the temple prostitute

Fact: some stories can not be told. Sometimes they don’t belong entirely to you.

While powerful pieces may be yours,  there’s no good to be gained from the telling. These stories are best entrusted to the hands and heart of God who lovingly absorbs them into the greater mesh of His own.

Still, others need to be told… gently.

God alone knows which is which and guides us to know the difference. He also guides the how and when…and to whom these stories ought to be told.

Reading Scripture I think about the crazy collection of stories God chose to present to us. Out of all the stories in the world since time began, He chose these for us to learn from, share from and declare for His glory. The beauty is they’re not all “pretty-pretty-happily-ever-after” stories. In fact, some are downright ugly. Painful, good medicine.

My story has places in it like that too. Some things need not be told because God holds them now. I trust Him.  Others, must be offered because they contain the threads of hope woven into the common fabric so many of us share.

 

It’s the rare beauty of story redeemed.

the temple prostitute

Hanging over my desk, I have a framed artwork based on the beautiful promise and pronouncement found in Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon you…” 
Oh how I love to sit beneath that promise now. Because there was a time when I didn’t understand what any of it meant.

I was not raised in the church so much of my time since meeting Jesus was spent learning church culture, figuring out how to behave and what to do…or not do. It hasn’t been pretty. There’s been a lot I did not understand or know.  However, not knowing didn’t stop me from behaving as if I did.   For a long time.

I’ve said before; what I lack in talent (in this case wisdom), I’ll make up for with enthusiasm.

I broke sweat, flexed muscle and worked hard at my salvation, spending a great deal of time serving my heart out in the Jesus club. I was His “yes girl”.  Slowly working my way through the ranks of service in the church, ticking things off one by one: women’s ministry, choir, praise team, VBS, sunday school, bible study teacher, mission team member and leader…the list goes on.

In fact, you’d have to look hard to discover where I was not involved on some level. Lorretta, the consummate “suffering servant”; as sincere as I knew how to be and yet clueless and oh so ignorant.

And busy. Very, very busy.

I gladly became the automatic ‘go to” person for news and information, maintaining the email list and producing the newsletter almost single-handedly. Information had to come to and go through me…and I liked it that way. I felt needed and important. I was pleasing people and it pleased me to think that pleasing them was also pleasing God.

Most of the time, honestly, my heart was in the right place. I sincerely wanted to be and do good. I actually, factually loved Jesus, the church and God’s word. The problem was I was still using the old-girl methods and understanding while trying to live this new-girl life.

I just didn’t get it.

Mostly, I think, I just wanted to be loved. I needed it bad. I don’t think I understood how deep the need was. All I know is that it was nearly impossible to get enough so I kept piling on more. Nobody stopped me….it seemed like the “norm”.

It was encouraged.   It was invited.
and some people took more……  than others.

Heady stuff…my vainglorious Icarus self winging upward towards heaven with drippy, waxen wings…flying higher…higher until… I’d flown too high.  One step too far.  I’d become a disgusting glory thief and worse. God was about to send me to wilderness training. Spiraling downward, sliding face first through the dirt of my own making, I skid to a stop beneath the shadow of the cross.

There I came face to face with the truth that all my good works were not about serving God at all; it was about serving myself. It was about serving man.

  I had prostituted God’s great gifts.

Oh. My broken heart.
Recoiling from shame, my aching soul howled in repentance.
I met with Mercy.
I tasted sweet Grace.
A Light shone into my darkened understanding and I was simply overcome by His great Love once again.

Broken free and forgiven, I’d been unburdened for the journey home.

This was not so long ago.

This moment thrust me into this spacious and sacred place of ministry and writing and propelled me to go unashamedly deeper with God. Although it’s a space I’ve danced along the edges for some time, now there’s no mistaking who’s in control of my every and my all: God.

I’m a  story still being written but
I’m no longer the one writing it.

Guided by the Spirit, I’m still involved in things as before although some have been let go in favor of others.  I’m careful about what I say “yes” to and why. There’s NO guilt or obligation when I have to say no.

The difference now is motive.

Everlasting Joy

 

It’s a gift to see now how fear-driven and focused I was on things that clearly do not matter… at all.

It’s a gift also to see how easily we fall  into this devil-laid trap. With new perspective, I watch while the unholy scramble and jockeying for power and position continues and my heart is so burdened for those caught up in the never-ending do and do and do.

I’m praying for revival.

I write from here. This is my offering: to God and anyone who reads and recognizes pieces of their story in mine:

  • Those who are broken and way off track who have no idea how to find the way home. I’m willing to share more and be a guide.
  • The one who needs prayer to keep holding fast to what is true. I’m willing to pray.
  • The discouraged because living faithfully can be lonely sometimes. I’m here.

So maybe this is you? Let’s walk it together. Find me on Facebook or email  mslorretty(at)gmail(dot com).

I’d love to be a part of your story.

REALLY Dancing!Lorretta signature

24 thoughts on “the temple prostitute

  1. This is the very thing that I thought was dead and the Spirit, in His kindness is saying it is time to be done with that.
    The audience of one and one alone.
    Thank you for these words. It took me awhile to get over here and read this but the timing was just right!!

    1. Thank you Lani…I’m glad this spoke to you as much as it spoke to me. This was what God wanted me to write BEFORE I went off to Allume. Now I know why. Things are moving in the spiritual realm and we are a part of it here and now. Bless you!

  2. Dear Loretta, It’s so beautiful to hear your voice – sharing from your soul – with us in the Faith Jam. “I’m a story still being written but I’m no longer the one writing it.” This really touched me. I loved also imagining you sitting underneath the verse — and sensing God’s Spirit touching you as you wrote this post. Thank you for being a part of my journey. And I’m so glad we can share in it with words from our souls.

  3. Loretta!
    Thank you for writing this. We need more voices telling this story and more souls walking it as well. It is as though you told my journey — incomplete, imperfect, a work in process. For so long I sought love in the wrong places and though I was loved I was yet unable to receive the love I craved. I was busy, busy, busy. I have a dear sojourner/mentor who helped me uncork the past and the present doubts and fears and bit by bit we have trudged that road together. I went through the dark night and have emerged from it with a calm in my heart. But that makes it sound like a fete accompli, which I assure you (you already know) it is not. I am still allowing chunks and bits to come up and He is urging me towards more freedom which always means more pain as I go. But, as you say, no one regrets this road from the rear view mirror. I am sometimes very lonely, but never as lonely as I was when I was scrambling for acknowledgement and significance. I thank you so much for this post and your sweet heart. What a blessing to be a part of Faith Jam and get to find people like you through that!

    1. ABSOLUTELY! This is what it’s all about. I too have a marvelous mentor who battled it out with me and I tell you what–I’ll never be too old to have someone in my life to hold my feet to the fire and my heart in their hand. She has truly “midwifed” me into this place and I am forever grateful. Bless you for stopping by…I’d love to stay connected!

  4. You’re right. God uses it … the frenzy … the fall …. the quiet walk … the broken days of grief. They are all elements of the journey through life. I’m learning there is always something more, something better … and somehow I always end up being led along the way to a better place with God. I wouldn’t realize it, though, if I had not experienced each part.

    1. Bless you Kelley…I sorta,kinda have been lost since returning from Allume and realize where I’ve been and where God has taken me in just the space of one week. Thankful, yes. Bless you for your encouragements!

  5. You are so right my friend. We all fall. It’s part of walking around in this tent of flesh. So if we fall, may we always fall toward Him and find that grace that abounds much more than our sin. Thank you so much for your wonderful gift of writing.

    1. Sweet Stephanie…it’s baby steps isn’t it? And you know as God breaks these things from us and in us…what happens next is oh so beautiful. I am SO thankful for the breaking because on the other side of my wilderness training..I found you!

  6. Writing redemptions story…Certainly God has brought you to this place..May his blessings flow on his beloved “prostitute.”

    1. That is the beauty of viewing yourself in the perspective of “ING” we are always in process…working, learning, repenting, growing and progressing as we are traveling to our destination…encouraging one another as we walk together. {{hugs}} to you too!

  7. I can relate to so much of this. Over-involved people pleaser currently walking through the wilderness. But you know, I know it’s good to serve His body and it’s good to serve the community (important, God ordained even) but there is something about being stripped bare and having nothing and realizing just how much I am loved and valued by God even when I do nothing… I am SO in love with my Savior, deeply and intimately and I do believe should it ever be time to leave this wilderness I will serve much with a much different heart. Thinking of Gomer now and that verse “I will lead her out to the wilderness and speak softly to her there…” it’s in Hosea (and that’s all I can tell you at this point lol)
    Love this and you my sister from another mister.

    1. I feel your heart and your pain and I hope you aren’t trying to walk through the wilderness alone. There’s beauty on the other side of “wilderness training”. Very few of us would volunteer to go there willingly but I have never met someone who regretted it. Love you my Conquering friend!

  8. Such beautiful words <3.
    "Some things need not be told because God holds them now." That is something that I think so many bloggers struggle with. When we TRUST Him, as you say, we believe that He will show us when and what part of His story to tell! Awesome!

Welcome to the discussion!