Easter, Faith, healing, joy, Uncategorized

Propelled by joy

Everything felt strange. Nothing about today was ordinary. Nothing about today was going as she had thought it would, and with every passing hour things seemed only to get worse. An eerie quietness settled over her as she stood at the base of the hill, powerlessly watching Him suffer. It was all so surreal. Images of all they had shared flashed before her eyes: the miracles, the love and friendship, the words of life, the simple moments together. Present-moment reality rattled her with a cruel jolt.

Now Jesus, her Jesus, the man she knew and loved, was gone.

Keep moving she urged herself. She had to keep moving or else, fall apart, so she followed them to the tomb, watching as they laid Him to rest. The pain was unbearable, yet she clung desperately to every moment to be near His body.

There were still things to be done before the sun set and Sabbath began. She knew she had to leave Him and run to the market to buy all the spices and oils necessary to honor Him, wanting nothing to delay her return to the tomb on Sunday morning. But leave him? How? Numbness, having replaced the pain, left her paralyzed. Her only consolation was the opportunity to care for Him in death as He had cared for her in life. That was all the fuel she needed. The tasks were accomplished in a determined haze, and now, if nothing else, she could provide a proper burial.

But first, the Sabbath.

How could she possibly rest with Jesus gone? It seemed almost impossible in this moment. A hot flood of memories washed over her again, as she recalled the example He’d set. She managed a half-smile through welled eyes, whispering ‘even now, He’s still caring for me.’ Jesus was her model and no matter what was going on in His ministry, He had known how to rest. She had learned so much from watching Him. He had shown her the freedom and joy found in obedience, in always living in response to the Father’s love. In humble determination to honor the Sabbath in order to honor her Lord, she yielded.
Oddly, the forced rest was good, giving them time to process and grieve. One emotion gave way to another. They were angry—He was innocent! They were confused—why didn’t He fight back? They were resolved—they must keep His ministry going. As they voiced their questions and reflected on all the things He said that hadn’t made sense in the moment, many of His words became chillingly clear. Hadn’t He told them this would happen?

No one slept much those two nights and the moment the sun began to rise on Sunday morning, they made their way back to where His body was lain. What started as a walk, quickly turned into a run. They were desperate to get to Him. Devotion and love carried them the whole way.

But as they approached the tomb, anticipation turned to fear. The ground began to shake; lightning and thunder stopped them in their tracks. They exchanged startled glances. The men who were guarding the tomb fell to the ground, unconscious, the stone pushed aside. The tomb was empty. Jesus was gone. Horror overcame her.

A man (or at least he looked like a man, yet so bright and blinding) appeared and began to speak. His words pierced into her soul. She was in shock but what she heard changed everything. “He’s not here. He’s alive. GO. TELL.” It made no sense but at the same time this was the truest thing her soul had ever heard.

The desperate ache within was telling her to stay—to stay where Jesus had been, but revelation was inviting her to go.

And so, she ran.

Even though she hadn’t seen Him yet, the truth that He was alive propelled her forward with a joy that overpowered her pain and fear. Tears streaming down her face, heart pounding, and her legs moving faster than ever before, she had one goal—find the rest to tell them He was alive! They needed to know. Everyone needed to know. But would they believe her?

She ran without care or concern for her dignity. None of it seemed to matter now that her Lord was alive. Her lungs burned but she kept running. And then, just there, ahead in the distance, she saw Him. She froze. Standing in the middle of the road they locked eyes, and even from afar, she knew it was Him.

Jesus.

Time stood still and nothing else existed in the brilliance of that moment.

She fell at His feet. Her tears soaked them as she poured out her love upon Him—it wasn’t the first time. This was a familiar posture. She didn’t know what to say to Him, her words meant nothing compared to how she felt.

Jesus had met her. He had come for her.

He had come for them and for us.

It was true. He’s alive. Go! Tell!

 

Joyfully,

Season

Published in Joyful Life magazine, Spring Edition 2019.

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abortion, healing

Why I have no shame about having had an abortion

Shocked? Before you react, read on.

I was raised in a conservative Christian home and have loved Jesus since I was very small. My mom was passionate about educating me about the “sin of premarital sex” and how “abortion was murder.” And it worked…for a while. As a teen , I was legitimately terrified to have sex. I was convinced that not only would I be immediately struck down by lightning straight from the hand of God, but that my mother’s sixth sense would inform her and she would also kill me. A double murder, and I would go straight to hell.

Fast forward to age 25.

I was in a committed relationship heading towards marriage and I found myself pregnant. I was using ZERO form of birth control but still totally shocked by this discovery.  Duh, sex works! Naive and in my invincible 20’s, I couldn’t believe what was happening to me.

You would think that based on my love of Jesus, my conservative Christian upbringing, and the fact that I was in a marriage bound relationship, I would have just told my family and given my mother what she always wanted…a grand-baby.

NOPE. I. WAS. TERRIFIED.

Growing up in my home, there was a lot of unintentional projected shame and villanization toward, not only premarital sex, but unwed mothers. I was convinced I would be disowned.

Pause. I have to tell you that that is not the truth. My mother and family would not have reacted this way…but in my fear and unwillingness to see my mother as a compassionate human being (which she was), it was easier for me to keep the truth hidden deep beneath fear.

I reached out to a close friend who I knew had had multiple abortions. Next to my boyfriend, she was the only one I told. In fact, I took the pregnancy test at her house. According to her, the experience was easy, cheap, and not really a big deal. In the fog of fear and selfishness, that seemed like the best way to handle it because “the problem” just needed to go away.

My boyfriend agreed.

I rationalized it in many ways:

  • It’s so early, it’s not really even a thing yet.
  • My Insurance will pay for it so it’s virtually free.
  • We’re going to get married and have kids someday so that’ll make up for it.
  • I have friends who’ve done it and they’re fine! How bad can it be?
  • God will forgive me.

My friend was right. It was quick, easy, virtually painless, and only $250 (which my boyfriend paid for). I was in and out within an hour and we were back at his place to binge watch movies for the day. No one knew, and I was going to keep it that way.

A year later, the day my mom died, one of the first thoughts I had was,

“Well, she knows now.”

The torture of keeping my secret from her was gone. I found some solace in the idea that the grand-baby my mother so desperately wanted was waiting for her in heaven. Strange that I couldn’t acknowledge I was pregnant with an actual baby, but I could imagine that her grandchild was in heaven. It was easier to hold onto the good rather than acknowledge the bad.

Eventually, all my rationale stopped working. My marriage didn’t last long, I never had children of my own, and the pain of my secret was beginning to surface.

I understood that technically I was forgiven. I had repented countless times and had faith in the grace of God to cover my sins. However, I hadn’t released the shame and pain that was associated with having had an abortion. It was just easier to pretend that it didn’t exist, so I never told anyone, and I NEVER used the A-word.

Over the next few years, I embarked on a healing journey to address other pain in my life. I gained freedom from the pain of my divorce and the death of my mother, and I began to understand my worth and value as a daughter of the King. My life was changing dramatically for the better, and all the while, the Lord kept gently extending the invitation to actually “deal with the abortion.”

I became a pastor and was heavily involved in a prayer and healing ministry. I saw the Lord do amazing things to free people from bondage and decided it was time for me to be free. I gathered some trusted friends to walk me through an emotional healing session. I had been apart of many of them and, for the most part, I knew what to expect. The person being prayed for asks the Holy Spirit to highlight a memory that the Lord would like to heal. It is never intended to cause more harm or re-traumatize, but only to reveal God’s goodness and love in a painful moment. The results are powerful.

As we began, I was a nervous. I had convinced myself that while I was forgiven, what I did was just about the worst thing one could do, surely there was no way that the Lord could actually show up during that.

With a deep breath, I asked the Lord to take me to a moment before, during or after my abortion. I expected to see a picture of me sitting in the waiting room, or in the car on the way home. Nope. Immediately, I saw myself smack dab in the middle of the procedure, in the chair, the Dr. doing his thing. And, here’s where it gets crazy, JESUS WAS THERE! He revealed that He was standing right next to me, holding my hand! But it doesn’t stop there,  He brought my mother with him. They were both standing next to me, holding my hand during the procedure.

Now you may be wondering, “What in the world is she talking about!? How is that possible?” The truth is that God is outside of our timeline and it’s totally possible for Him to take us back in our mind to see the spiritual reality of any situation. In my case, the physical reality was that my mother was alive when I had the abortion with no idea about what was happening. But, God in all his grace and mercy brought her with Him to show me how loved I really am.

Every chain shattered in that moment.

The two people who love me the most in all the universe, were loving me right where I was. They weren’t cheering me on, or celebrating what was happening, but they were there with love and compassion. Not one twinge of shame, anger, or condemnation, just love.

That’s how good God is.

Everything changes when King Jesus shows up. Shame is eclipsed when the glory of God shines. There is no room for condemnation when the loving eyes and arms of Jesus are wrapped around you.

I am not proud of my decision and I do not celebrate my choice. I do, however, celebrate the healing and love that is available for all people because of the total and complete forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The truth is that when we are forgiven, it’s not done with a cold shoulder. We are forgiven, loved, hugged, blessed and restored to an intimate and loving relationship with our good Father in heaven.

I have no shame about having had an abortion because Jesus took it all away. And He can do the same for you.

1 out of 3 women have had abortions. If this is you, you do not need to live in shame and hiding. You can be free. Healing and freedom are for you. I am committed to walking with women everywhere through this healing so that you too can celebrate God’s goodness, mercy, and great love.

Live freely and full of joy because of His glory that eclipses all shame.

I am here for you,

Season

book review, healing

Book Review: Loved Baby

The show must go on.

I have spent almost the entirety of my life as a professional performer. I am all too familiar with this saying. I left immediately after my mother’s funeral so I could make it to a dress rehearsal for one show in the afternoon, and perform in another show that night. There was just no time to stop.

Do you ever feel the pressure to just suck it up and move on? There are times in my life where I have had to just swallow my feelings, stuff a reaction to something, or just plain ignore something major because there just wasn’t time to deal. Or so I thought.

Not only have I done this myself, but as a pastor I regularly encounter people on that have experienced something major and their instinct is to hide it and move forward while pretending they are just fine. Most often the reason for this response is that we simply don’t trust ourselves to “go there” because we are afraid of what it may dig up. We often don’t feel safe to grieve and we certainly don’t know how.

As women, we have often been chastised for our emotions  and so we have learned how to squash them, afraid to make waves or cause a scene. So we just move on. We feel the pressure to not drop the ball. We have jobs, families, and responsibilities to attend to and the pain of our experience never really gets the attention it deserves. The truth is, pain is real. Feelings are real. Lost dreams are real. Grieving is vital and I love when something comes along to help us learn how to do it, and do it well.

Loved baby is a 31 day devotional by Sarah Philpott, PhD. Through sharing her own experience and the contributions of those in the Loved Baby tribe, this book meets needs of one who has lost a baby to miscarriage.

What I love about this book is the gentleness in which it is covered. She writes from a place of knowing, caring, and deep faith in a good God. This journey is intended to help you, “move through the loss rather than stepping over it.”

Philpott walks the reader through the emotional and the practical sides of grief. She offers advice on: how to respond to insensitive comments, what to do with the promotional material that will come in the mailbox, the potential pain of mother’s day, the loss of plans and dreams, and even how to love and honor the father in the process.

Loved Baby isn’t overwhelming or threatening. It’s manageable in it’s size and content for each day helping the woman to take slow and grace-filled steps toward healing. It is not overly preachy but it is sensitive to a variety of women in all manner of stages of their faith journey. What I also love is that at the end of each day, she offers a short prayer. I see so much value in helping someone who is grieving by offering an example of what one could pray. People regularly complain that they just don’t know how to pray in moments like these, and this is a gentle and loving way to begin.

There is such a great need for this book! As a pastor I am so thankful for a resource I can recommend to any woman walking through this situation, in fact I have already given it out!

If you have lost a baby, do yourself a loving favor, get this book.

If you know someone who has lost a baby, get this book, and offer hope, healing, and love.

We do not love ourselves or those around us well when we hide, or stuff our emotions. When we experience loss, there is hope and healing. Grieving is not a waste of time.  I am thankful for tools to guide us.

Sharing hope and healing joyfully,

Season

healing

Easy women

“We are easy women!”

This was a discovery a few girlfriends and I made as we were driving home after a getaway. While we were cracking up at our description of ourselves…we also decided that it’s just plain true.

We appreciate each other…no, I take that back, we value each other.  We delight in each other. There are no cutting remarks or eye rolls. There is no positioning for dominance or bullying. We submit to each other and do it with joy. We follow the lead of the one who takes it and we celebrate her for doing it well. We are there to boost, support, and champion each other’s efforts without feeling like we ourselves are being diminished.
We speak boldly, yet with care. We not only give praise, we give and are open to words of influence and even correction. We operate from a place of love and we see the best in each other. Not to mention, none of us takes long to get ready to go in the morning!

As we were basking in the glow of healthy and honoring friendship, we also realized how rare it is. I can say that because I’ve experienced the alternative. I’ve lived the stereotype of catty and shallow friendships. I’ve been hurt and have hurt. I’ve wounded, disappointed, and flat out betrayed women who I claimed to love. I have known the jealousy of others and myself been green with envy.

But the beauty is, friendship with other women doesn’t have to be narrated that way. We can rewrite the story. We can break the agreement we’ve made that we just don’t like women….come on, you know you’ve probably said it or thought it at some point.

But let me tell you what the common denominator is in these healthy friendships. Healing. Yes, healing. The reason we are able to cheer when they succeed, mourn when they hurt, help when they fall, encourage when they fail, and learn alongside them is because we have worked hard to heal the wounds in our own lives. When we are wounded we do whatever we can to protect our wounds. Typically that means we build walls, lash out, or flee in order for there to be no chance for that wound to be touched or harmed in any way. In other words, we hurt each other.

Have you ever had a hangnail on your toe that gets infected? The whole dang foot hurts! Even in bed, the simple pressure of a light sheet hurts! Everything is affected by this little wound. Now imagine the emotional wounds we’ve endured. We like to pretend they are small or that we have done a good job to hide them, but really we just develop ways to cope and maneuver around them and spend our lives walking with a limp and pretending not to notice.

But when we decide to address the wounds and seek healing, things begin to change. Our limp straightens out and we no longer have to protect the wound. It’s a slow process as we realize that that thing that used to hurt so much no longer hurts anymore. It takes a gentle and loving God to reveal the ways in which we have learned to protect ourselves. And it takes trust in that love to begin to lower our guard.

The healing process gives us new lenses to see our lives through God’s perspective. We begin to see God’s grace, protection, love, and opportunities everywhere! These lenses also help us to see others with the same grace and love. We are able to see that God’s great love for others also comes with a big and beautiful plan to prosper and flourish in their lives as well.

I am known for using a phrase quite often, and I want you to use it, believe it, and live by it.

ONE PERSON’S SUCCESS DOES NOT EQUAL ANOTHER’S FAILURE. 

It’s true! One person’s success does not equal another’s failure, and that’s really good news! One woman’s beauty or size doesn’t have anything to do with your beauty or size! One woman’s amazing husband does not have anything to do with your husband, or lack thereof. One woman’s job promotion has no bearing on your success or failure. One women’s success at getting pregnant or bathing and clothing her children with style more regularly than you, has nothing to do with you. That one woman who has what you want right now does not mean that you will never have it!

Let other women off the hook. Give yourself a break. The Lord is just as focused on you as he is on her. Your journey is different than her’s. Your process is different. Be loved. Love well. Heal.

Be easy women and enjoy each other.  We’re pretty great.

Joyfully easy,

Season

Faith, healing, Uncategorized

Dragon breath and scorch marks

Dragon breath sucks…no not the morning kind, the kind that comes in the form of words. Words that feel like evil fire spewing at you from the mouth of another person. So hot and thick that it actually leaves scorch marks.

I have stood face to face with this kind of hot evil breath, and as you may very well know, it does leave a mark. I will share with you the first one I remember, and the most recent one…there have certainly been more.

When I was a senior in high school I took an English class where we write for ten minutes a day. After we were done, the teacher would open it up to anyone who would like to share their writing with the class. As I was sitting with my classmates in a circle, one student decided to share. This girl was someone I had had a long and often dramatic friendship with, and we were currently in a strained season. As she began to read, it became clear that this day wasn’t going to be a good one. She read an open letter to me. I don’t remember too much, only that it was so full of hate and rage that it covered me in ashes. While she read her pages of hatred, tears were streaming down my checks as I sat staring at my desk. The moment she was done, the bell rang. No one moved. The teacher said, “Well, as I’ve said a thousand times, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I was shaking and devastated. I made my way to the drama room (the safest place I knew) and stayed there all day.

“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Most recently, I was in a situation where the hot and scorching breath of hatred came spewing at me, and taking out others in its wake. It felt as if it was happening in slow motion as I stood there processing the moment. I knew that what was coming at me was originating from deep wounds. There was no truth in what was being said so it was easier for me to see the nature of the attack. But, regardless of the nature or validity, the flames burned and have left marks.

I share these moments not to show how victimized I’ve been, but to acknowledge that I too have been guilty of dragon breath. As one with a propensity for words, I know they haven’t always been kind. There have been times when my words have cut to the core. I have spoken death instead of life. I have caused wounds and left scorch marks. While I hate to admit it, I’m just as guilty.

Dragon breath, is speech that comes from deep dark places of personal woundedness. Deep-seated issues like, anger, bitterness, pride, jealousy, self-hatred and shame are a few of the roots that fuel the fire that comes out of our mouths.

I’ve spent a lot of time working to heal my wounds so that dragon fire will no longer spew from me, and while I can say that there has been radical transformation, I am not perfect. I know that as a wife, mom, and friend, I have left marks that have left me ashamed and saddened.

Through my healing process, I have learned to control my tongue, check my heart before speaking, and commit to bring life through my words. But, while this may be my heart’s desire, and though my intentions are pure, I still fail. It’s so frustrating!

I want to be one who only speaks life, not death or fire. I want to be one who brings out the gold in others so they, in turn, begin to speak life, not perpetuate a cycle of pain. I will continue to heal and grow, but that doesn’t mean that I am safe from other’s breath. While there isn’t much beauty in these moments, I have leaned a few things.

The best response is not to match fire with fire. The best response is to remain calm, breathe in truth, and breathe out peace.

It doesn’t matter how “good” you are, there will always be people who find reason to hate you….ummm, remember what happened to Jesus?

You can control your tongue. It begins with examining your heart.

“When she speaks her words are wise, she gives instructions with kindness.” Proverbs 31:26 NLT

I extend an apology to anyone whom I have scorched. I am sorry for any burns I may have caused by my words. Please forgive me, and let the truth from the Lord wipe those scorch marks off you.

Joyfully covered in grace,

Season

Faith, healing, love, sex, and marriage, Uncategorized

The guy that ran (part two)

Remember the story of the guy who ran away from me on a date? If you don’t, check it out here.

Wait, there’s more!!

That guy challenged me in many ways. First, he showed me what hard choices, a desire for holiness, and putting God before himself looked like. He also set a new standard for what I was looking for in a man. I began to think, if I want a guy like that, what kind of woman would a guy like that choose?!  What kind of woman am I? At the time, I was not one who could stand confidently next to someone like that.

Anyhow, he also opened my eyes to the idea of seminary. He had spent the past 20 years of his life in military service and after he retired, he was getting his masters degree from seminary. Now that I write it down, I see the crazy similarities! I was coming to the end of my 20 year career as an actor and, thanks to his example, began to pray about and pursue a seminary education. Seriously I just put that together! The Lord is crazy!

Ok, moving on to how he came back. I spent that summer abroad. The theatre company I worked for took a show to England, and when we were done, I decided that Jesus and I would go on a date to Greece.

It was glorious. A week in Greece with Jesus.

While I was there, I was also finalizing my application for seminary, which I was hoping to begin shortly after I returned from my travels. I felt the need to reach out to, let’s call him “the runner.” I wanted him to know how he, in that brief encounter, had radically changed my life. Since that fateful day on the beach, my divorce was almost final, I had decided to attend seminary, and I had learned so much about myself and the Lord. I felt like the runner needed to know that. Ok, and if I am really honest, I also hoped he would hear all about my growth, email me back, and we’d live happily ever after. Seriously, I checked my email so many times over the next few weeks. No response.

Six months later my life looked very different. I was legally divorced. I had just finished my first semester of seminary. And, I had met a really amazing man on christianmingle.com. Kris and I met online and two days later we met in person. He came to see me in the show I was in and after the show we went out for a late dinner. It was a brief but amazing night. The challenge was, he lived about an hour away and he worked days and I worked nights. We decided to plan an entire day-long date the next week. We were so excited to spend a whole day face-to-face, and the night before, as we were hanging up the phone after midnight, I got an email notification.

I’ll give you one guess as to who that email was from.

YUP! The runner!!! Can you believe it?! I hadn’t seen him or talked to him in nine months, and on the day I was going to go on the most anticipated date of my life, I HEAR FROM HIM!

The email said, “I am sorry I never got back to you. I didn’t know how to feel and I wasn’t sure you were ready to hear from me.” He also wanted to know if I got into seminary, how it was going, and all the other catching up stuff.

I was beside myself. I decided to try to ignore the email and just go on my date and enjoy myself. It was spectacular…but, that’s another blog.

The next day, I got on a plane to spend the week leading up to Christmas in Maine. I swear to you, that week played out like a movie. On the way to Maine, I wrote the runner back. I had done some cyber-stalking and had seen on his internet dating profile that he had met someone, and it looked like he was even engaged. I felt like I could safely email him and tell him all about what had gone on in my life.

We proceeded to email everyday while I was in Maine. We were going back and forth about school, and other lighthearted stuff, but I was starting to really wonder about his relationship status. I was beginning to feel guilty. I would spend the day on the phone building my relationship with Kris, and at night I was emailing with the runner, who I thought was in a relationship.

Christmas day I arrived at the airport at the crack of dawn. I was so excited to go home because Kris had invited me to his home once I landed to meet his daughters. It was going to be a day that would possibly alter the course of my life. And of course, another email comes in.

“Hey, I want you to know that when you get back home, I would like to pick up where we left off nine months ago. I think we really could have something special and I want to pursue a serious relationship with you.”

I just about died. Right there in the airport. Season, laying dead on the ground.

WHAAAAT??!!! Clearly he wasn’t engaged, or dating anyone for that matter. It must have been an old profile. I couldn’t see straight.

What in the world was I to do? I had to make a choice. I was going home to really dive into a relationship with Kris, a man who I knew was the real deal; I was about to meet his children for heaven’s sake! But the guy who nine months earlier rocked my world in one brief and painful date, the very guy that had got away, was now back!

It was an agonizing plane ride. I compared the two very different men from as many angles as I could. Imagining life with both played out like a movie…one girl, two very different lives.

The runner – older than me, had money, lived on the beach, drove a motorcycle, pursuing higher education, never been married, no kids. Looked great on paper. Loved Jesus.

Kris – younger than me, three kids, in ministry, no money, no education, lived in the sticks (that’s what I thought of Temecula). Didn’t look good on paper. Loved Jesus.

Praying. Crying. Praying some more. Who is the right one, Lord?! And then I heard it. The Lord said,

“Season, pick one, I’ll bless it.”

How good is God!? My sweet, gracious, and powerful Lord loves me so much.

For many reasons, too many to ever list, I picked Kris. I never looked back. And how blessed we are!

Joyfully free to choose,

Season

healing, love, sex, and marriage, Uncategorized

How I felt when a guy literally ran away from me on a date

I met this guy online. Our emails quickly turned into a phone conversion and the minutes turned into a few hours of non-stop connection. We decided to meet the next day. I hadn’t met anyone like him since my marriage had imploded, or ever, for that matter. I was nervous and excited.

Our plan was for him to come and meet me at my work and we would go for a walk around Coronado, then to dinner, then he’d see the show I was in. I had a sure-fire plan…it’s hard to resist the beauty of Coronado, and seeing someone you like on stage do their thang is a guarantee to seal the deal!

When he showed up, we nervously hugged, and began our stroll down the charming streets and toward the beach. We both knew that this meeting was important. It was clear that our hearts were already aligned toward the Lord and  I was sure that this date was the beginning of something big. While I was excited to get to know him better, I had an agenda for our conversation.

You see, I was still legally married.

In my mind and heart I had been divorced for a long time. We had been separated for well over a year, and before that, we lived as roommates for two years. The actual filing for divorce hadn’t happened yet because we were comfortable and it hadn’t seemed that important. My sort-of-ex husband and I saw each other every day because we worked together at the theatre. We were great as exes and neither one of us had thought to legally file for divorce.

My plan was to nonchalantly slip into the conversation, “Oh and by the way, you may notice that one of the guys in the play tonight has my last name. It’s because he’s actually my ex-husband…almost. No big deal, right?” Frankly, I had planned to bring it up at dinner, once we had spent the afternoon together and really sealed our bond.

Ah, the best laid plans.

About 20 minutes into our walk, we made it to the sandy Coronado beach. Just as we began to find our stride, our conversation had turned into a rapid-firing of questions in order to learn as much as we could about each other in a short amount of time. Without knowing what was about to go down, he asked me if I had ever been married. It was a fair question. I was in my early 30’s, he was about ten years older than me. My answer, “Yes, and you?” “No” he said. He followed up with three questions, “How long were you married, when did you get divorced, and what happened?”

Frankly, I don’t remember what I said. The rest replays in my mind in blurry slow motion where I can feel but I can’t really hear. All I know is that as I began to explain my current status, he interrupted me with the record scratch question that changed my life. “Wait, so you’re still married?” With that question, we turned on a dime and began to run-walk back in the direction we came. I remember talking as fast as I could to try to explain, spin, and convince him that it was all fine.

When we made it to his motorcycle, he looked at me as he put his helmet on, and said something to the effect of, “I cannot be here with you. You’re still a married woman, and I think you’re still angry.” And with that, he speed away.

“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” 2 Timothy 2:22 NLT

I was left standing there, gutted. Tears and a deep sense of loss and conviction came welling up and out of me. I got it together long enough to perform that night, but on stage was the only time that I didn’t weep for days.

You see, I was in mourning. Yes, I mourned the loss of a potential relationship with a man who had rocked my world and set a new standard for any man who would come close to me. But what I really mourned was the rebellion and sin of dishonoring my heavenly Father, my husband (regardless of our status or his behavior, we were still legally married), and myself….oh the shame and guilt.

I was so sad but I was also incredibly challenged. I saw a glimpse into what it looked like to live in purity and actually flee from sin. Unfortunately, in this case, I was the sin and temptation, but I had felt the grace and forgiveness from the Lord to move forward in a new deep understanding and desire for that kind of purity.

With a deep desire for healing and cleansing from sin, I sought the Lord. I was bathed in his righteousness and met a new person. Myself. I discovered a new side of myself, one that took great joy in purity and the pursuit of holiness that came through a closeness to Jesus.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

The best part? I didn’t miss out. After healing, a finalized divorce, and a confidence in myself as a bride of Christ, the Lord brought me another man.

I also met Kris online. This man not only met, but far surpassed the new standard. He is a man who values the same kind of purity and closeness with Jesus…and is seriously good-looking!

Purity and holiness are not meant to bring you down. They do not exist to keep you from having fun or limiting your choices. Instead, they are the things that bring you the most freedom. Purity is a choice. Holiness is a gift. Purity is best demonstrated through Jesus’ life, and holiness is possible only because of Jesus’ death.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Mathew 5:8

It’s not every day that a man literally runs away from a date. I’m so thankful for that man and even more thankful for my Jesus who was there to meet me with forgiveness and holiness.

Joyfully Walking in Purity,

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