this is another thought provoked by the book In the Arms of Immortals by Ginger Garrett.
On page 76 there is a conversation between two characters. The woman is privileged and daughter to the lord of the land. She is betrothed to the man with whom she is speaking in this scene. The book opened with her desperately trying to find a way out of this marriage. The reader isn't given a reason why, but the stereotype of a girl being thrust by her father into a life that legally binds her to some brute who benefits her daddy comes to mind.
Ms Garrett spends the rest of the novel visiting this character, painting a beautifully poignant character gripped by pride. We discover the reason she doesn't want to marry this tender and loyal man because she cannot come to terms with the fact that he is a man and she is a woman. She doesn't want to be rescued. She doesn't was a hero. She wants to run it all, have the power, the wealth, the fear of her underlings...
In this scene, however, the betrothal has not yet been finalized. A visitor has come to town. He is dark and mysterious and has won an invitation by her father to the banquet. He intrigues her, tempts her to something impure. She follows him out to the garden, and the man to whom she will be betrothed tries to stop her.
He tells her that she is mindlessly following a man she doesn't know who serves an unknown master. She accuses him of being jealous. His response:
"Do you know why you won't admit you love me? he asked. "Because I know you, Panthea. I knew you when you were a girl and I was just entering your father's service, barely more than a child myself. I knew you then. I know you still. I know you as no other man ever could, and you gate me for it....You hate me because you hate who you are. You want a man to make you forget yourself....You always want more, Panthea, more than any man can give, but you are not greedy--you are frightened, frightened that, alone, you are not enough.....You are enough, Panthea. You are enough for this man."
I see this as a message from God to each of us. To be so sure that we aren't enough, and to refuse that it is OK to not be enough is to be stuck in damnation. God knows we aren't enough--and we do, as well. God is OK with that. He is there to make up our loss and to love us as we are. The real point of turning comes when we decide to relinquish our half-selves to him. When we can allow our flawed selves to be loved, we find salvation.
As I said, Panthea's story is tragic. She can never see herself as enough and cannot bring herself to rely on anyone to love her or redeem her. She sins, as do we all. But she chooses the mire of sin rather than let go of her treasured pride.
This particular part of the story had me put my book down and pull my kids close. I told them to never think they are beyond salvation. I told them that they will be tempted and they will do sinful things that shame them horribly. I wanted them to know that no matter what, they are never outside his grace. Their bad could never be bigger than His good. Amen and Praise Him!!