How would people describe your home? Friends describe my home as homey, cozy, and peaceful.
As you walk into my foyer, you are welcomed by warm, golden walls and a room filled with cranberry red accents. My plaid couch is as old as my 20 year son, and the slight fraying just adds to its personality. You can sit on that comfy couch and put your feet up on my dented coffee table. You can reach over and grab the afghan that will warm you up on a cold day.
Let’s turn on the gas logs, plug in the twinkling lights on the mantle, and light a few candles. You will hear the sound of peaceful music through the speakers, see the light streaming in through the skylights, and hear the soothing sounds of water in the fountain.
Do you remember your teenage years? Mine were 30 years ago but I remember the 90s quite clearly. Confession: the life I presented to those I wanted to please was much different than the life I was living. On the outside, to my church family and teachers at school, I was kind, helpful, a good student, a good speaker, and a youth group leader.
But on the inside, I was just as the Bible describes sinners in Titus 3. I was foolish, disobedient, envious, hateful, deceived, and enslaved to lust and pleasure. I will spare you the details, but I was not the person you would want your teenage daughter to be. I did my best to keep this side of me hidden from those I wanted to think well of me, but my friends certainly saw my rebellious side. I was not the perfect little church girl. Far from it.
This blog post is different from any I have written before. It is fiction, an allegory, a story I saw take place in my mind as I did a Bible study and looked up the word “redemption” in the original Greek language. It means, “to be purchased from the slave market of sin, totally free, never to be sold again.” Enjoy.
The day was dark and gloomy as Jesus wandered the city streets. His heart was set on a mission but He wasn’t quite sure yet of the outcome. He was fully God but also fully man, so some things were still hidden to Him. But this He knew: the Holy Spirit was propelling Him to find something. Or someone.
He headed to the market area, and as He drew nearer, He could begin to hear the shouts. It was a place of market, a place of trade, where one exchanged one’s valuables for another person’s goods. It was a place where food, blankets, and fine linens were sold, but as Jesus drew nearer, He saw that the market was also darker and more sinister at one end. It was also a market for people. Slaves. Men and women of flesh and bone, sold into servitude for their debts and crimes.
It was then that he saw her. He could see that at one time she was young and lovely, but today she was grimy and disheveled. She was bound by the wrists and feet by heavy rope that had no hope of being untied. She probably had once struggled against her bonds, but as he looked at her, he saw that hope had long fled her heart and despair had settled in. She sat there in defeat, and all around her were shouts of condemnation.
I’m making a list today and it is absolutely no fun. In fact, I have been dreading it all week. I’m preparing for a prayer ministry appointment (also called inner healing) and I’m making a list of sins to confess out loud. Yep. Sins. To. Confess. MY sins to confess. Doesn’t that sound about as much fun a getting a double root canal with no novocaine? You can tell that I am chomping at the bit to get started.
I’ve felt separated from God lately. I know from experience that my feelings of *space* between us is not because God has moved away from me, but because I have moved away from God. I’ve not purposely set out to put distance between God and me, but it is happened over time. And as I examine my life to figure out why I feel this distance, there can only be one answer:
Get ready. In the next few paragraphs, I’m going to shatter your perception of me as a godly woman. If you see me as the perfect church woman, as we say in the south, “I’m fittin’ to disappoint you.”
I try very hard to keep my speech above reproach. I am very careful about what I say, and I often come across as sweet, gentle, and godly. I so want my words to honor God. But in the last few months, I’ve walked through some emotional turmoil that has been, at times, more than my sweet little self could bear. So when the tears have flowed and I’ve been an emotional wreck, I’ve said some things that are not characteristic of me.
The #!*% has hit the fan.
I feel like #*&@.
They can all go to *#$!
I’m glad that you don’t have superhero x-rays eyes because I don’t want you to see into my heart. On the outside, my heart may seem kind, generous, gentle, and thoughtful. Perhaps even godly. Those things are there, yes, but there is also some junk that I don’t want you to see. There are hidden things that I cover up with my sweet spirit and my smile. Yes, in my heart dwells jealousy, anger, resentment, and conceit, as well as more sin and wickedness that I don’t want to reveal to anyone.