It was just before the holidays and I had about a hundred things on my "to do" list. On this particular morning I had to go to school to see the boys in a program at their school and get home on time for a furniture delivery where I had no less than three different workers in the house, rewiring, revamping and RE-ally driving me nuts. I had painted the entire inside of all our bedrooms a few weeks before because the dates we set aside to do it (Thanksgiving break) my hubby threw his back out. But we had a deadline before the carpet and flooring men came in, and now that that had been completed, furniture was on it's way.
I had this short shot of time between the program and the delivery and I really just wanted to pick up some new sheets for the new bed that was coming. Driving down the Avenue I saw the Linens & Things store and pulled quickly into the parking lot. I had in mind what I was looking for, thought it should only take a moment. I was trying to stick an errand between my rock and my hard place. I was in the store a good 20 minutes debating between two different shades of blue. I stood there when suddenly the strangest sensation came over me. Suddenly I just knew...something wasn't right...
Then it came to me, where was Victoria?? It was as though my mind started clicking "What day was it?" "Did she have preschool?" "Had my mom taken her?" like a jammed gearshift on a bicycle, I couldn't get it to move into place... Where... was... Victoria...??
As soon as it hit me I ran. The panic in my heart was overwhelming. I ran from the back of the store with all the sheets in hand and headed toward the exit. A slight moment of clarity made me realize if I ran out the door with the linens, I would have a whole new problem, so I ditched them on the floor by the door and continued outside into the parking lot.
As I crossed the parking lot I began to pray to, to beg, God that the door to my van would not be open, and that when I did open it, I would still find my daughter inside. I got about 20 feet from the van when I clicked the button for the auto side door. As it slid open and I saw my 4 year old sitting there crying her eyes out I had an overwhelming combination or guilt and relief. I could not believe what I had done, but I had done it.
Every summer here in California you hear a story about some parent who mistakenly leaves their child in a locked car on a hot day and with either the tragic or miraculous ending, I remember the days of reading those stories and wondering what kind of parent could ever possibly let something like that happen. But since that say about 3 1/2 years ago, I have never had to ask myself that question again. Mind you my incident happened on a cold day in December but the lowest moment of my parenting had all the other same ingredients as those well-documented tragedies.
I am a good mom, a careful and protective mom, but the right circumstances, opportunities, distractions and challenges, and I did something completely out of character. It could have had a terrible outcome. My daughter told me people saw her in the car crying and just walked away. It could have been different. Someone could have called the police and I could have been arrested for child neglect or endangerment. Someone could have taken my daughter, or done her harm. It scares me to think about those what if's, but what scares me more is how easily it really happened. Had you asked me prior to that day, I would have told you, there was no way I would ever forget one of my children somewhere. I would have never believed myself capable of it.
This chapter on moral purity strikes me the same way. Of all the chapters I imagine this one is the one most likely to be bypassed or dismissed and yet, why? The fact of the matter is, any one of us under the right "circumstances, opportunities, distractions and challenges" can find themselves primed to fall. And if you think you are immune, then I say you may be even more ripe than the norm. Let no one be fooled, if you think you are above a temptation, I say it is then you are at your greatest risk.
So here are Amber's questions for this week:
Why do you think it's valuable to include a lesson on moral purity in a study on personal revival?
It's interesting because we are currently doing the Truth Project at our church, and the definition of "moral" has been somewhat redefined, because according to the study "moral" isn't an absolute from the world's perspective, but rather changes by popular opinion. For example whereas 50 years ago living together before marriage was probably considered immoral, by today's standards, it isn't the case at all. But what is being spoken of in this study isn't that kind of changing morality, but rather is an absolute morality based on the word of God.
I think the purity being spoken of goes beyond just (gasp) sex. Even if (in the words of Laverne DeFazio) I don't vo-dee-o-doe-doe (sp?) with anyone but my licensed partner, that alone does not guarantee that I'm being morally pure. I'm going to keep this rated "G" for the kiddies but let's just say it goes deeper than the "who?" of sexuality. Having said that (or not said that) I believe it is because sexual sin goes so deep that it is critical to be pure for revival. Sexual impurity on many levels is a lot like hoppin in the sty with the pigs. You can't get clean to save your life. It gets everywhere and just climbing out won't fix it, and you're likely to be knocked back in if you try. It requires an escape from the pen, removal from the elements and thorough washing clean. A little immoral? A little dirty? A whole lot less likely to be revive-able....
Which of the 12 safeguards to moral purity do you find particularly helpful or challenging?
Well, this answer may seem like a cop out, but the safeguard to moral purity I think I believe to be the most helpful... and perhaps the most challenging too... is without a doubt #8, Renew your mind with the Word of God. I am beginning to think perhaps this is the cure-all to what ails you. Tonight at the Truth Project the "tour" we went on was about Knowing God. It talked about so much wonderful truth that I could write a whole other post on it, but suffice it to say, the word was given to us with the purpose of revealing Christ. The Pharisees knew the word, but they did not allow the revelation of Christ to come through it. It is the process of allowing Christ to come in and renew our minds that we come into deeper relationship with Him, deeper sensitivity to His Spirit, greater comprehension of all that is sin, greater conviction when we commit it, that leads us on a wonderful path of refinement and transformation.
As I describe it I really wonder to myself why I struggle so much with the best of consistency and commitment, it doesn't make sense, but it is a fact. It requires a discipline and purposefulness that I so often fall short of, but what great things might God accomplish on my life and through me should I better commit myself to knowing Him, through the revelation of His word. What a beautiful full circle of truth it is.
I do believe I am living a sexually pure life, but I am not so foolish as to believe that it's tied neatly in a box and put away forever. I have been watching a lot of marriages crumble in my life, and this issue has played a role in different ways to different degrees among them. Through it the Lord has given me this term, "guard the gatepost." What I think He is saying is although I may have my fence built (as I hope you do as well) there is always a weak point where entry can be made, so there is wisdom in keeping watch over it, not necessarily expecting a break in will be attempted, but never living foolishly enough to think it could never happen.
OK, it's late and I feel like I have rambled on way too long, but I hope this somehow makes my point. Blessings!