The neon sign’s intermittent flickers through the motel’s tattered curtains, proved its run down existence. As she lay there, the only means of escaping her surroundings was to allow her mind to wander. Instead of creating a new present, tonight she found herself taken to the past.
“I want to be your first… your second… and your last… I will love you forever…”
As the words trailed off in her mind, she could hardly believe eight years had past since that moment. She’d been sixteen, and head-over heels in love. A chill came over her as she recalled that girl… so young… so innocent… so pure. “I will love you forever,” is what he had said. She conceded to his request with those magic words, as she laid there in the darkness of the unfamiliar bed, feeling a part of her being ripped away.
“How much I owe ‘ya again?”
Reality slapped her, as she was thrust into the present.
He couldn’t have been over forty, but she’d quit trying to guess her clients’ age and lifestyle a long time ago. It brought feelings into a place where they weren’t desired or tolerated.
She hastily replied, “Hundred-fifty.”
He willing paid and left. She locked the door behind him, returning to the bedside. She opened the nightstand’s drawer to deposit the money into the lock box kept within. She felt a strange impression as she saw the familiar site of the Bible that lay there. She’d passed it so many times before, yet tonight, it seemed to “call” to her.
She held the foreign manuscript in her hands, remembering a time she believed in God…
She was fifteen when she dedicated her life to Him. Shortly after returning from church camp, the school’s most popular boy asked her out and pursued her with great determination. She’d stayed strong in her belief for a year, but eventually gave in that one night. After giving into his desires, the relationship was over within the week. She quit talking to God after that.
She’d disappointed Him so long ago, and while she sat on the bedside remembering the freeing feeling she experienced at camp that summer, she knew she could never be good enough now. Unsure of what she’d find, and why she was even bothering, she opened the book in her hands.
Her eyes fell to the words on the page. “I have loved you with an everlasting love… I will build you up again…"
As she skimmed the lengthy verse, it was as if she had penned the sentence, "…I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth…"
Stunned, she continued, "How long will you wander, O unfaithful daughter?"
She quickly shut the book, as if to stop the prodding in her heart.
“I still love you…”
“But I’m so dirty…”
“I will wash you clean…”
“Why do you want me?”
“You are Mine...”
“But how can You still love me?
“I have never stopped loving you…”
As the words softened her calloused heart, she knew He’d been there all along. He was there when she gave herself away that first time, as well as every time after that. Shame overwhelmed her, as cleansing tears fell, breaking the wall built between her and her Lord.
“I have always loved you…”
His presence was overwhelming as He picked her frail and broken body out of the mire and held her in His powerful hands.
“I will love you forever…”
As He spoke those familiar hurting words from the past, her heart no longer grieved as before. These words were from the One who remained constant in a world of constant change. He would not be gone in a week.
Relinquishing the years of self-hatred, she collapsed, crying, “I’ve strayed so far Lord, and I’ve been so lost. Forgive me for disregarding You all these wasted years. I’m so undeserving Lord. Forgive my disgraceful sins. I know You’ve been here through it all… watching and waiting… I need You in my life. I give you this cold, broken heart, as well as this empty life. Thank You for not giving up on me."
After years of searching, she had found her love at last.
(Excerpts in bold from Jeremiah 33:3,4,19,22 NIV)
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