Read Part I…Purple Slippers
The year is 1642. A young woman is led from the town prison of a small Puritan village. In her arms, she carries an infant and on her heart she wears a scarlet letter “A.” Her head hangs low in disgrace.
I clearly remember reading this tale in high school. Hawthorne’s words danced in my soul, causing great conflict between deep feelings of compassion and the great need for justice. Part of me wanted the people to forgive Hester and part of me knew that rules must be followed.
I wasn’t alive in 1642 and I had never seen anyone wearing a scarlet letter, but I was highly motivated by its implications. I walked the halls of high school looking for ways to do that which was right. I listened to youth leaders, I drew lines, and I carefully orchestrated my relationships.
But somewhere between senior prom and the freshly painted walls of a dorm room, the lines began to fade. All I really wanted was to be loved. And yes, I was looking in all the wrong places. From the Frat house to the biology lab, everyone was a potential date and I enjoyed the attention.
Like most college students, I did things that I’m not sure I would repeat to anyone. Things that often leave me in awe of how God protected me despite my obvious lack of interest in Him. You see, I had grown up in the church, attended weekly for years, but God just wasn’t working for me. So, I cut Him out. Sort of. While I was living a bit of a “wild” life, there were still deep roots in me planted by pastors, Sunday School teachers and grandmothers who likely thought their words were left unheard. These roots kept me from going completely off the deep end, but they didn’t protect me from the consequences of my ridiculous actions.
By my senior year, I had met a guy who cared enough to talk about marriage. I jumped at the idea, having no clue that satisfying my desire for love would be dead wrong.
We had an adorable little church wedding, packed up our inherited station wagon and headed 24 hours north where he would attend seminary. It was winter in so many ways. The trees were barren and our home was empty. Finding a teaching job was harder than I had planned and college was more demanding than my young wife’s heart desired.
Before our first anniversary, he had entangled himself in the snare of an affair. Although my entire body could scarcely move, I never ONCE thought about a divorce. I would forgive and we would work through this. Another winter fell heavy on our home and before the buds of spring could surface, he was gone. With him, he took everything of value. Every ounce of security, every hope of being loved, and every prayer of living the American dream.
He left brokenness, despair, fear, and a huge hatred of God. To me, God had a bunch of rules and subsequent blessings. I had followed the rules. I married a christian whose parents were on the board of their church. He was even attending seminary. But following the rules didn’t spring forth a well of blessing. Instead I sat in a heap of despair, rejected and abandoned.
He was granted a divorce, and within 30 days I was forced to give his name back. In exchange I got a scarlet letter. Not the letter “A” like Hester, but the letter “D.” For in my mind, divorce was the unforgivable sin. Or at the very least, it would keep any good man from ever being able to truly love me. After all, I was used. This letter “D” was an obvious sign to all.
I wore the letter in complete disgrace, although I was too ashamed to ever admit my marital status to anyone. Wherever I went, I could feel the stares as people judged me. I was convinced that this mark on my life would never be erased. So I determined to defeat it. I lived the high life with little regard for the feelings of men or God. I would date and dump because it felt good to be in control.
All the while, a loving grandmother was praying me home. One day I responded to her pleas that I find a church. I got lost in a very big church with hundreds of singles. I was happy being a nobody is a sea of faces while I played games with people’s hearts on the side. I had no idea that this tiny step of obedience to God would be the catalyst for a huge turn of events.
About a year later, a man walked into that singles group and changed my life. He wasn’t just another face. He was a man who adored me, one who knew about my scarlet letter and cared enough to break past the Great Wall that I had built. He captivated my heart. And although I had vowed never to marry again, within an instant, all of that was a distant memory.
Read the rest of the story here..