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Monday, September 28, 2009
My Pearl Necklace
“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is better for you that you lose one of your members, than for your whole body to be cast into Hell.” Matthew 5:29.
When I was a little girl these passages used to scare the begeebies out of me. I couldn’t imagine what my eye could possibly do to get me into so much trouble that God Himself would recommend me plopping it out and throwing it away. The mental image alone always created a bit of dread any time I heard these sermons.
In a somewhat relatable message, but delivered in a much gentler tone was an email forward I received the other day called The Pearl Necklace. It went something along the lines of “One day this little girl received a toy pearl necklace as a birthday present. She loved them and wore them everywhere. As the years went by the necklace became dull and the gloss from the fake pearls began to flake off. One night when her father came in to kiss her goodnight he told her, “Why don’t you give me your dingy pearls?” But she wanted to hold onto them because she loved them and she believed they made her happy.
Every night when her father came in he would gently ask her for her pearls and promised to give her something very special in return. He told her to trust him, but she believed there could be nothing better than her pearls. She had lived with them for so long; had so many memories with them, they were a part of her. Nothing her father gave her would be the same as her beloved pearls. Each night he went away saying, “Ok, but when you are ready to give up your pearls I will be here.” Finally, one night when he asked, she reluctantly gave him her broken, tarnished, favorite pearls. Relieved, he pulled out a crushed blue velvet case and gave it to her saying, “I’ve been waiting to give these to you when you were ready.” Upon opening it, she discovered a beautiful, brand-new, genuine pearl necklace of her very own.
Because of the abortion I had twenty-two years ago, my tarnished, broken, hard to give up, pearl necklace has been alcohol. I had turned to alcohol along with other addictions, to comfort me after what I had done. After allowing this for some time, God sort of nudged me and said, “Hey! Give me that alcohol and I’ll give you something that will not only comfort you but give you joy.” But I stubbornly hung onto it, believing I not He, was the expert on what comforted me. I didn’t think I could handle reality without ever taking a drink again. I drank socially and not what society would deem abusively, just every once in a while with friends but I clung to the knowledge that it was there for me whenever times became stressed or I needed a break; alcohol provided that haze where I didn’t have to think too hard about things.
God came to me often, always offering something better in replacement of my imaginary protection but I always turned him down, believing this distorted comfort was all I needed. At the same time, there were subtle hints throughout the years that gradually deepened and became clearer that my drinking was my proverbial eye and if I didn’t pull it out of my life and throw it away, I would find myself in hell, beer bottle in tow.
But God is a merciful God and He’s been patient. He continued to tuck me in at night and ask for my bottle which obviously had kept me away from Him and my purpose in this life each time I took a sip.
Recently I gave Him my dingy, discolored, bottle of pearls for the last time. I’ve made a play at giving it to Him in the past but always keeping one hand touching and eventually taking it right back, not serious in my offering.
In return, He promises me that authentic joy in this life that I’ve been desperately searching for in being able to fulfill my purpose through writing as well as eternal joy in the next life. Seems like an unfair trade, but ok…
Everyone knows once you pull your eye out and throw it away, it’s tough to put it back in and have it work properly. For years the alcohol looked like good times; I deceived myself into believing that by drinking I was achieving the happiness, comfort and confidence that my abortion had taken away from me. God promises to give us more than we can ever imagine obtaining by ourselves here on earth, but we are here for our own unique reasons which God created for us. We need to fulfill that purpose but we need to do it authentically, not half-heartedly. God will give us what we desire if we just trust Him and believe the Truth. That in every case, with each one of us, He can always tell the authentic from the fake perfectly and much more clearly than we ever could ouselves.
Columnists • Shelley Allsup • Pro-Life Unity • Permalink