It is the 14th of July in 1999 and what a day it has been so far. God has out done himself this time to communicate something to me. My, how I love and adore him. Why does he take so much time to teach me about life and love? Why does he concern himself with me so much?
There is a story I need to tell, one I should write in here, but it is a long one. The Lord has taught me an amazing lesson in faith and love and grace through Mary.
She came and sat next to me for the rest of the plane ride into Norfolk. She laid her head in my lap. I played with her hair. She rubbed my fingers against her lips. And we talked. We talked about how everyone had gotten so worldly after Santa Monica and how she seemed to have more faults than I had realized. She said I had to accept her for the way she was. I told her there must be something wrong with that attitude; that it just didn’t seem right, that it focused more on serving the self than it did honoring and respecting those we were in close relationship with. After I said that, she let her guard down, and we actually got to have a lovely talk again. She got off the plane in Richmond and I had a good feeling about our relationship; that it just might hold promise for the future.
Well, Sterling, Christin, Brandon, and Jason from the youth group picked me up at the airport. I went to church that night and felt the Lord. I worked on Monday and then spent the night at Jason’s house along with Brandon. We had a great time.
Tuesday night, the Master’s Commission group came and we did a service at Parkway. I attended and afterwards Sterling and Rebekah and I went to see Tarzan.
While at church, Mary and I talked a little sweet to each other and last night, before midnight, she called me from Erica’s house in Norfolk. We talked until two this morning. And… I just learned a lot about her past and who she is now and how no one else really knows her because they put her up on a pedestal. I suppose I am guilty of that as well.
Mary’s mother left her when she was nine months old. She grew up around her father and brother, which she said made her more cold-hearted. She said her mother wasn’t an affectionate person and didn’t start seeing her again until she was 9-years-old. She told me stories about sexual abuse from a family member and that she grew up in the church, but didn’t experience true salvation until she was 14. But, in both high school and college, things went too far with some different boyfriends, and these experiences broke her completely.
When she confessed all this to me, my throat turned into a rock and my body began to shake. I did have high expectations of who she was, or who I wanted her to be I guess. I was disappointed in myself for setting such a high standard and for doing to her what everyone else has done: putting her up on an insanely high pedestal. Our conversation got a bit funny and awkward and then the cordless phone she was on lost power and we got cut off. We didn’t get to say goodbye. I just went to sleep nearly in tears.
I went to work this morning and found myself playing our conversation over and over in my head. After work, when I was running some errands, I felt the Lord say, “Go to Parkway.” I did and the Master’s Commission team was there getting ready to leave for North Carolina. I had no idea they were going to be there, so long story short…Mary and I got a chance to talk.
I was the first guy to come along since she broke things off with the previous guy and rededicated her life to God. I was the testing ground of a newly healed and wanting-to-trust heart. Through her story I have learned that there is not a perfect girl out there, but that we are all in the process of being made perfect through the love and grace of Jesus.
Mary and I have both been redeemed. As has everyone else.
I do not understand it, I only accept it.