Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting it Right

Keeping secrets can be the hardest thing in the world to do, especially when you are a child. But when fear is attached to that secret, and threats hang like thunder clouds over your head, it comes much easier. And as time passes, the winds of time blow more and more dirt and sand over things to where nothing can be seen.
And we think it no longer matters. It’s past. Long past. . . Until someone comes with a shovel and begins digging right where we buried the secrets!

It was a Saturday night, the end of a week of evangelistic meetings in our church, and this was Youth Night. As a group of young people, we all sat together just as we always did. We grew up together since cradle roll. We were all friends. The music was great and we sang lively songs for that time period of the early 60’s. And then came the message of the evening. The speaker gave a message about purity and God’s standards for our lives concerning sex and marriage. It led up to an invitation that would change my life forever, something that God never meant to happen, I’m sure. I will never forget that horrible night as long as I live. Even now, I can feel that nervous stomach, that lump in my throat, the hot eyes, the quivering of my lips. I hoped no one noticed. The man in the suit with arms outstretched begged each of us to come forward and promise before God and those present in the audience that we would remain pure for the one we would one day marry. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want their teenager to hear that and respond????

I stood there and in those few moments of decision making, my life flashed in front of me. As quick as a flash of lightening, that covered grave of secrets burst forth, up in my face, and I knew I could never make that promise to God. I had never heard about abuse, never heard it spoken. I was sure that this had happened only to ME! I only knew I was unclean, impure, used, and dirty. Could I just stand there and say no while everyone else went to the front of the church and said yes? I found my way. I thought it was God giving me an escape. I COULD make the promise -- all I had to do was promise God I would never get married, and that way I would never mess up any nice Christian guy’s life. And so there I was, in all my mistaken understanding of who God was, making a life decision in secret between me and Him. And I’m sure Satan himself smiled!

For years and years I kept that secret. No one ever knew and surely I would never tell. But there is something so precious and amazing in how the Lord works to make sure one day we just get it right. We don’t hear with our ears --- or even our hearts at times. Most of the time, what we hear is filtered through the experiences of our lives, and we interpret things to fit where we have been, what has been done to us, who we know, what we have been taught by parents and teachers and peers. If it doesn’t fit just right, we don’t hear it.

But then it happens. And the Lord takes me by surprise. One day, as I was sitting in church, we were singing the song, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” I think I knew that song all my life. I didn’t need the hymnbook --- I knew all the words to all the verses. So there I stood, singing away, when all of a sudden the words to that verse hit me like a spear through my heart: “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless I stand before the throne.” Could that be??? Could that POSSIBLY be???

My pastor at the time was doing a series of messages called, “On These We Stand.” He did a wonderful job on going through the main doctrines of salvation, justification, sanctification, etc. But I will never forget that same day, he spoke on how we stood before God and how He saw us as perfect. Dressed in white. Pure. All because of Calvary. I knew that. But why didn’t I KNOW that????

Do you know what that means to a little girl who thinks she’s dirty, unclean, used, and broken??? The little girl who wondered if the angels were watching? The same little girl who stared at the mural on the wall of the cross that bridged the chasm of sin and Hell? I had carried a burden of untruth for so long that I was never meant to carry. Since that day, my whole life changed as I saw God -- not as my stern, strict judge, but rather as my loving, compassionate Father who loves me and sees me perfect. Isn’t that the most amazing thing???!!!! Even more amazing is what it cost Him. To think that price paid was His only Son, just so I could wear a spotless robe of white. . . Thank you, Father!


Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

Cora, it amazes me to know that when we ask for forgivness, to GOD it never happen. We as humans cant fathom that but GOD's word tell us so. Satan keeps telling us lies to keep us in deep torment. We are freed from the past because of JESUS and his shed blood and with confession of the mouth we are made whole. It was difficult for me to understand that for so many years but until I gave my life without reservations I could not feel that bondage lifted. GOD is truly amazing to love us the way he does and to actually feel it, Its overwhelming.

GOD bless and keep you safe. You are a blessing to all that know you.

Debbie said...

Well Cora, your post was pretty amazing to. (Thanks for your great comment on my blog and I hope I can keep up that subject as it seems to have touched a few people). I too was one of those little girls. For years I thought it was just me and that something I did caused it and I could not talk about it. As I grew up, the subject became much more open and I found out that many of my friends and both my sisters were abused by relatives. Different ones! When I was teaching a ladies Bible class in prison, the majority of the women in my classes claimed to have been sexually abused as children. If anything good came out of it for me it was being extra careful who I allowed access to my two little girls. They are both grateful!
I am so sorry that this happened to you and to me but thankful and glad that our lives have been changed by Christ. Wonderful to be free of the guilt and shame, because we didn't do anything wrong.

Kristin Bridgman said...

Oh Dear Cora,
That book is good for you isn't it? :)
And you are good for so many people. I know that in your openess you are going to help so many. I 'm so sorry for what you went through as a young girl, but am praising our Savior that you finally heard the truth. To know that you did not do anything wrong, that you are pure, and right, and lovely not only to Him but to all of us that know you and are getting to know you. I'm so glad I am one of those!
You are loved! :)

Lea said...

Dressed in PURE WHITE!
Cora I hadn't read this until after you commented on my blog just now.

Thankyou for sharing your story with all of us. I hate what you must have went through dear friend! I can't even begin to imagine anything like that. -- But... In Christ you are strong.
Pure white.
I love ya girl!
Eagle wings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Farmhouse Blessings said...

You are free indeed dear sister!

Paula said...

WOW~ what a powerful story, Cora! God has given you quite a testimony through your life. Thank you for sharing it and blessing us with it.

Patty Sumner said...

Cora, this is so powerful and so gut-honest. Our God loves us in spite of who we are. In spite of what we have done or what has been done to us. So many women go through life with this deep dark secret not understanding that our loving Father wants to free us! How amazing, He wants to free us! Satan, our enemy wants us to feel trapped and to see us smoother under the guilt and shame. It is when women like you share things like this that Satan..well, he just gets slapped in the face! Praise the Lord for your freedom to share this story and to share how our Lord freed you! Blessings, My sister and thank you!

Beth in NC said...

I wish I could hold that little girl who was abused and overwhelm her with safety and love. I am so sorry you were abused. I am thankful that you are a VICTOR and an OVERCOMER! I am grateful for the blood of Jesus that covers the sins that I actually controlled. You were innocent. Either way - we are clean before our Father.

God bless you for sharing your heart with us.


Jennifer said...

Oh, Cora, what a light you are! My heart breaks for the broken and lonely little girl in your past but I am SO THANKFUL for His covering of grace and healing written on your heart today. The Light of Truth and Love is pouring from you, Cora. And He is healing others with your testimony. Blessings to you, my brave friend!

Debra said...

You truly are a blessing in my life, Cora.

Miz Liz said...

Wonderful Cora, you got this RIGHT. So very right. It took so very long for me to understand it was what my Jesus did on the cross that mattered, not what others did to me behind closed doors. Thank you, precious friend for your courage of honesty to proclaim the truth of God's amazing, sweet, precious love that made me righteous in His sight. What a beautiful woman you are. Love, Liz

jack said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.