And in fear and shame, there sitting in church alone with a pregnant belly and no ring on my finger to justify me…
He met me.
My Heavenly Father was there, waiting for me to come home. Me? Why?
He did so through the telling of a parable that Christ himself had shared while He walked this earth…
He met me right there in all of my shame and guilt. And He did so with a welcome like that which was given for the prodigal son (daughter)!
He met me coming…in fact, He ran to me.
And He clothed me. He covered me. All of my shame and guilt, in the very robe of His own household: the Robe of Righteousness (Christ gave me His).
And He promised me a new life (Christ gave me His).
So here is how I now read that passage, Luke 15:20-24, (You’ll recognize the liberties I’ve taken below in italics, but when I read this scripture with new eyes, I see myself all in it…)
“But while she was still a long way off, her father saw her and was filled with compassion for her; he ran to his daughter, threw his arms around her and kissed her.
“The daughter said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your daughter.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on her. Put a ring on her finger and sandals on her feet…Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
For this daughter of mine was dead and is alive again; she was lost and is found.”
So they began to celebrate…”
He gave me His robe y’all. The robe of His household: Righteousness. For me? And HE put a ring on my finger? He justified me and called me His.
“I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bride dressed for her wedding with her jewels.”
~ Isaiah 61:10~
Though at the time I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what it felt like to be dressed in white, and called pure and beloved; today I am in awe at the beauty of this verse and the imagery of it that only now my soul can begin to grasp. Spiritually, He’d called me this, when I was in the middle of all that. Even before I was this on the outside, He’d called me this on the inside:
And in that undeserved grace and righteousness, that place of kindness that I could not grasp, because I’d done nothing to merit it…
He bestowed His Best upon me at my worst.
I learned what it meant to hide at the foot of the cross; to trust that the reach of its shadow was far enough to cover all of the shame and pain that I wore at each judgmental side glance cast in the direction of my pregnant belly. And that each day, as I wore the evidence of the culmination of all my sinful choices, visibly on the front of me for the next nine months, the Cross was enough to cover all of my sin and shame.
And daily I had to be reminded of that Cross.
That because of it, God had called me pure and spotless.
That Christ’s blood poured out for me had purpose.
That through it, he’d given me His robe (of righteousness) to enable me to hold my head up in those moments- in Christ Alone- and to keep walking.
For the first time in my life, I experienced what it meant to NEED to stand in HIS righteousness in order not to collapse into a puddle of sorrow and fear mid-day.
To rest in who I was in Him; just to make it through the day.
So if ever I seem like a fanatic these days, understand this: that fanaticism flows from a place of deep reverence and love for The One who called me blessed and pure and His, when everyone else called me a failure with stains unwanted.
And in the awe of finding His righteousness, available to me when I needed it most, that’s where surrender first became beautiful…
Sometimes we have to go back to those places, just long enough to be reminded, of just how much we wouldn’t be without Him…
So we CAN press on today. Because His love covers it ALL.