Who Am I Part 2

I thought my divorce was justifiable. I thought it would be freeing. The problem was I was still a slave. I was still blind. My circumstances may have changed but I was still the same. I just kept hiding and lying. I was running out of places to hide all of my lies so I just started wrapping them up with pretty satin bows and metallic wrapping paper. I was packaging this new relationship with half-truths (still whole lies).

I was trying to make this new guy (Mickey), the one I was cheating with, not look too bad. We don’t look to bad in that picture do we? We were. We were a mess. We’d look like any other normal couple which was just what I was going for. And I certainly didn’t want anyone to know the truth so I kept wrapping up those lies. S

ince the divorce was final we could officially date without to many raised eyebrows. And I was ready for that. I was ready to introduce him to my family. I was ready for my new life to start and my old life to stay far behind me.  I was ready to move on from my divorce like nothing happened, like I hadn’t broken vows or destroyed a covenant with God, like I hadn’t hurt people or severed relationships.

All I cared about was escaping moral prejudice. I wanted to squash any rumors about how quickly we got together and what may or may not have happened while I was still married; so I perpetuated a lie that nothing had been going on while I was still married.

I treaded lightly with my family for a little while. They were still healing and reeling from the divorce. I wouldn’t dare throw that “affair” grenade too. Even though I knew they were hurting, I was in love and happy and just wanted them to move on and get over it. I was living so selfishly (if you hadn’t already surmised). They weren’t ready but I pushed anyway. They wanted time but I had no sympathy. Let’s clean it up. Let’s make it look perfect. Let’s package this carefully so everyone will buy it. I was still hiding. I was still living in a world of “shoulds” and “should nots”.

And then, just before Christmas I found out I was pregnant.

Have you ever had to untie a necklace, string or rope that was a jumbled mess of knots? Have you ever had do it when you were in a hurry? That’s how it felt in those weeks. I was trying to undo a whole bunch of knots all at once, all by myself. My world had turned upside down. I was crumbling under the weight of this world I had built box by box, check mark by check mark.

I wanted to run and hide and conceal and do anything to make it not true. I couldn’t bear the thought of my parents knowing for certain that their good, Christian daughter wasn’t innocent and holy and pure like they had assumed.  I didn’t want to further mar an already tainted image from my recent divorce. I didn’t want to confirm their worst fears. I was too afraid. I felt trapped by all those lies, all that hiding, all those secrets. I couldn’t package this any other way. The minutes and hours that made up those days were horrible. I have never felt as defeated, humiliated and ashamed as I did then. I started realizing the only way to untie the knots, to find some freedom was to tell the truth. All of my worst fears were being realized. My sin exposed. My parent’s seeing me at my worst. Their trust betrayed. I was sick.

Oh and Mickey was in the middle of all of this with me.  He was scared out of his mind too. One night I tried to pretend I was really tough. I wanted to offer him a way out. I said to him, “I understand this is a shock and we haven’t been dating for very long. So, if you want out, that’s ok. I’ll raise the baby myself. But if you want to stay and you think I’m the one for you then we need to make this right and talk to my parents.” I was terrified. He could’ve walked away but he didn’t. We had both made a mess of each other’s lives and we were about to bring a baby in to that mess.

I reverted to the only thing I thought could save me and I prayed panic prayers.  They were desperate pleas for a merciful God. I wasn’t sure that I wanted Him to answer me. I wasn’t sure that He was very happy to hear from me. I wasn’t sure if He would be a loving or vengeful God. I just wanted to know that He was still there, like my kids do when I am outside the stall in a public restroom. They want to know that I haven’t left them there in that nasty place, all alone. I was calling for Him because I was certain no one else would stay in there with me, in that prison, in those chains but I was hoping He would.

A couple of weeks later we went over to my parent’s. We had prepared our statements. I was ready for long explanations. I was ready for accusations. I was ready for scary questions. I was ready for hurt feelings. I was ready for angry words. I was prepared for tears of disappointment. I was prepared for them to need time to process. I was prepared for pretty much every version except the one I got.

Mickey looked my dad right in the eyes and told him we were pregnant. Silence. Then he explained that he loved me and wanted to marry me. He explained that he would make sure I was loved. More silence. We both apologized for disappointing them. Oh the silence. It seemed eternal. I was shak-ing. My parent’s looked at each other. They choked up a little and my dad said, “It’s not the way we would’ve wanted you to start your life together but we love you. We welcome you to the family, Mickey. We can’t wait to meet our newest grandbaby.” I wept. I cried tears of sorrow and joy. I cried tears of regret and hope. I cried tears of pride and humility. I finally crumbled,  right at the feet of Jesus.

They could’ve reacted so differently. Instead they poured the same love and grace they’ve received a time or two onto us. In that moment my parent’s displayed the unconditional love of Jesus. I hurt them, I disappointed them, and they loved me anyway. They didn’t quote God’s word, they lived it. They did what great parents do, what they had done so many times before( except this time I received it in my heart) they handed God’s love to us.

And that was all and everything it took. THAT was it. Do you know what invaded my prison- world in that moment? Grace. Mercy. Jesus. Grace that I wasn’t worthy to receive. Mercy that withheld a judgment that I deserved. And my sweet Jesus, who took those nails in His hands for me, for this moment, because He wanted me back. He wanted me to know the depths of His love for me. He wanted me to understand that however desperately I longed for freedom paled in comparison to how desperately He wanted me to be free from the sin that bound me. So He had been waiting in that prison holding bolt cutters. He had been waiting for me to see Him. Him, who had always been with me, who would never leave me, who knew every shameful thing I had done. He was waiting for this moment too. He couldn’t wait for me to show Him my sin, to hold up my shackled hands so he could cut the chains. And with all His power and love He took those bolt cutters to my chains and Clang….Clang….they were no more. And in that moment His love, His sacrifice, His forgiveness became personal.  He became MY Jesus, MY Savior, MY Lord, MY Redeemer, MY Rescuer all at once.  I had faith in Him. It was immediate and overwhelming and it meant that I was forgiven. I was forgiven before I had even repented.  I was never the same.

Psalm 32:1-7

It is a great blessing
    when people are forgiven for the wrongs they have done,
    when their sins are erased.[a]
2 It is a great blessing
    when the Lord says they are not guilty,
    when they don’t try to hide their sins.

3 Lord, I prayed to you again and again,
    but I did not talk about my sins.
    So I only became weaker and more miserable.
4 Every day you made life harder for me.
    I became like a dry land in the hot summertime. Selah

5 But then I decided to confess my sins to the Lord.
    I stopped hiding my guilt and told you about my sins.
    And you forgave them all! Selah

6 That is why your loyal followers pray to you while there is still time.
    Then when trouble rises like a flood, it will not reach them.
7 You are a hiding place for me.
    You protect me from my troubles.
You surround me and protect me,
    so I sing about the way you saved me. Selah

There is one last piece of this story to share. That comes tomorrow. Thank you for reading.