She was at her lowest point. Alcoholic. Bulimia. Questionable relationships. Her family and friends had called off the search team, and they gave her an ultimatum through fearful and sad tears. Her last direction from them was to see a priest. As she walked into the sanctuary, the carpet, the candles, and the smell of incense captured her senses, but the picture of Mary with Jesus healed her soul. It was in that moment she felt loved and accepted just the way she showed up–tube top, stilettos, smudged makeup, and a physical hunger from not eating in days.
“Mary is not what people think she is. She is what I needed. She is the hiding place I’ve been looking for. My parents sent me to the right place.” (Glennon Melton, Love Warrior, pg. 55)
I know what you might be thinking. What about Jesus? Jesus is there. I marvel at the perfection of His love, and how he captures the attention of those who are desperate. God has used a talking donkey, the Red Sea, belly of a whale, Angels, and prophets to advance His Kingdom of love and mercy. As I’m reading this portion of my Love Warrior book, I’ve become desperate for Glennon. I’m equally relieved that she has found a sense of belonging and acceptance.
We all understand this “love warrior battle” at some level, even if we question theology and religious practices.
Jesus is bigger, creative, and stronger!
In my earlier years, I would put so much effort in being something that would “get something”. If I act, dress, or do this, will I get that? I had convinced myself that “that” was the answer. Much like Glennon, the sweetness of Jesus in the arms of Mary touched my life and began to help the unbecoming of my faulty ideas.
I lingered in this portion of the book. The shame Glennon felt when the religious leader came to counsel with her gave more evidence of the true love of Christ. He desired her to do things in order to “get something”. She was tired of constantly being sorry for who she was. Jesus saw the good in her. One will never know, but maybe the religious leader needed reassurance of his goodness and acceptance?
God is good to keep talking to us through our work. A few days later, a friend of mine shared that she had lost her father-in-law. I was deeply grieved for them and their loss. As we began to talk about the service, she requested “Ava Maria” to be sung at the funeral. That is not an easy song on a good day to sing. My bronchitis and lack of singing this song for years made me think–“I can’t do this.” God was insistent that I would. Each time I rehearsed the song I thought of Glennon, and all of us, who desire to be forgiven and loved. This way of love came through baby Jesus–our Savior.
As her father-in-law was brought into the chapel, “Ava Maria” was sung. His life honored and His soul wrapped in loving arms. He is complete. His total unbecoming glorified. I sang from a heart of imperfection and joy of knowing the Perfect one. It was not perfect, but my heart and soul was connected to the Spirit of love.
Glennon describes her life journey as the yellow canary in the coal mine–sometimes life is too toxic and you stop singing. I want to sing of His love. The opportunity to sing brought such joy to this canary who found her way into a coal mine of toxic stress. Singing again has brought peace to my soul.
LATER IN THE EVE:
Later tonight I received a text from my daughter who just had a baby. She told me that she really enjoyed the post, and that the picture of Mary touched her. “How?”, I asked. Her awe inspiring simplicity of heart profoundly shared:
“Like Mary would have done anything for Jesus. And Jesus has done everything for us! Jesus loves us where we are.”
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted…Isaiah 66:13
Oh, listen to a maiden’s prayer
For thou canst hear amid the wild
‘Tis thou, ’tis thou canst save amid, despair.
We slumber safely ’til the morrow
Though we’ve by man outcast reviled
Oh, maiden, see a maiden’s sorrow
Oh, Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
The murky cavern’s air so heavy
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled
Oh, maiden, hear a maiden pleadin’
Oh, Mother, hear a suppliant child