Meet JoAnne. I am just getting to know this lady, but what I do know is that she is sweet and full of life and oh-so-dedicated to walking a life that is defined by Christ. She pours out her heart in this piece and I am thankful that she is willing to share her journey with us. You will be blessed by her words.
I knew it was wrong when I did it. Good girls didn't, Mother said, but I did, and she found out. Oh, I heard all my mother's warnings, all right, even the unspoken ones, but ignored them. In reaching for what looked like excitement and freedom, I gave away my treasured purity and would never get it back. Afterward, I left her little to say except to declare the cost of my sin:
“Now you are damaged goods. No one will ever want you.”
I don't blame her. Her words came from wounded disappointment, not from malice, but the tape, once recorded, had no mercy. It began to play and didn't stop.
I heard it when I broke up with that first young man. I heard it every time a date wanted more than I knew I should give. I heard it on the day I consented to a loveless marriage. I heard it when I divorced and remarried, and again and again when I feared weight gain or wrinkles or the demands of children. I could never trust or relax. I had to stay smart and pretty and...available.
“You are damaged. No one... no one... no one will want you.”
The tape played until it shredded and fell into ashes, the remnants of a young girl's dream of love. I carried its dread into every relationship, every conversation, like blackened rubble from a fire I lit long ago with my own hands.
Then one day, a fresh breath stirred and with it, I heard a new voice:
Return to me, for I have redeemed you.
The Lord has anointed me...to bestow on [you] a crown of beauty instead of ashes.
Your Maker is your husband. The Lord Almighty is His Name.
I have loved you with an everlasting love...I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.
You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.*
And there He stood, wounded like me, but shining, truly free, and offering in His hand a clean white garment.
Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.**
What I did was wrong. Standing next to Christ, I know it now more than ever. But I can stand. Not because I am good, but because He is. Not because I love well, but because He does.
And He wants me. Today, forever, and unchanging.
No tape plays any more. Instead, I hear Christ's constant promise borne daily on whispered breath. I hear it, now familiar but never old, with relief. His promise daily heals, redirects, and strengthens. It, and He, have never failed. And to that promise, I daily reply, “I love you, too.”
*Isaiah 44:22, Isaiah 61:1,3, Isaiah 54:5, Jeremiah 31:3-4, Isaiah 62:3
**Song of Solomon 2:10
Image from truebeliever1989.blogspot.com
Do you want to read more of JoAnne? Of course you do! Find her at www.joannepotter.weebly.comand follow her at www.joannempotter.blogspot.com.
Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose, Jennifer for God Bumps, and Shanda for On My Heart.