Sunday, April 19, 2015

Floral Shorts and Muscadines Remind Me of His Mercy

A while back my mom took my sister and I shopping at a Spring sale Old Navy was having. Styles are cycling back around and what was once popular when my Mom was a girl is once again becoming the latest trend. Many of the prints and colors were familiar to me. Mostly I remember the shoes from Mom's closet but I guess when we were younger we also had some old hand me downs, mostly dresses. I got a pair of navy blue shorts with pink and blue flowers plastered onto it. I like them a lot but whenever I look at them I cant help but remember the hideous dresses Mom used to make me wear when I was little. They had flower print just like my shorts and one had big puffed sleeves and soft gathers at the hem so my dress looked like that one sleepy cartoon dog - Droopy is it? - Anyways, I don't know why but I had so many floral print dresses and I hated them all. I swore I would never ever wear dark colored with medium sized contrasting flowers on top clothes... especially dresses. Now here I am wearing a pair of shorts that if they were a dress I would immediately throw into the donate pile. Go figure.

The other day my brother was listening to country music and one of the lines in the song is "sweeter than muscadine wine" How many of y'all know what a muscadine is? Well you won't have to wonder long because I'll tell you. They're summer. They are komorebi (the soft light that turns leaves into glowing fireflies). They're the gentle breeze that sneaks under the thick vines and cools a little girls legs but not her sweaty brow. She is almost completely out of sight under the thick growth, her waist and legs rest in the moist dirt as the rest of her strains reaching up and up, to the very center of the friendly vines where she plucks the very last fruit. She collapses and rests on her elbows that are digging into the soft earth and plops the muscadine into her mouth. She sucks on it and then pulls it out and carefully begins peeling off the skin to reveal the green inside. It matches the glowing leaves. Finally she eats it. Muscadines are the perfect day.

It's funny how certain colors, or sounds, or something that you see will bring back memories that you thought were insignificant. I mean really, who cares about the dresses I used to wear? Somehow though, thinking about those dresses opens a sort of hall of memories full of doors and as I walk down some of them are locked and some of them are left standing open. When I come to a locked door I can peek through the keyhole and see just the tiniest scrap of a time long ago. Maybe it's a sound, or a phrase, sometimes even a hazy figure of someone forgotten. I wish I could get in there! I think if I had the right key I could discover what is really behind those doors.

Through some of those keyholes though, is something painful. I know exactly what it is because I was the one who shoved it into that room, I slammed the door, locked it and threw the key away.

Or so I thought.

Sometimes I find that these painful memories just explode right in my face. Maybe it's a song, that brings it all rushing back, or maybe a certain word, or a photo. I guess that's why I like to remember things, stories from my life before all the ugliness decided to stop hiding and to come out and terrify a young girl instead. Maybe that's why I like writing about the little things that happen to me now. Maybe I am trying to save these good memories in an effort to cover up the bad. Shopping with Mom that Tuesday was a walk down that hallway. Most of the doors I came to were happy memories but somehow even the ugliness of sin had managed to poison those glad times. The shorts that make me think of the dresses remind me of a time where there were secrets. The shoes make me think of Mom's closet which reminds me of still more pain and fear. (Don't worry, I wasn't locked in the closet and beaten or anything like that) Even though I remember so many good times, so many smiles and fun and good adventures, the reality is my life has been poisoned by sin.

The only way to get the poison out is through Jesus Christ. He is my Redeemer, my Rescuer. I am so grateful for His love, His patience, for how He never gave up on me even when I turned my back on Him. Slowly but surely God is sucking the poison from my life and is replacing it with love. Let me tell you, God works miracles because now when those hard times are the only thing my brain can focus on at the moment, even though it is still painful, it is no longer with horror that I remember that past. I no longer fear being swallowed alive by it. Now I remember that past more with amazement at what He has done through those times.

Yahweh's mercies are new every morning.

I write about what once was. I write about what used to be true. I write honestly, no sugar coating the past, no filtering the emotions, just the truth. Sometimes I feel that being so open about my feelings can be perceived as being theatrical or dramatic, or maybe even exaggerated; but I keep writing because I believe its important for people to know the truth, to know that Christians are not some perfect little doll. The fact is, we are made from clay, we're like porcelain dolls. All of us have cracks, some of us have holes, and some of us have even been shattered to thousands of pieces. The one thing we have in common though is our Father, the Potter, who mends our brokenness and is making us into someone beautiful. That's the real reason I like to write about my life, I can see and remember His mercies. 

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