Tap. Tap. Tap-tap-tap-tap. Tap. Tap. Tap-tap-tap-tap. Tap. Tap.
“I need him to say something, anything. His silence is maddening. Lord, please make him stop tapping that stupid pencil,” I beg quietly while sitting in the leather chair in Pastor Don’s office. I look down at the shredded Kleenex in my hand.
Tap. Tap. Tap-tap-tap-tap. Finally he tosses the pencil on his desk.
Putting both hands on his mahogany desk, he slowly pushes himself to a shaky standing position. I most certainly can read his mind as he silently prays for wisdom from above. The smile on his face when he first greeted me is gone and I notice the lines in his forehead are much deeper than when I first entered his office.
“It’s a good thing I was sitting down when you dropped this bomb on me, Ellie, otherwise I probably would have, well, let’s face it, with my girth falling flat on my face on the floor wouldn’t have been a pretty sight.”
“I’m sorry to drop this on you without any warning,” I sob. “I’m sorry for all the tears; I can’t seem to stop crying…I didn’t know a person’s body could contain so much water. Is this what they mean by godly sorrow?”
I feel terrible for the devastating news I brought to him a few minutes earlier. Don and Cheri have been my friends for several years so there is no gentle way to break the news that they really don’t know me all that well after all.
“I would give anything if I could go back and undo what I’ve done,” I say as I blow my nose into the shredded Kleenex. Sobbing hiccups fill the air. “This is going to destroy my husband when he finds out the truth. If only I had cared enough about his feelings ten years ago then I wouldn’t be here today. The affair was the stupidest, most selfish thing I’ve ever done in my life. How could I have done something so despicable?”
Pastor Don continues his half-standing, half-leaning stance while I continue my hysterical wailing.
“For a year now I’ve tried to make things right with God. But I’m frightened because after a year of leaving me alone, the guy is pursuing me again. What if I give into the temptation? I don’t know what to do. I want to get right with God. I’ve prayed a hundred times and I’ve asked for forgiveness a hundred times but I still feel soiled. Why would God want a tramp like me anyway? I’m a piece of junk that needs to be thrown out.”
Pastor Don’s large hand comes down on his desk with a loud smacking sound. I jump in my seat startled by the bang and his actions.
“Now wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute, Ellie! You’re right; you’ve gotten yourself into a pickle for sure. You’re right; this is going to devastate your husband. You’re right; you probably should have thought about this day ten years ago. But there is one thing you’re wrong about…God doesn’t make junk. Okay, make that two things you’re wrong about…you are not a tramp either.”
Waving his arms around while he paces, his preacher mode takes over. “I don’t know what makes me madder…the fact that you are calling yourself a piece of junk or the fact you’re calling God a liar.”
“But, Pastor Don, what I did was horrible. I broke my covenant with my husband and went back on my promise. How can God forgive that?”
“Because God never goes back on His covenant or His promises. You’re like the Prodigal Son. Every day God watched and waited for you to come home, and the moment you turned toward home He ran to you throwing His loving arms around you. You’re not junk, you’re forgiven. You are righteous and holy in Him. Let’s face it, the truth is going to be painful and difficult for your husband and family to process but you are home and the Father is thrilled to have you back in the fold once more.”
This is the first time I’ve ever written about that day I went into my pastor’s office almost twenty years ago. I felt lead to write about it now because I sense there is someone who has walked away from God and feels they can’t go back “home” again. There’s no time like the present to make up your mind to head home to the Father’s love.
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