Sunday, April 12, 2009

White as Snow

There was a point in my life, several years ago, when I gave up practically everything simply to feel like someone. It is a road that many women have traveled on, seeking fulfillment but ending up scarred. No one ever told me the road would end that way. At least, never did I listen and heed their warnings.

I grew up "churched" and knew basic truths and teachings about God and Jesus. I sang solos of praise and worship songs. Went to youth group faithfully. Somewhere in the midst of being somewhat surrounded by Christianity, it was not until late high school that I finally and personally encountered Christ. I can't remember if it was a single conversation that led to my conversion, but rather the Holy Spirit lifting the gauze from my eyes that had prevented me from connecting truths to personal reality.

By the time that my conversion happened, I was already in a pit of sexual sin. It's difficult for me to type that, since I know that personal friends and family of mine may just now be discovering that. That's okay, because it's not really my story that I'm wanting to tell, but God's, and how His grace is more than enough to cover our sin. He is not ashamed of me, because now I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Several years ago, my former self could have never believed that statement to be true. I was riddled with guilt and shame, feeling as if I had been branded with my own scarlet letter. Part of that guilt was warranted, but then well-meaning Christians can sometimes heap unnecessary pain on top of that.

I attended a youth conference once where one of the assemblies was on sexual sin. A skit played out with a girl using an apple as a symbol of one's purity. Everyone thought it was so shiny, so red, so enticing, and so the girl eventually gave her apple away to a young man. After eating part of it, he handed it back to her, chewed on and partially consumed. She kept the apple and would meet other young men, and they too, would take some bites. More and more the apple became discolored over time until only the core was left. Later, people were disgusted when she offered her apple. The message, pure and simple was this: "Who wants that? After it's been chewed up and used?"

There was no follow-up message of grace or of Christ's forgiveness to cover that. There I sat, crying, wanting desperately to feel Christ's love, but now feeling that I was unable to be loved by Him because of my horrible mistakes. Like I had ruined my one and only chance of purity, and I was cheap goods. No one would want me now...

The reason I wrote this post was because I watched this video earlier today that recalls an account eerily similar to the apple skit that has haunted me. After watching this video, I began crying, remembering the shame I felt hearing a similar grace-less message. Only then, how I wished I could have heard that "JESUS WANTS THE ROSE!"

So as one sister to another, can I just take the time and remind you that Jesus wants you, even if you are broken, bruised, ugly, and dirty. He came for you. Remember this truth: “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

Post conversion, I wish I could say that I was able to turn my life a full 180 degrees lickety-split, but old habits die hard along with old friendships tied to this world. I was now battling against knowing the truth and still sinning anyway. God didn't let go of me even though I struggled for years; He instead placed people and events along my path to draw me to Him. Granted, His discipline lovingly wounded me, yet I am incredibly grateful for it. Without that, I just as well could still be plodding along a broken road.

And now my heart sings, "Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!"

And what about those old, fearful questions of "Who will want me now?" The answer is not only Christ, but also a godly man He brought into my life that cares more for me than of my past: my husband. God can redeem anyone regardless of the circumstances.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)


Tiffany said...

Oh Meagan. What a beautiful, brave, and honest post this Easter morning. Thank you for sharing, and do not feel ashamed. You are still the same amazing, courageous, beautiful, strong, determined, GODLY woman in my eyes!

Chastity said...

I totally agree! This is such an awesome post. I think we all need to be reminded that God loves us matter our past.

Kelly said...

You are incredible Megan. I think of you as the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman. What an amazing testimony you have! I love you, sister in Christ.