Thursday, February 26, 2009

My story...

I love to learn about people. I love to hear their stories. I think in today's society we focus so much on ourselves that we miss the rich and vibrant lives around us. We miss the pain and the joy, the sorrow and the triumph.

My blog is my story. I share parts of my life with any who will listen. Not all of my stories are happy nor are they all sad. Of course, there are also parts I don't share. The parts that are too private, too personal, too painful.

I want to share one of those stories with you now. This is no easy thing I do. But I feel there are others out there who can learn from my mistake...and my subsequent restoration.

When I was 14, I signed a True Love Waits vow. My parents gave me a special ring that I wore to help me remember my vow. It has always been important to maintain my sexual purity until marriage. And I did so until this past December.

At the age of 27, I gave the most precious gift I had, my body, to someone who was not my husband. I did this out of a rebellious heart towards God. I did it out of loneliness. I did it because I thought I was taking charge of my life. I did it because I thought it would make him love me.

These actions, and his subsequent rejection of me, led to tremendous emotional damage. I became very depressed. At one point, I had thoughts about death that scared me. It was affecting my work, my relationships with other people and my desire to live. As you read on, please remember that I hold no ill will towards the man.

I have since made my peace with God. I know he has forgiven me. I am still working on forgiving myself but I get closer everday. He has restored my faith and my confidence. I am a new woman.

I recently met another man. His name is Wisdom and the name fits him perfectly. He has amazed me, inspired me, encouraged me. He is a man of God and I respect him deeply. As we are starting our relationship, we are trying to be completely honest with each other. In keeping with this, I told him what I had done. I was afraid because of his faith in God that he would be appalled at my sin. Instead, he accepted me with open arms.

I had given my ring to the man I had slept with because I could no longer wear it. After meeting Wisdom, I wanted to recommit to being celibate and I wanted another ring to help me remember. In order to do this, I had to tell my mom. That is one of the hardest conversations I have ever had with her. I was so afraid she would be disappointed in me. Instead, she empathized with my pain and rejoiced at my forgiveness.

The next time we talked, I told Wisdom about the ring and how I wanted to get another. He offered to send me the money. I told him I couldn't let him do that because I didn't feel right taking his money. He was very adamant and told me he wanted to help me recommit myself. He told me it would be an honor to do this for me. I was moved to tears. I had no choice but to let him help me.

I now wear the ring proudly. It has so much meaning. It is actually two rings that are meant to be worn together. They are both very simple rings. One of them has a garnet to symbolize Christ's blood for me. And because I am a literary person, it reminds me of the scarlet letter of Hawthorne fame. The second has a white sapphire to symbolize the cleansing of my sin. I know without a doubt I have been forgiven.

That is my story. I hope it inspires you or convicts you. What is your story? I would love to hear it. Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Role models...

Today I have been a teacher, a student, a friend, a co-worker. I have been a chair, an octopus, an omnivore, an encourager. I have been flattered, frustrated, joyous, tired, hungry. I have been so many things today and that was before lunch!

We are complex creatures. We feel; we think; we live. Have you ever stopped to think about all the roles you play in the lives of the people around you? Let me give you an example. Take my teaching partner. Today, I have been her teaching partner, her co-worker, her friend. That's just in the last five hours.

Stop to think about the impact you may have on someone and not even know it. Not all roles are postive. You can be someone's enemy, someone's problem, someone's bully. I believe our lives are all connected. Every action we do has an affect on someone, somewhere.

Mind boggling, isn't it? Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Musings of a wondering heart...

The air is thick and sweet with moisture today. There is a chill breeze blowing across the city. Heavy gray clouds hang in the sky like pieces of conversation. Occasionally, they share a word or two with us.

The promise of spring is teasing me, kissing my hair, caressing my cheek. Winter quickly slaps away its hand, but the memory lingers.

I long for sunny days and warm nights. I long for time with friends, laughing and enjoying each other's company. I long for flip flops and shorts. I long for summer.

Having been born in the summer, I am a child of the summer. I need the sunshine to make it through the day sometimes. I need the longer days. I feel sick and weak when the sun sets at five o'clock in the evening.

Winter is always hard for me. Especially January when it seems the sunshine is dying and the world will never wake from its icy slumber. I often have to fight depression and loneliness during this time.

But spring is around the corner and soon the sounds of birds and the smell of fresh grass will overwhelm my senses again. Spring always brings with it the promise of new things and fresh starts.

I think I will go to China this summer with my church. They go every year to work at an orphanage and fellowship with college students. It would not be an easy trip. I will have to raise close to $3000. I will have to miss the family reunion and a wedding. The emotional toll will be great. I have a soft, kind heart that is easily bruised by the cruelty and despair around me. But I feel I need to go.

That restlessness is settling into my bones again. The desire to just drive and see where I end up. Last time that happened, I quit my job, spent 10 weeks in Greenville SC, worked a month in Alabama and then moved to Alabama. I wonder where it will take me this time. But it is different this time. This time, I don't want to do it alone.

I'm finding I don't want to do alot of things alone. Watching movies, eating out, driving. There have been times when my bed seems so big and empty, even though it is only a full size. I am even beginning to not like being in my apartment alone. When the weather is nice enough, I will sit on my balcony just to listen to the world around me.

I suppose I have no more musings for you today. I am sure I could think of some but it is time for me to meet with my family for a meal. Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Silky, beautiful locks...

As some of you know, I am in the process of growing out my hair to donate to Locks of Love. My hair was a considerable length but the last 4 or 5 inches were dry, brittle and badly damaged. I had been meaning to have it trimmed for some time but I always ran out of time or money.

I was talking to my Sunday School teacher last week about my desire to donate my hair but how I wanted to make sure I donated healthy, usable hair. She informed me she had gone to cosmotology school and would be more than happy to trim my hair for free.

So yesterday evening I went to her house and told her to take off all the dead ends which is exactly what she did. My hair is now about 5 inches shorter but it looks so healthy and pretty. I have had so many comments on it today. It feels really short to me but it is still below my shoulders.

In order to donate it, I have to have 10 inches. I still have about 2 or 3 inches to grow before I can donate, but with the help of Jennifer (she has offered to continue trimming it and help with the donating process), I don't think it will take that long. My hair grows pretty fast. Thanks for reading.