Have you ever read Pilgrim’s Progress? If you haven’t read it I would highly recommend picking up a copy and experiencing the journey young Pilgrim takes as he navigates through life.
I bring up this book to talk about a specific point in the book, how Pilgrim found an easier way through the tough stuff of life and stepped off the Narrow road and onto the broad, more comfortable path through “bypath meadow”. How often do I do the exact same thing. All throughout Scripture we read of how the Israelites honored the Lord, then became complacent, followed by rebellion then repentance again. I am no different.
I’d like to think I have high standards for myself. I mean, I do to a large extent but I think sometimes those high standards apply to what others see and not to what is in my heart and mind.
I remember when I was eight years old, I was in Winnipeg Manitoba and I started thinking about what I wanted for my life. Most little girls sit and dream of their first boyfriend, prom, wedding. I remember sitting on the swing in my neighbor’s yard (they weren’t home but back in those days you were allowed and even encouraged to play in each other’s yards.) I wasn’t swinging, I was just sitting there thinking about what I wanted from life. My memory of that day is as clear as it was in the moment, I can smell the smell of the bushes next to the swing, and hear the sounds. It is one of my most vivid memories.
As I sat there I started thinking about what I wanted out of life. Everything from my desire to be a mom, to how many kids I wanted, to what kind of work I wanted to do, to planning in my mind my 50th wedding anniversary. I didn’t plan my wedding, I don’t ever even remember thinking about a wedding, but I planned my 50th anniversary. During that time, I also thought about what kind of wife I wanted to be and what kind of choices I would make over the years to ensure that I would remain honorable to the man I would celebrate my 50th anniversary with. I remember sitting there and it came to me. I would not do anything that could not be undone. At eight years old I decided against, pre-marital sex, drugs, criminal activity, among many others, my reasoning being, I wanted to lay on my deathbed and be able to say without hesitation that I had not participated in any of these dishonoring activities. Little eight year old me had a stronger handle on what was right than 40 year old me. There are many of the items that I will still be able to list as I lay on my deathbed. But sadly, there are many to which I justified compromise.
As I continue forward in this journey of falling fully back into the arms of the Lord I am encouraged that the Lord has not left me, He has not washed His hands of me, or thrown me to the wolves. I am redeemed, and though I will never be whole until heaven I am becoming more complete every day.
My battle isn’t over, in fact we are told that the closer we draw to the Lord the harder Satan fights to try to draw us away. But I can continue with the armor of the Lord as my protection and my Lord and Savior as my strength.