"How can I bear to live?" the lady - a guilty tortured soul - asked the empty room around her as she sat with head in her hands and guilt eating away at her soul. She would have asked God, but felt too dirty, too unclean to dare speak to her Creator and judge. Oh, she felt so judged, but that was nothing new. Her entire life she had been judged by the churches that asked her family to leave for trifling reasons. She had been judged by strangers who looked at her and thought they knew what they saw, and further wounded a struggling child. She had been judged and found wanting and rejected by her mother and been turned out upon the tender mercies of the world.
But she did not consider these things to be excuses, nor did she think she deserved anything less than the full punishment for her mistakes. Mistakes that she knew were wrong from the beginning. Situations she knew she ought to leave, and stayed. And the worst of all in her eyes - a man she knew was too close to her, and she to him, and she did not stop.
The lady - scarcely more than a young girl - felt all these weigh heavily on her soul, and she shook and wept as the full enormous realization of her intense wrongdoing crushed her. She was aware that she did not deserve anyone's good opinion, that all her good works she had labored for meant nothing in the face of her deceit and secrets that had now gotten so burdensome for her that she could no longer bear to be silent.
Her companion in her guilt was a further thorn. He did not see their sin the way she viewed it, and his silent disapproval of her ashamed tears was worse than a lash taken to her back. Oh, he knew they oughtn't to have indulged in the flesh. He was aware that he ought to have stopped, ought not have continued taking advantage of the girl who was so attached to the one person who had proved his desire for her and her alone that she felt as if she were in the wrong to deny him anything, even things he knew were wrong to do.
His method of recovery: Get over the fact that it happened. If you can't control it, it's meant to be.
Her reaction to this: Disbelief and grief.
Hence her private guilt and tears. Without a confidante in whom to confide she was lost, utterly without a guide. A name flashed to mind; a casual friend. The same beliefs were shared, she was sure, but could she bring herself to ask for help?
She left her isolation and sought out the one person she had pinned her hopes onto and poured out her heart, hesitantly at first, and then when she was received well, she told everything and waited, like a willing prisoner who will hand their jailer a scourge and bare their own back for the beating, for her verdict. The message of love and redemption she received was too good for her to believe, at first. She asked again and again how it could be that one such as her could be forgiven again? The reply - the battered man on a cross. Tears again rolled down her stained cheeks as she knelt in the presence of a Spirit greater than herself and knew forgiveness could be hers.
"Father, I did not know that forgiveness was possible for one such as I. Redemption - a word foreign to one such as myself. For the love of your Son that freely gave him life for a worthless sinner such as I, my life I spread at your feet as the only gift I can bring to you. Everything I am, my tattered and battered self, it is Yours. Use me as you see fit and at the end of life, I trust in your mercy and providence to give me what I have earned. Forgive me, Father."
Waves of love crashed over her such as the emotionally orphaned girl experienced the love of a Father such as she had never known a taste of on earth. The scattered bits and pieces of her shattered heart began to come together from the mud where they had been trampled on by careless passerbys. They were tenderly gathered from where she had cast them out of ignorance and self-loathing and a false sense that she was undeserving of good things. She fell on her face before the Throne of grace and lifted her hands and praised the One who would never leave, nor forsake her.
The girl never left the Throne Room; she was transformed into the dwelling place of the Almighty, and in her actions and deeds she strove to reflect the greatness, grandeur and love of the Father. As she went about her life, she prayed that as she lifted the Son high, he would draw all men to himself. She longed to be one with her Savior, and to let his light shine through her to share the story of redemption with tattered souls such as herself who still lived in misery and darkness.
As she left her confidante, rejoicing and praising the Savior, the rainy, gray day ceased to bog her spirits, and she danced as she walked, arms flung out to catch the droplets with delight in the gift of water in the autumnal replenishment of the earth. Songs of praise burst forth from her lips and she sang, worshiping as she went along, hand in hand with her heavenly Father. Long-forgotten hymns came to mind and she sang one after the other, delving into the old truths and beautifully expressive lyrics penned long ago by her fellow lovers of Yahweh.
"Jehovah-jireh! Your grace is sufficient for me." She exclaimed and she stopped and threw her face skywards and quoted from memory words she thought she had lost forever.
"You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for ever more."