child out of wedlock. A woman (and the man in some cases) would even be put to death for such a sin.

In our time and generation there is no surprise if a girl has a baby without being married. Often parents and grandparents just brush off the fact that sin occurred. A man at a church my husband and I visited a while back asked if we had children. We said, "We have only been married two months." He said, "So do you have kids?" Marriage in no way seemed to need to come before having babies. It took me back. The way we brush over sin is incredible. It does seem especially lonely to have walked the path of purity so alone. Though it was very worth it.

Understand that in saying this, every life is precious, no matter where or how they were conceived. Yet, it does not change the fact that God had a better plan if the mother and father had only done things the right way. But God made the child and the baby has every right to live.

To switch gears.... Almost everything I have said in the last few paragraphs are what I have said many times over. Where things change is when I think about the scarlet letter on Hester's chest. It was a proclamation of sin.

That is when it hit me.

What makes that sin any worse than any other sin?

Nothing. All sin is wretchedly disgusting to the Holy Almighty God. The truth is that we all deserved a letter or word stitched to our chests.






Can you imagine that? Walking around with a word that's true about you stretched across your chest or even on your forehead? Every secret and dirty intent that your heart's ever had, written on you.

We deserve the humiliation. But what happened? The Son of the Almighty God hung on a cross. He knew every nasty truth about you and me yet He was stripped to nothing... naked nothingness. He bore it all so you and I don't have to.

No sin is greater than another. Stubborn pride is as great a sin as murder and adultery. They just carry different consequences in the world we live in.

If you are one who has read my blogs and stories and believe that because you never waited for your husband or wife the way that is right, then please listen. You are not permanently tainted. Don't wallow in it. You are free to move on in Jesus. You are free to do better.

What is your scarlet letter? What is mine? We all have many and all are of equal dirty blemish to a perfect God. Take them off and give them to the Forgiver. Then... turn from them.

And don't look back.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Out Pours My Heart

Sometimes my mind can't help but to think back about how things used to be. It was just over two months ago that my life was drastically different. 

My life is woven with my previous home. It was all I ever knew. It means little to you... I know that. It wouldn't, it shouldn't. But to me it was everything. I remember the dining room table that I sat at everyday for 11 years. The way Andrew holds his bowl to his lips to drink every last drip of soup. I can still hear Daddy's voice when he first gets home from work. I can remember every mark and scratch on the walls in the hall. I can see the rose bush in front of the house and it's red roses in the vase in the kitchen. I can hear Clara's voice below my window as she rides her bike outside. Kandace singing harmony to the radio. 

My room. I remember sitting at my desk, the sun shinning through my thin green curtains. I can still feel myself spin my chair around as I throw my legs up on my bed as I read a book. I can hear Mama's voice... she was calling me to set the table. I close my window, shutting out the cool air. The mountains loom in splendor in the distance. 

Typing such things bring tears to my eyes. You want to hear my heart? Do you want a break from my heavy blog posts? This is it. This is my heart. 

Time is a glorious thing to me and yet like a knife in my chest. I sometimes struggle to have faith. I have always struggled to believe without a shadow of a doubt. But somehow right when I feel like I'm sinking, my Maker sweeps me up just in time. 

What have I feared? I fear that Andrew and Clara will forget me. My memories at 7 years old are blurry at best. Will theirs be the same?  I wonder if they will forget how I used to pull them to me in service at church and kiss the top of their heads. I wonder if Clara will remember our walks to the creek. Will Andrew forget how I snuggled up to him as I read him stories? Will Kandace forget how it was to sit on my bed and tell me her worries? What will happen to my piano? Is my music still the way I left it? 

I used to criticize myself for asking such questions. I told myself that everyone thinks I'm strong all the time, so I shouldn't be weak. But I learned that that would kill me. I learned that recently. It is okay to cry. It is okay to miss my church. It's okay to acknowledge that my fingers miss my piano. Those feelings don't offend God. It doesn't make Him nervous. He can handle my issues. 

Though I have cried more times over the last while than I care to admit. I feel like I'm becoming stronger, by finally admitting I'm weak. 

Only a couple hours ago a man in uniform walked into my home, he pulled me into his arms and I am reminded that I am his wife. Somehow, though my heart has been stretched and prodded and poked, I am doing good because of that truth. 

I have everything I need. I love my new home, I really do. I love my husband. He laughs when I laugh and he cries when I cry. He rolls over in the early morning light and though I know I look horrible, he whispers, "Good morning, beautiful." And he means it. 

I wouldn't trade ANYTHING for where I am. I have moved on from what I was, who I was. It will always be a part of me. I will never change that and wouldn't want to, but I have a knew life. 

Just when I felt like the silence was too much in my knew home, God lead me outside to the park. Children's squeals and voices met my ears and I felt such peace. Just when I miss my church back in Wilkesboro, God lead someone to welcome us into another church... to make us feel wanted. 

Am I strong? No. God is. When I am weak, He is strong. I am not sure about when we will make some more friends around here, I am not sure about the route God is leading me in my education and in college, I am not sure about a church yet, I am not sure about many things. It's all alright though. I am sure that God knows. I know that my wonderful husband and I will pursue His will. 

I am so proud of Josh. He is a light to a dark world. He is constantly telling me of ways God is letting him tell others about Jesus. That handsome man is my best friend, my shoulder to cry on, will be the father of our children, the love of my life. He is my role model. 

You have heard my heart. It isn't perfect. It hurts, yet it sings and it's often confused. All I know is it's in my Father's hands and there it is safe. That's enough peace for me. 

Our neighborhood

Friday, January 4, 2013

Do You Hear the Distant Drums?

"Stay ahead of life or life will just run right over you."

That is what my PaPaw Brown (my Dad's father) said to me and Josh when he and my MaMaw came to visit us at the end of November. He said it casually as he ate his barbecue at Smithfield's Restaurant down the road here in Havelock. For some reason, his words sank in stronger than he probably ever imagined they would. I will never forget them, because they are wise.

Life is one of those things that will lull you. Oh sure, it may stay exciting, but it can also be caught metaphorically whispering in your ear, "Relaaaax. There is always more time." If you heed the advice you will be caught missing things. Many things. 

My wise PaPaw's words may mean to some:

Get yourself up and stop procrastinating! Live before there is no more life to live! Life is leaving you. 

For some it may mean:

Slow down! You're running so fast that you are missing the flowers by the road! You are so busy "accomplishing things"... you forgot to live! Life is robbing you. 

There is a middle ground between the two. Life is a gift from God. It is not perfect and it passes much too quickly on December 25th and crawls by much too slowly in the waiting room at the doctor's office. 

Personally my heart cries, "Do not waste time! Make a difference!" I know that I blog about not wasting life a lot, but it burns in my heart. 

Can you see Paul's face as he wrote these words in the letter Hebrews?? His passion jumping off the page. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

If anyone knew how it felt to run a long, hard race, Paul did.

I love these words from the very last scene in Les Miserables. Hundreds of voices sang these words with power and zeal. Many of those singing had died earlier in the movie, but there they were smiling and rejoicing. They had finished. Let these words be similar to our cry. We live for something greater than this life. We live for Heaven. 
Do you hear the people sing?
Lost in the valley of the night 
It is the music of a people who are climbing to the Light
For the wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord
Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drums
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes!
Tomorrow comes!!! 

Jesus won the race; all you have to do is finish. But don't you want to be remembered for finishing strong, for giving all you had in each battle of this earth? Don't let life get the best of you. Get the best of life. 

Do you hear the distant drums? Or maybe it is the sound of rapture... or the future hooves of white horses... could it be Jesus coming for His people? Come Lord, come quickly!